The Yogi and Driving
For many years now, I have been a yoga teacher and practitioner. During my training I had aimed to become completely relaxed and peaceful, as well as entirely accepting of the world and its people around me. This desire was very strong since I used to not just be an observer, but at times, even somewhat critical. Sometimes I turned into an impatient person and yes, even an angry citizen.
Well, I’ve definitely learned a lot with and around yoga, and I am now able to explain to my students how important it is to approach the world with an open, accepting and less judgmental mind – embracing all our surroundings as they are. I also aim to be a good yoga student in class myself, who understands the teacher’s words and lives and acts peacefully while sitting on her mat.
However, the moment I, the kind Yogi, hit the road, something changes immediately. People would agree that it’s just not exactly an easy task to drive in and around Atlanta. There are almost always too many cars on the street. And do I think the people here do know how to drive? Absolutely not! Some drivers seem to treat their cars like their comfortable living rooms. They eat, they drink, they talk on the phone, in fact, I’m sure, that many are closing business deals while driving. And they have no scruples texting while on the road.
Recently, I passed a red sports car who was slowing down traffic. Annoyed, I looked at what the matter was with the driver. He was looking down on his cell phone, pushing the keys while hitting 60 miles per hour on the highway. The ladies, on the other hand, don’t seem to bother to put on their make up before leaving the house, instead doing so while looking into the car mirror and not necessarily watching the traffic but the lines around their lips.
So is it really just me who can’t stay in her blissful state of mind while on the roads? I start shouting furiously at the drivers around me: move, pull over, buy a smaller car, you can't handle a big one … And at some point I finally stop using the verbs alone and go over to the nouns. And if the beautifully chosen nouns are not enough I’m creative enough to add some adjective to make it all clear. Of course nobody can hear me, nobody is talking to me, and because most of these words are in Swiss-German they would likely be less threatening to the average passerby anyway. Still, I ask myself (loudly, into the car air) why nobody in this city can really drive.
I don’t think that it’s the ability of driving in the first place, it’s more that most people absolutely don’t care what’s going on around them. They ignore the drivers behind, in front, next to them. They are not really trying to overlook situations to get a bigger picture. Their task seems to be either to press down the gas pedal or the brake pedal. Very often I think (well, tell all those people who can’t hear): you don’t want to try that while driving on a German Autobahn! You would be dead in an instant! It can even happen that somebody who realizes that he just missed his exit starts to change lanes abruptly and stops in the middle of the highway to get to his desired place. Once I even observed a pick-up truck stopping and pulling back on the rescue lane, almost causing a terrible accident. And if you honk or make your disgust visible they don’t have the slightest clue what is going on. They just stay in their small little world - better known as their living room.
I am really trying hard to become a more understandable person so I go to yoga workshops to improve, to learn, and to better myself. In fact, I met this famous yoga guru who taught us that we should see all of us as brothers and sisters. I nodded when he explained his theory, yes, of course, I understood…then. Yes, the idea seemed so simple. Unfortunately, again, only until I got back in my car, and then I began asking myself, or better yet, the strangers around me: what are you waiting for? Couldn’t you drive any slower? Do you all need to drive these super large cars? And then I remembered that despite of my complaints they were all my brothers and sisters… O.k., but also if they were, I just didn’t want to deal with this family of bad drivers!
I was so happy when our teacher also added to his sister and brother theory the next day: “But you don’t need to like them.”
He really made me smile! So I created my own theory for the road: Yes, you are all my sisters and brothers, but I think that you are pathetic drivers and you should all be sent back to driving school!