I went on a drive the other day, for the first time since quarantine. I was feeling closed in, so I felt a drive would help relieve some of that tension.
It was a great drive – but perhaps for some not-to-so great reasons.
I’ve always had a thorough enjoyment for driving, especially when I first started. It was very enjoyable; a time to focus on just one thing, and exercise the freedom I’m fortunate to have.
Overtime, though, this enjoyment faded. Driving devolved into a routine – a mindless, boring, procedure where I escape into random blank hazes.
On reflection, this likely happened because driving became easier. At the start of my driving career I was far more on edge while driving, constantly on guard and actively processing all information from my senses.
As I’ve developed a better understanding for driving behaviours and the like, driving has really become an identification of pre-existing patterns, and responses to these behaviours.
In short, as it stands right now, it’s fairly easy for me to drive without active thought, which is a gateway to escapism.
Why then, was my drive the other day so effective at clearing my mind, and helping me recalibrate?
Well, I suppose that’s where the not-so-great reason comes in.
I was driving pretty fast, to say the least, and was driving far more sporadically, if you will.
I’m fairly responsible, so I always ensure I proceed with safety and caution.
I assessed the situation and determined the country roads I was on were essentially empty and consequently I could push the limits a little bit – or a lot a bit.
Here, driving wasn’t a passive activity. It was one where I was devoting full focus, and all other thoughts on my mind escaped me. I was allocating all of my attention to a singular task.
It felt as though my mind, my body, and the vehicle were all in sync, and I was able to exercise a level of control and focus that only comes with being present.
Granted, in writing this post, I’ve come to the obvious realization that I didn’t need some fun driving to achieve this focus and presence of mind. It was fairly immature, and I could’ve replicated a similar experience through other means.
This post was a way for me to reflect on the experience, extract what I enjoyed about it, and draw parallels to other, more safe mediums for replicating it.
The enthralling, focus-inducing experience might be linked to the innate safety issues of the experience. Perhaps the danger associated with that style of driving is what encouraged me to focus fully.
I propose, though, that most of it came from finding a medium to synchronize your mind, body, and the external world.
Similar experiences such as yoga demand the same synchronization. To control your body in a manner aligned with your mind, in the context of your environment, induces a similar feeling.
Some other examples include working out, going for a walk, or making music.
While that experience was very fun, through this post I imagine there’ll be less of that.