Can Meditating Be Dangerous?

In other posts, I’ve mentioned my troubles with meditation and the struggle I have to achieve that blissful mental state. However, I’ve been practicing a lot more, specifically before I got to bed, when my mind tends to race. At Christmas I received a meditation CD and haven’t really given it a run for it’s money yet. But these days of iPods mean that we don’t really use CDs except in our vehicles or in that boombox that gets kept in the garage. I got to thinking that I could just listen to my CD in the car on the way to massage therapy, heightening that blissed out feeling I have after every session.

So many of us spend hours on the road each day that it’s natural to want to get things done while you commute, considering how much of your day can be occupied in the driver’s seat. So I tossed it in the CD player and made my way to my massage therapy appointment. I found myself at a red light no longer enraged by city traffic and almost missing a light as I idled next to a man who gave me what I can only interpret to be a pretty nasty finger symbol as he zoomed past me and wildly honked his horn.

Regardless of the encounter with the road rage driver, I arrived feeling pretty relaxed, climbed onto the massage table and began regaling my massage therapist, Katie, with my new found way to chill out. “Oh Kelly, you really shouldn’t do that.” Don’t meditate? Hmm, this goes against everything I’ve ever been told! Isn’t it good for me? Doesn’t it calm my mind and bring me into the present? And I’m only just starting to figure the whole thing out!

Katie went on to explain that listening to meditation CDs while driving is extremely dangerous. “Just think of it,” she said, “You’re putting your mind in an extremely relaxed state while operating heavy machinery.” Point well made. Perhaps it doesn’t make the most sense. But I had never even given it a second thought but in all likelihood, I had deserved that hand gesture for not paying attention to traffic signals as I listened to the calming sounds of gongs and chanting. I realized that I was just as dangerous as someone who concentrates on a text vice operating their vehicle. Not a great idea.

I took a cruise through my local book and music store and discovered that many meditation CDs all have blatant warnings on their packages stating that they should not be used while driving (go figure…a warning I didn’t even look for as I wildly whipped off the cellophane…it was Christmas and I was excited!). While researching the topic on the internet, I found this really interesting blog post by a woman who also found that meditating while driving could be extremely dangerous. And so she performs her own kind of meditation in which she turns off her radio and just focuses on all of the minutia of driving, leading to a kind of meditation that has her extremely focused and in tune with her driving experience. It might not be for all folk, especially those new to meditation, but it might be worth a shot.

So whether or not you choose to meditate while driving, please do it safely. Remain aware of your surroundings, check blind spots and for heaven’s sake, keep your hand gestures to yourself!


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