How Do You Drive?

After reading Zen Habits: 5 Powerful Reasons to Drive Slower, I was reminded of a time after my Sat morning zhan zhuang, taiji and tea session. Both myself and another follow taiji enthusiast left the parking lot at roughly the same time, but I came out slightly ahead. I was driving my normal 10-15 mph above speed limit and making good time until I hit a red light. As I looked in the rear view mirror, I saw him behind me smiling. When the light hit green, I sped up switched lanes and passed a couple of cars. He was way behind me. A couple of road lights later, he pulls up beside me and waves to me.

The worst part is I know he does not speed. He drives the speed limit and instead of stopping abruptly, he tries to coast to stop. Ever since this time, I’ve reevaluated my need to drive fast. Now, at most, I drive 5 mph above speed limit. In addition, I don’t worry about people passing me or cutting me off. I let other drivers in.  This drives my wife nuts! She calls me ‘old man driving’, but I tell her this is the way I drive. I am noticeably much calmer and relaxed amongst all the crazy road-raged drivers.

This got me thinking about taiji. How many times during the form is our mind already on the next move? I remember some of my first form corrections were to ‘finish the move’. I didn’t quite understand this initially, but basically I was mentally moving on to the next move before the completion of my current move. From his perspective, I did not complete the intention of my form.

From a chen perspective, form postures tend incorporate the following mental intention: qi at dantien, qi at back, qi at shoulder, qi at elbow, qi at hand, qi at waist, qi at dantien. Often times, I would get to the ‘qi at hand’ and move onto the next move.  This resulted in a slight break of the silken thread, if you know what I mean.

So, how do you drive? Do you feel your driving style has any relation to your taiji?

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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7 Responses to How Do You Drive?

  1. I don’t let anyone stay in my blind spot. 🙂

  2. Rick Matz says:

    “Speed” is quite often an illusion.

  3. Steven says:

    While driving, I train my peripheral vision so that I’m always knowing what’s happening in the rear view mirror and decreases the chances of being surprised by cars coming from the sides.

  4. chessman71 says:

    “form postures tend incorporate the following mental intention: qi at dantien, qi at back, qi at shoulder, qi at elbow, qi at hand, qi at waist, qi at dantien. Often times, I would get to the ‘qi at hand’ and move onto the next move. This resulted in a slight break of the silken thread, if you know what I mean.”

    IMO the problem with this is that intention shouldn’t be placed in your body. Intention is extended beyond the body to the opponent. Placing intent in your hand, etc. actually prevents it from going into the enemy. This isn’t yoga, after all.

    Furthermore, doing the move as described (and I know where you got this)will cause it to be segmented. Doing it this will actually break the silk reeling because it’s segmented.

  5. Faik says:

    I don’t think when I drive because that’s subconscious reaction.

    “Thinking” when you drive, or perform other movements will shape your dynamic patterns in such way, so that this “new pattern” of thinking will not be “erased” from your subconscious mind. IT will, soon or later, influence your other behavioural (martial art) practice too. For example, you don’t think about turning to the right with your car when you want to let others pass by, you just do that, don’t you? This is something that you have carved deep into your mind after of thousand hours of driving practice. Now, if you would suddenly change all that with let’s say consciously first looking at the wheel, then say to yourself “ok, now I want to clutch and break”, and then “now I want to turn right “ that would be to slow and you’ll probably have difficulties to do that. The old dynamic patterns are there and they “steer” your actions. That would be as if a beginner tries to drive for the first time. So why bother about that?

  6. wujimon says:

    @Chessman:
    I agree with you there are some problems with the qi at specific points of the body paradigm. This is something I noticed right away when doing my chen versus my yang. I never quite got the connected expansive feelings in chen that I got from yang. Now, instead of focusing on specific parts of the body, I just try to focus on my body as a whole and projecting outside the physical barriers of my body.

    @Faik:
    You bring up a great point about not thinking while driving as it’s subconscious. But what performing taiji movements? Are they at the point of subconscious action? I must admit, for myself, they are not. I still have a long way to go before I can consider the movements fully integrated in my mind and become second nature.

    Perhaps my issue lies in trying to simultaneously resolved 2 different methods, chen & yang. For a while now, I’ve only been practicing yang and I can already tell a difference. Perhaps soon the integration and ‘no mind’ aspects will take shape.

    Good points all 🙂

  7. Pingback: wujimon » Blog Archive » Trying to Maintain the Quietude

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