Meditations on commuting
It's been a while since my commute was longer than 15 minutes in a car or a 30 minute walk; it's been 4 years, in fact.
When last I worked in the city I was commuting by bus. Cramped conditions, appalling traffic and the truly unwashed nature of the great unwashed made for an unpleasant ride home in a city that regularly tops 30 celsius. Two things of note in this process have happened in the time that I haven't been commuting:
- A ferry route between the nearest wharf and access the road from where I now work has opened up, and
- I was taught to meditate.
The ferry route has some obvious benefits, it's faster, more pleasant, you're travelling across Sydney harbour so the view is amazing, in the afternoons they serve beer...
The meditation, of which I was initially skeptical has had some less immediately obvious benefits. The very first thing that happened when I first learned was that my decades-long problem with insomnia ended, sharply. This in itself was enough to reduce the stress in my life and substantially increase my ability to cope with it. Another thing it's done is give me a reason to shut off from the outside world on the commute and something productive and beneficial to do with a spare 20 minutes that isn't absorbing more information (my default activity).
Whilst I was able to meditate fairly well on the bus with a little practice it is an awful lot easier on the boat. However, there are days on which this is a little more entertaining than others. The last 3 days have been really quite interesting as the swell on the open ocean has topped 2 metres. As the ferry passes the heads, the gap into the ocean from Sydney harbour, there is a rollercoaster effect that, with your eyes shut and lost in contemplation, makes it feel as though you left your stomach a little way behind you. Luckily to date, this has proven more amusing than nauseating. I do wonder if my fellow passengers wonder what kind of loony I really amas I sit there with my eyes closed and a huge grin on my face.