Thursday, May 3, 2012


Want to radiate love into the world? Want to broadcast peace? Want to heal others in need?

There’s a fantastic place to do this. The location is more ideal than a meditation room. Or a sacred garden. Or Sedona.

There is a catch about this place, though. It’s not as easy to radiate love there as it is in a meditation room. Or a sacred garden. Or Sedona. But it’s one of the places on the planet that needs our love more than anywhere else.

It’s on the highway.

Whether driving to the grocery store or making a cross-country trip, it’s almost impossible these days not to encounter some kind of incident caused by another driver that provokes a negative reaction in us--a reaction that can range from a little bit of irritation to utter fury.

Today’s highways have spun a new and unique set of emotions unknown to generations past:
  • Everyone knows how ugly it feels to be tail-gated or cut off by someone who is putting out a hostile, angry vibe.
  • Everyone knows how unfair it feels spending long minutes merging courteously in a traffic jam, only to have someone zoom past on the shoulder of the highway with a me-first sense of entitlement, and rudely cut in front of those who waited their fair turn.
  • Everyone knows how aggravating it is to see someone talking on a cell phone or texting while whizzing past recklessly.
  • Everyone knows how frustrating it feels to be late for something important and encountering a fellow traveler blithely traveling slower than the posted speed limit, without offering any opportunities to be passed.
  • Everyone knows how shocking it is to be having a stressful day, and suddenly hear pounding from a vehicle next to us with agonizingly loud subwoofers that make our poor heads feel as though they've gotten stuck in a cement mixer. 
It’s normal, especially when engaged in one of the above scenarios, to carry mental images of the other drivers on the road as raging drug-crazed maniacs, idiots, selfish meanies, or stupid heartless low-lifes. Naturally, when we go into a turnpike rest stop, we see that those sharing the highway with us do not look like glaring devils with horns or drooling morons. Instead, what we see are normal, average-looking people who could be members of our own family or our neighbors down the street.

A friend who teaches classes that are mandated for bad drivers who have accumulated too many tickets claims that her students are actually delightful, normal people. She says they almost always have a reason for their recklessness, and it’s usually something sad or depressing. Perhaps they’ve just been fired, or lost a loved one. Maybe they’ve been bullied and this is their way of getting even. It could be that they simply feel unliked and unloved, and are desperate to gain a few inches on the highway as a substitute for approval.

Even those who drive in a rude or aggressive way because they are addicts or selfish jerks have a reason for being that way.

Here’s the challenge:

The next time you’re on the highway in one of these unhappy situations, stop before allowing yourself to slip into a negative reaction, and instead, imagine broadcasting goodwill and love to all the cars you see. It doesn’t matter how you do it—whether you sent light, or say a prayer, or sing, or channel positive energy through your chakras. Pile on the blessings instead of the curses! Cast love as best you can onto every vehicle, every driver, every passenger, even every mile of pavement you see.

Doing this is a wonderful spiritual discipline, and the good news is that the opportunities to practice are nearly unlimited! Rather than being stressed at the end of a drive, you may discover that you feel restored and happier than you were before your trip began. You will be amazed at how this practice will open the your heart, and shift you from being a victim to being an empowered soul.

Even better, some of your blessings will absolutely spill over onto those who were behaving poorly, and their lives might begin feeling a little brighter, which eventually may manifest as more courteous driving habits. If only a handful of people choose to suspend judgment and instead begin broadcasting love whenever they are on the road, eventually we might discover that our highways have turned into places of peace, sharing and goodwill!

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About Me

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Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines is the author of a collection of quirky short stories ("The Man in the GPS and Other Stories"), novels ("UNA" and "The Secret of Eating Raspberries"), and nonfiction ("How to Help and Heal with Hypnosis: An Advanced Guide to Hypnotism" and "The Laughing Cherub Guide to Past-Life Regression: A Handbook for Real People.") In addition to writing, Mary Elizabeth teaches hypnosis as the director of the Academy for Professional Hypnosis Training. She is a columnist for an international hypnosis magazine, and in the past she was a newspaper reporter and features writer. She has won a number of awards for her writing. Mary Elizabeth attended New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in the 1960s as a piano performance major. Later she pursued independent film studies at UW-Oshkosh. In her free time, Mary Elizabeth plays the piano, creates fractal art, cooks, paints, dabbles with computers, acts, gardens organically, and keeps bees.