Have you ever noticed when you are driving how much everyone around you seems to be rushing from one place to another? For a long time I didn’t because I was one of those doing the rushing.
Lately I’ve been trying to slow down in all areas of my life especially in my driving. About a year ago, I began to notice just how sped up people are on the highway when I was driving on one of the roads in Massachusetts, a state known for it’s crazy drivers. Instead of driving as I normally would, based in the left lane and weaving in and out of traffic, I went at the exact speed limit in the far right lane. It was amazing to see what happened in doing that. Drivers flashing their lights, honking, flipping their lights on and off, tailing just a few feet back from my bumper, or even speeding up and going around me and then slowing down in front of me. Sadly, I couldn’t point any fingers. I was just as guilty as I had done all of those things and more up until that point.
A study or two was done some time ago where two drivers left during rush hour to head to the same destination in a major city. One drove the speed limit and stayed in the same lane for the whole drive and the other drove recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic. Guess how many minutes the reckless driver got to the destination ahead of the other driver? Five. Five minutes…
When I was employed in the corporate world, that was me, trying to shave those five minutes. I was the one doing the reckless driving, cutting people off, flashing my lights, honking my horn, and all the while my heart was racing, my mind was racing, and I’d arrive at my destination unsettled with five extra minutes. Was it really worth it? If someone had asked me then, I probably would have said yes because I always wanted to have instant gratification in everything. I wanted and needed to be first in everything. And on some crazy level, I seemed to get satisfaction in annoying other people when I drove that way. It justified the unsettled feeling I had within me.
Truthfully, I was lucky and probably blessed for all those years of driving that way. I never had any real severe consequence come from driving that way. BUT, would those five minutes have been worth it if I had injured a pedestrian? Would those five minutes have been worth it if I was in a major accident and was paralyzed? Would those five minutes have been worth it if I killed another person from an accident I caused? Would those five minutes have been worth it if I had lost my license or even worse, been sent to jail? Sadly, I never have to face those things. And I’m sure most people never do ask themselves those questions. Like so many probably do, I stayed revved up all the time, especially on the highway, doing exactly what it is I feel like I needed to be doing until something slowed me down. Sure, along the way I got a few speeding tickets here and there and for a short period of time, that slap on the wrist slowed me down. But eventually I just sped back up again. Whether it was the adrenaline rush, the “control” I thought I had over other drivers, or just not really caring about myself or anyone else, I kept on being reckless.
So what changed to cause me to do something different when I drove? What caused me to want to slow down?
Pain of feeling unsettled all the time. Pain of feeling overwhelmed in life. Pain of feeling like I had to be first in everything. Pain of feeling empty inside. And physical pain in my body that was already forcing me to slow down in my day to day routines.
Through meditation, prayer, mantras, therapy, and various holistic healing modalities, I started to slow down in just about everything I did in my life. I believe that God truly does answer our prayers except that sometimes, there are actions I need to take to help the cleansing process that God can drive. After all, I do have free will. I can ask God to help me feel less pain, but if I continue to drive super fast, keep toxic people in my life, eat unhealthy, and more, well is the work that God is going to do on me going to be effective? Probably not.
So for almost a year now I’ve been in a major cleaning in my life and through that cleaning, I am now able to be on the roads and drive so much slower. While I’ve already explained what the benefit was of driving recklessly…five minutes…here are some of the advantages that have come from me slowing down when I drive. I know see a lot more beauty in nature. I get better gas mileage in my car and am not filling it up as much. I have avoided accidents in front of me with cars that were doing what I used to do. I have stopped at unannounced destinations out of curiosity that I never noticed before. And best of all, I arrive at my destinations in a positive space and with a normal heart rate.
It really is worth it to drive slower and follow the speed limits. Is rushing worth it? Are those five extra minutes worth all the risks and potential downfalls?
Not for me. Not anymore. I’m grateful to God for this awareness.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson