8 Ways to Turn Traffic Into a Spiritual Experience
By Ime Morales
Last year a DoT official said something about traffic being merely a state of mind. I got reminded of this when I heard a story recently about an Uber driver who took a German customer through Edsa at its worst, probably during weekday rush hour. The German guy was reportedly too amazed at the phenomenon of traffic: “Wow, the cars are not moving! At all!” To him it was probably a departure from what he was used to back home. In other words, traffic could be a good thing if we see it with fresh (foreign?) eyes.
Here are 8 ways to convert the nightmare into a spiritual dream.
1. Bond with your travel companion.
It is the perfect time to go through the “36 Questions that Lead to Love, if you are with your significant other. If not, then you can simply spend the travel time bonding with your travel companion. What was the name of your first pet? Did you like Algebra?
2. See the beauty in every detail.
William Blake wrote: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour.” Imagine how many eternities you can hold in the palm of your hand simply by spending three hours on Edsa on a Friday night?
3. Pray. Meditate. Chant.
The religious devotees stuck in traffic would pray the rosary and recite the litanies but still wouldn’t be nowhere near their destination when they are all done with the prayers. Traffic provides us with an extended opportunity to say our prayers, to stay in a meditative state, or even to chant our mantras.
4. Practice sitting, inch closer to enlightenment.
For Zen Buddhists for whom proper sitting is part of the daily spiritual practice, sitting in a super crowded FX, bus, train, or jeepney offers a good chance to practice keeping the spine and neck straight, the head balanced and centered, the feet flat where they should be. Three hours in smoky, noisy, chaotic traffic beats the 2-hour zazenkai inside the zendo where it is quiet, cool, and the floor cushioned.