The view from behind the wheel
WHEN driving a car, we have a front view, side view, rear view -- and spiritual view. Maybe this fourth view is not as familiar as the other three, but it is a view that can protect us from the road warrior in ourselves and others. Highways jammed with drivers who have taken possession of their wheels but not their moods pollute a civilized environment. Time spent on the road can be an investment and not a waste when brotherhood is valued more highly than competition and aggressiveness. In a setting of ``love thy neighbor,'' the law of Love, of God Himself, becomes the ultimate law of the road.
In the traffic of the 1980s attention to these words of Christ Jesus' is certainly valid: ``All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.''1
Love and logic coincide in this teaching. If we treat the other person as though that driver were the unique and lovable individual whose name is on our own driver's license, we will travel with allies, not combatants.
To treat the driver poking along ahead of us as a friend is more than common courtesy. It accords with divine law and therefore generates the patience to cope with others. If we consider the driver who just cut us off as a buddy, we won't be tempted to get even. Kindness to others gives us the satisfaction of driving brotherly love right off the pages of the Bible and onto the highway. In a very profound sense, kindness isn't optional. Because God is Love and man is His spiritual likeness, His pure image, it's natural and inevitable that we express our true nature. No one can work out his or her salvation by living contrary to the universal Principle of being, which is Love.
Expressing the love that springs from divine Love isn't a matter of using human will but of opening our thought to the Christ, the divine influence always present to illumine human experience as we strive to be more spiritually-minded. ``To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace,''2 Paul taught.
What are some of the spiritual concerns of the road? One of them is remembering that the other fellow is God's child too. Another is accepting the love that the Father has for us all. Christ Jesus compared this universal, impartial love of God to the shining of the sun and the falling of the rain.3
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded; whereas a belief in many ruling minds hinders man's normal drift towards the one Mind, one God, and leads human thought into opposite channels where selfishness reigns.''4 The realization of one Mind, one God, as the spiritual reality right where it appears there are many unpredictable driver-minds, is effective prayer. It is a yielding of self-centered human will to the universal harmony and safety of the divine will. Prayer allows the Christ to break through and bring the human scene into line with the divine will, which is love for all.
When I'm on the road, I know that as God's child, governed by Him, I cannot be either an instrument or an object of destruction. Each of us, in the stillness of prayer, can feel and know the truth of God's loving government of all His offspring. Then when we're driving we'll take with us the pure consciousness of divine Love's embrace that enables us to hear the mental warning to slow down before the reason becomes obvious.
It's so strengthening to thank God for His perfect control of His all-harmonious creation. The parkway at rush hour may not feel like God's all-harmonious creation. But the spiritual reality, though unseen to the physical senses, is always present to be discerned as the only reality and to make possible the harmonizing of human circumstances.
Anger and reaction are contradictions of our genuine, children-of-God status. It is surely as important to fill thought with good, with a realization of man's true selfhood, as to put gas in the car.
We can each have our own road-prayers. What a marvelous plan for highway improvement and safety -- prayer!
1Matthew 7:12. 2Romans 8:6. 3See Matthew 5:45. 4Science and Health, p. 205. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18