By the time I graduated high school, I had a solid music career going -- gigging, writing songs, recording in the studio, and teaching. Literally on my 17th birthday and against my mother's wishes, I bought myself a new car. Gold with white bucket seats. Nobody could talk me out of it. Within 6 months of owning that car, I crunched the rear left panel while parking at the local shopping mall. It was all carelessness on my part; a kid with a mind full of a thousand racing thoughts. That ADHD mind attracted a few more close calls in my life.
Each close call - each act of carelessness was a lesson that I needed to be mindful all the time - especially while driving. Had I cleared my head before exiting the parking space, I would have been more conscious of a giant round pillar next to me. But my mind was elsewhere and that pillar had a destiny with my left rear quarter panel ... all so I could learn a lesson.
When I consider driving a car today in fast-moving Los Angeles freeway traffic, it's all about rhythm. I follow the rules of the road, and keep a wide safe space around my car by maintaining a regular, expected speed (tempo). If everyone does the same, great. But trouble is also around us more than we know and a racing or emotionally fueled mind often attracts it. When trouble comes, do we want to be distracted or in a mindful, calm place, aware of the rhythm of the moment?
Practicing music is how I rise in proficiency as a player. The more time I dedicate to any aspect of music (writing, arranging, producing), the better is my ability to transcend my current level of play.
Practicing meditation is the same. The more time I meditate, the deeper is my mindful calm and conscious self-awareness. We will rarely encounter trouble if we are feeling calm in mind and self-aware. Next time you slam your finger in the car door, break a finger, break glass, burn your finger, step on a nail, trip on the curb, or crunch your car against a fixed object, think about where your mind was at the precise instant of the occurrence. Were you in a mindful calm or a cacophony of thoughts?
"Most people are forgetful; they are not really there a lot of the time. Their mind is caught in their worries, their fears, their anger, and their regrets, and they are not mindful of being there. That state of being is called forgetfulness—you are there but you are not there. You are caught in the past or in the future. You are not there in the present moment, living your life deeply. That is forgetfulness.
The opposite of forgetfulness is mindfulness. Mindfulness is when you are truly there, mind and body together. You breathe in and out mindfully, you bring your mind back to your body, and you are there. When your mind is there with your body, you are established in the present moment. Then you can recognize the many conditions of happiness that are in you and around you, and happiness just comes naturally." - Thich Nhat Hanh