The Mystical Art of Driving
Mohada Dura mindfully depressed the clutch
and slowly located first gear. His concentration remained
focused, single-mindedly, on the tasks of the moment: the control
of the vehicle and observation of the road ahead. Not for a
second did his mind wander in pursuit of random thoughts. Had he
allowed this, he might have reflected on what had led to him
driving a top-of-the-range Mercedes along a deserted motorway at
three miles an hour.
This could have been traced to the SRPCHASM
- the Self-Righteous, Politically Correct, Health and
Safety Movement. Their central philosophy was that risk, at
any level, was unacceptable. Anything must be done to prevent
misfortune, regardless of the effect on quality of life. If
misfortune occurred, someone should be blamed - indeed their
litigation against God continues for causing death by reckless
Mohadas current circumstance followed
from law introduced in late 2003 banning the use of hand-held
mobile phones while driving. Widespread support of this
legislation encouraged the SRPCHASM, and thus they argued that
all telephone conversations from cars while driving were a
distraction. Offending the Movement was political and
professional suicide, so a law soon followed.
Opponents challenged that mobile telephone
calls were no more distracting than talking to a car passenger.
The SRPCHASM agreed, and passengers were quickly banned, unless
fully sedated. Prohibition of radios and music players followed.
At this point it was widely believed that the SRPCHASM would move
on to persecute some other sector of society. A report appeared,
however, which demonstrated that, even without external
distractions, the nature of mental processes were such that
random thoughts and feelings perpetually diverted the
consciousness of most people. Made curious by these findings,
many tried to focus their minds on one thing, only to discover
that they quickly became engrossed in some story of the past or
future, loosing awareness of the present.
Law rapidly followed which required total
unerring mental concentration as a prerequisite for holding a
driving licence. Forty-three people in the UK remained eligible
Mohada was one, having practised
mindfulness in meditation for nearly thirty years since becoming
a Buddhist monk. Others were to be found in monasteries
throughout the land.
Initially, many motorists claimed to be Zen
masters. Research had, however, identified that meditative brain-wave
patterns and a strict vegetarian diet produced distinctive body
chemistry. It had been a simple process to covert breathalyser
equipment to what the tabloid press described as monkalysers.
Seventeen-year-olds rushed to get
provisional licences and join meditative orders. The prospect of
many years of silent mental discipline, however, led most to seek
amazingly dangerous ways of walking, instead.
So it was that Mohada was driving to
collect sacks of organic vegetables for the monastery kitchen.
The car had been donated to the monastery, like so many others
whose owners had been banned. It had been a great victory for the
SRPCHASM as road traffic accidents no longer occurred. Those
eligible to drive seldom did so, and most were members of
geographically disparate monastic orders. As for the speed, the
car could travel in excess of two hundred miles an hour. For
driving meditations, however, Mohada thought that
walking pace was just fine.