On Driving From the Passenger’s Seat

Life has been giving me a (not so gentle) reminder lately…

Loud and clear it’s saying:

Hey, did you know you are not in control? Do you realise that you’re suffering because you mistakenly think you are?

You are not in control of what happens in your life, or in the lives of others, or what happens in the world.

You are not the driver of this vehicle. Sure, you can come along for the ride. You can be a front-seat passenger.

You can look out the window and enjoy the view. You can make up fun games. You can gather your favourite snacks and choose the best music and even make some suggestions about rest stops, destinations and detours from time to time.

But don’t forget: you’re not the driver.

And while that may sound victimy or passive at first glance, it actually comes with a lot of relief once I can see what’s behind it.

Drivers don’t get to nap on the job, they can’t chill out or shirk responsibility for any amount of time. They always have to be managing everything, sticking to schedules and consulting the GPS.

They’re constantly scanning the ever-changing environment, always actively doing something with an eye on the destination.

Lately though, I kind of forgot that I wasn’t the driver so I was trying to drive from the passenger seat, and failing miserably at it.

I was shouting instructions, repeating shoulder checks and trying to control the speed at which we were travelling.

It’s exhausting (not to mention impossible) to try to drive a car that you’re not actually driving.

I was trying to “do” life, deciding what should happen when, what shouldn’t happen at all and exactly when we should arrive where.

But life reminded me (probably for the hundreth time, if I’m honest): that’s not my job.

Yes, I can do something. I can look out the window and enjoy the ride. I can relax and ponder. I can get curious and reflective. I can daydream, laugh and sing along.

I can rest in my well-being. I can share the love and marvel in the views. I can connect with people whose paths I happen to cross. I can make the best of a rainy day.

I can do what occurs to me to do, make suggestions when it occurs to me to make them, and stay open to going places I’ve never been.

But make no mistake, I’m not driving. You’re not driving. We’re not the drivers of life.

Life is the driver of life. The Universe, the Unknown, Mind, the Life Force, and energy and intelligence of all things no matter what you call it… that’s the driver of life.

The more I relax and allow the driver do the driving, the nicer time I have.

I’m freed up to do what occurs to me to do as a passenger on the ride of life and let go of all the rest.

The timing? Not up to me. The destination? Not up to me. What other people do? Not up to me. My future? Not up to me.

All this suffering was just showing me I was trying to do something that’s not my job.

And that’s a really nice thing to know.