Ever driven somewhere and forgotten how you actually got there because your mind was so busy worrying about what was or what might be?
Given your head is filled with thousands of daily thoughts, here’s how road trips can help wipe the mental slate clean and start getting your subconscious mind on the right track. No matter where you are in the big wide world, the beaut thing about road trips is they are a wonderful, distraction-free opportunity to practise mindfulness. In other words, you experience present moment awareness. As the cultivation of inner peace is all about being in the here and now, it’s also important to understand that anxiety lives in the future and depression lives in the past.
Since our brain is our hardware and our mind is our software, our subconscious mind is there to serve us, which means it’s possible to reprogram it over time. But it all comes down to your beliefs, including those not necessarily working for you. That’s why you need to look at those stories playing in your head and start replacing them with a new, more accurate view of life.
So when you next hit the road, here’s how you can start transforming your thoughts from goat tracks to superhighways:
Road trips are particularly rewarding when driving through mind-blowing nature. Not only is it a terrific opportunity to expand your peripheral vision, you can also incorporate some open-eye meditation (OEM), where you basically focus your mind on a particular object while you are driving. Although open-eye meditation is technically focusing on two objects at once, one with the left eye and another with the right, if you are the driver, it’s best to focus on one thing. Obviously, the external scenery will change, but by placing your attention on the surrounding natural beauty, it makes you far more present. Alternatively, you can also focus on your breath as you drive. Either way, it allows you to become more objective with and aware of your emotions, as well as help ‘flow’ yourself to your destination, not just drive.
In the event you are road tripping with another adult passenger, for the non-driver it’s also a good time to journal. The best technique I’ve found is to write out whatever is going on in your head there and then, whether it’s an event or emotion, or whatever it is that is causing you to be triggered or upset. Getting it all down on paper helps get those emotions out of your head and provides a sense of a relief. You don’t even have to think about what you are writing, just write. The important thing is to do it for 15 minutes only. After you’ve written those emotions that you are feeling, then look at an upgraded model or version by seeing that event with an alternative, more favourable perspective. In doing so, it creates new neurological pathways to think differently about life.
A road trip will inevitably involve playing music and talking on your hands-free smartphone, but in order to be truly present, it’s a good idea to switch the phone and radio off at times. If you need to have something sound-based playing in the car, make sure it has some self-development or educational value that rings true for you. For instance, I enjoy playing spiritual music from someone like American singer Krishna Das, as well as have audios from leading motivational speakers Dr. Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. In terms of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), quantum physics and Science of Mind, neuroscientist Dr. Joe Dispenza hits the nail on the head, so to speak. Meanwhile, authors Esther and Jerry Hicks are insightful Law of Attraction gurus. Generally, it’s about playing what you’re wanting to learn more of. So even if you have listened to something before and think you’ve got it, listen to it again, because when you are truly ready the penny will drop. It’s possible to have these satori moments (enlightenment) on your road trip because you don’t have the distractions that you would normally have.
Go with the flow
While a road trip is essentially about getting from one destination to another, in terms of reprogramming the subconscious mind, it’s vital to remain detached from the outcome. That is, have some sort of plan of where you are going, but don’t make it too stringent, otherwise you can put yourself under pressure and cause stress. Instead, allow yourself to break free from the shackles of routine and be prompted to do what you want to do there and then. For example, you might be driving along the road to get to a town that is 100 kilometres away, but then you see a waterfall and your intuition prompts you to stop and go for a walk. While there, you might meet someone who has some insight about other worthwhile spots.
If your road trip involves travelling with someone else and the journey is essentially about reconnecting with yourselves, it’s important to have someone who shares similar values, beliefs and goals. However, if your road trip companion wants to party, do a pub crawl, or stick to a rigid schedule, then it’s not going to work. Remember, the whole idea of a road trip is to decompress.
What’s your best road trip memory?
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