I am becoming painfully aware of how distraction robs me of the joy of presence but Thursday evening on our 2nd day of meditating I experienced how it could kill.
I am driving home and up a dimly lit street that I always travel home on. I have just left a new class called “sacred stretch”. It’s an hour of dynamic stretching to world music on a polished pine dance floor a top a converted church steeple~ As close to heaven in a Maine winter as I can imagine. The class closes with a meditation on an alabaster light pouring down from a sphere just above our heads filling every toe. The beautiful couple that led the class have dabbed each of us with essential oil and sent us out into the chilly night. I am revived. I feel centered. I am travelling 25-30 mph up my street and suddenly I notice the car’s computer screen has turned the instructions into Spanish. This is annoying. I want it back in English. I start poking the screen and randomly pushing buttons to adjust it. A looming shadow appears on the right side of the car and then the collision. A tremendous bang. I swerve the wheel to the left and stop at the base of a telephone pole on the opposite side of the street. My heart’s pounding against the steering wheel. I’m in disbelief. I have never had a car accident. How could have I possibly driven boldfaced into a parked van? Was there a patch of ice I can blame? I am OK. I get out of the car to observe the damage. My car’s entire right front side is crushed and pieces of broken headlight scatter the pavement. The van’s tail is dented. There is no ice to be found. I scribble a note and tuck it under the windshield wiper of the van. “I am so terrible sorry. I drove into your parked van. I was distracted. Please call me so I can take care of any of your damages.” At 3 mph, I crawl up the street the wheel guard rubbing against the tire.
Week one has been a seismic wake up call for me about my distractions. Since the incident, I have been kind to myself when I feel like a fool. It all happened in a split second of distraction. It pales against the multitudes of distractions I usually engage in while driving. My driving since Thursday night has been filled with so many more moments of feeling the sensations of my breath. I just drive. I’m grateful. I’m grateful to be meditating with you. I 'm grateful it wasn’t Steven King that I hit walking along that dark street in Maine Thursday night.