08 February 2010

Daily Quote for Feb. 8, 2010

When walking, walk. When eating, eat."
Zen proverb

I consider myself a good driver. I've not had an accident since 2001, and that was the first one in years. I can't remember the last time I received a moving violation. Driving is, essentially, second nature to me.

Up until eighteen months ago, I had a habit of multi-tasking while driving. I would often be on my cell phone while simultaneously seat dancing to an old Grateful Dead song and smoking a cigarette. My thoughts were rarely on the driving itself.

All that changed when I purchased an old Mercedes-Benz with the intent of restoring it to its former glory.
I have the car to the point where it starts, runs and stops, but the Benz is quirky. It's a 1987 model, which means it has lots of worn parts that like to break at the most inopportune times. I have to let it warm up for a good five minutes or so before pulling out of the driveway, or otherwise it will stall the first time I hit the accelerator. I constantly monitor the oil pressure, engine temperature and the tachometer for any readings that would indicate a problem, and I strain my ears for any sounds that are out of the ordinary.

In short, I must be attentive -- not only to the road and the traffic around me, but also to my vehicle -- if I want to get where I am going. When I am driving this car, I am focused on nothing else but driving.

It is difficult to maintain that kind of focus in daily life, but it is one of my goals. I want to be mindful of my tasks and how I do them; I want to be focused on the task at hand. When I'm writing, I need to write. When I'm making the bed, I need to the thinking about making the bed.

I think that kind of focus is the key to productivity and a mindful life. Be here in the present. Embrace the moment and experience it fully, no matter what you may be doing at the time.

And when you're driving, drive.

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