Auto Peace

I used to be one of the most efficient drivers on the road, which means I was a real a-hole.

God forbid if you ever stopped in the right turn lane and waited for the light to turn green before merging. And don’t even get me started on the “idiots” who would block the right turn lane by not staying close to the center divider.

People who drove too slow in the fast lane were “morons,” but “psychos” who drove faster than I did deserved a ticket.

Jett in car

Don’t forget who is in the backseat while you are roadraging

I couldn’t even drop off my sons at school without cursing at some “bonehead” who drove an excruciating 20 mph in a school zone clearly marked 25 mph.

Although I’ve gotten much better, I still find myself thinking negative thoughts every time I get behind the wheel. So I’m starting a new daily practice. Every time I drive, I repeat the phrase “May you be free from suffering” whenever someone annoys me with their lack of driving efficiency.

How can we extend love to our enemies if we can’t even forgive a Sunday driver? No one intends to be a bad driver; no one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “How can I delay Kozo’s journey today?”

Maybe the slow drivers are the Universe’s way of reminding us to enjoy the moment, not the destination.

Thank you inefficient drivers for making me realize that human connections are more important than punctuality, efficiency, or gas mileage.

Thank you for reading, smiling, and/or commenting.

When do you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about others? Do slow drivers ruin your peace? Please share.


38 comments on “Auto Peace

  1. Sunshine says:

    i find negative thoughts surface quite happy, i may add, when a slow moving tractor is making its way to who knows where. some pull off a bit to let you pass safely but some, grrrrrrrrr, i believe pull to the center and slow down more. yup. i think this type of driver enjoys looking at the side and rear view mirror at the long line of traffic forming behind. of course, that is when the fun begins because you know some country folks cannot handle much stress like traffic jams. ha-ha! not me, of course…it’s the other drivers… πŸ˜†

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Oh, those tractor drivers chap my hide. I feel like driving into their fields and slowing them down when they are trying to work. Ooops, I better go read my post again. I think I’m suppose to be thinking different thoughts. {{{hugs}}} for the reminder, Sunshine.

  2. Jennie Saia says:

    I have a 40-minute commute twice a day, and I’ve taken to playing podcasts in the morning, when I want to wake up, and meditation-style ramblings on the way home, when I’m keyed up and traffic is gridlocked. It’s amazing how much having a soothing voice to focus on calms me down – sometimes I hope it’ll take a few extra minutes to get home.

  3. kasturika says:

    I’m not a driver – I’m the pedestrian who hates slow moving people ahead. Often times I want to run up the stairs, only to be blocked by some slow climbers. I’m sure I’ve blocked people faster than me too… I’ve now got used to it, so I just try to leave home early πŸ™‚

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Haha, Katurika. Pedestrian rage. I never thought about that, but now that you mention it, I get the same way when I’m late for a movie and some people on the escalator won’t let me pass. Happens in airports as well. I’ll have to remember to wish them freedom from suffering next time I get caught behind them. Thanks for the insight. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  4. I think a lot of subconcious anger and/or frustration come out when people are driving.
    My other half does the same exact thing. I always warn him to watch who he’s cursing or raging at because someday some nutcase is going to have a gun and decide to get out of the car.
    This thought terrifies me. He completely agrees every time, though.
    & Like you said, don’t forget who you have in the backseat. There’s been times he’s cursed and my son was right there. Sure enough, my son repeated it.
    Then, I had to practice my own mantra “Please forgive him, for he knows not what he does.” πŸ˜›
    If my son says anything like that at school – I’m going to have a fun time trying to explain it to his teacher.

    Anyway, I have faith you’ll continue to practice a sense of calm while driving, Kozo. We can only hope everyone else does the same.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yeah, DDiW, driving does bring out the savage beast. I once slammed on my brakes because some guy was tailgating. All of a sudden I heard crying. I had forgotten that my son was napping in the back seat. 😦
      I don’t react anymore, but I still think negative thoughts. Day by day, I hope to fix this. Love your mantra of please forgive him. haha. {{hugs}}}Kozo

  5. NIKOtheOrb says:

    Kozo, the everyday guru who is always with reminders that there are more pertinent matters than being an a-hole while behind the wheel.

    Nice post. πŸ™‚

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Niko. I have to remember to be self-compassionate for all my past behaviors. My wife and I say, “Everyday I’m getting better and better” during grace. We are all works in progress. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  6. BroadBlogs says:

    And loving our enemies makes us feel better too, without all that hatred inside.

    Something I need to keep in mind too. Think I’ll pass this post along to my husband. He could really use this.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      So true, Georgia. The funny thing is that these drivers weren’t my enemies. They were just normal people who weren’t in a rush. In fact, I had a bit of an episode while trying to find parking at Foothill. I have to remember to slow down and love unconditionally. {{{Hugs}}} kozo

  7. 1EarthUnited says:

    God creates traffic jams to get a good laugh! Yes we all lose it from time to time, but it’s also an opportunity to laugh when we catch ourselves – in the moment. Kozo, u’r doing just fine, your level of awareness brings about real changes that mitigate vehicular karma. Either that or move outta So-Cal, lol. πŸ˜€
    {{{Hug}}} from your inefficient psycho autobahn driving friend. β™₯

  8. Kozo Hattori says:

    Haha, love that, Maddy–“vehicular karma.” I dream about the autobahn, but then I remember that there aren’t too many places in Germany that I need to get to in a hurry. πŸ™‚
    By the way, I did move out of So-Cal. Now, I’m 100% NorCal. Yay. Now, I’m trying to move my attitude to reflect the beauty around me.

  9. prayingforoneday says:

    I used to suffer HORRIFIC Road rage K..
    Now, these days, I just smile.. Anger is for the other car πŸ™‚
    I think the longer we drive, the easier it gets to just ignore the abuse..
    It is HORRIFIC here to be fair. Most drivers seem to be old people doing 10Mp/h and I ALWAYS get stuck behind them… πŸ™‚

    Good blog Sir

  10. Driving stinks totally–with all the horror stories of road rage, it pretty much keeps me in check. LOL

  11. I work retail. It’s ruining my outlook on people. So many aggressive and nasty people that fight with you over pennies. I mean i ring the thing up, and your fighting with me over the price? I have no control over that. And people have no decency. Refuse assistance and continue to trash the whole rack/table. And customers that ignore “we are now closed” announcements and continue walking the store and messing up everything which means we have to stay even later than we have to do with the extra work of fixing everything. Customers literally leave trash all over the place. We have garbage cans throughout the store. It’s appalling sometimes. Sigh.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I feel for you, Tasha. I am choosing to go into the service industry to serve. I just attended a workshop this weekend where they taught that the number one thing you have to do to be a counselor is to love your client. I don’t know if this can be applied to retail, but it definitely made a difference in how I see my profession. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  12. Rohan 7 Things says:

    This is brilliant Kozo, and so true! People change behind the wheel, I don’t know what it is! But I like your approach, these drivers can be used for patience practice.

    By the way I love the idea of someone consciously waking up in the morning and thinking “I’m going to make Kozo late” lol. Now THAT would take some mega patience πŸ˜‰



    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Somewhere deep in my heart, I knew that it was true about someone waking up to mess with my life. haha. Thanks, Rohan. I love the idea of patience practice. Sounds like the title of a new book. I bet you can have that book out by October. πŸ™‚ {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  13. Stuck Sucks says:

    Yesterday after picking up my son from daycare I saw a woman blow through a stop sign on the road. She completely did not see it as she talked on her phone. My first reaction was “idiot” and then I remembered this post. By the time I got to the next stop sign, I wished her peace and I actually felt much better. Thank you so much!

  14. BroadBlogs says:

    Hey Kozo, I posted a review of Rohen’s book. You might want to check it out.

    Sex ‘s Us

  15. Many Little Drops says:

    I use this same prayer, for exactly the same reasons! Makes ME so much nicer, haha

  16. Tracy says:

    Slow drivers ruin my peace only when I’m a passenger and my husband is road-raging as a result. Our son devised the answer though. Wearing the iPod headphones (even if the iPod isn’t actually on) seems to stop the ranting, cursing and erratic behaviour. It’s almost as if the thought that no-one else in the car is listening to or interested in the lunatic ravings stops them taking place. I wondered if it was all for show, part of some strange display of maleness I’ll never fully understand; removing the audience removes the need to strut and posture? Although less than ideal this simple solution has stopped the rows that regularly ensued about stressful journeys and dangerous driving which had reached the point where travelling separately or only with my son became my preferred option.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love this idea, Tracy. Wearing iPod headphones. It is so simple. Yes, I believe that rage is often for show connected to “some strange display of maleness.” It seems to me that sometimes men need to show this “strength” to themselves as well. I would argue that not only road rage, but also geopolitics are often enacted from the need to “strut and posture.” North Korea are you listening?
      I especially like the non-violent, unobtrusive solution your son developed for this problem. He is a true peacemaker. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  17. There is only one – not two… πŸ˜‰ good post, Kozo! β™₯ tomas ☼

  18. theINFP says:

    I like that you wish the challenging drivers well πŸ™‚

  19. Indira says:

    Hi Kozo, its a beautiful write up. What a beautiful thing to say ‘Maybe the slow drivers are the Universe’s way of reminding us to enjoy the moment, not the destination.’ When on road I find everyone is in such a hurry to reach their destination.

  20. Geo Sans says:

    I used to drive
    my wife nuts
    with my driving
    I’d leave
    almost half an hour
    too early
    I’d take different routes
    almost every time
    sometimes stopping
    checking things out
    we’d get there on time
    I’d be relaxed
    often experiencing
    something new

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      What a brilliant way to drive. I was so obsessed with efficiency and the destination that I often missed the newness of travel. Here is to leaving early. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

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