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  • Matt

Breathwork Cured My Road Rage

I used to commute from the Bronx to Manhattan five days a week and get enraged behind the wheel - New York City driving will do that to you. After discovering breathwork, my incessant road rage completely dissolved. I now drive as calmly as a Hindu cow.

Flashback, I’m driving down 2nd Avenue in a faded black Corolla missing three hub caps. I’ve got 20 city blocks to go and 15 minutes to find a parking space in order to get to work on time. I’m cruising through Manhattan in the right hand lane when a yellow cab abruptly pulls in front of me with no blinker and comes to a full stop. I quickly hit the brakes and bring my car to a halt two feet from the cab’s bumper. The cab’s fare enters the passenger side door with no sense of urgency, the vehicles behind me honk their horns repeatedly, and I watch the sea of green lights ahead turn to a red hue.

Everything about this situation should be infuriating, and for the vehicles behind me it is. I wait patiently for 60 seconds and chuckle to myself. In this time a wave of peace sweeps over the situation. The honking subsides, the cab’s fare gets situated, the light turns green, and we’re all on our way down 2nd Avenue as if nothing happened in the first place.

We’ve all experienced moments like this while driving, but I was once not always this calm. I’ve yelled my fair share of F-bombs, punched my steering wheel, and sped off in a rage. I don’t know where my anger stemmed from. I have some theories, but they are just that. It might not matter where it came from. What matters is becoming aware of it. Once you become aware of an emotion like anger, you start becoming less reactionary. You are no longer a puppet to the emotion.

Breathwork brought me to a fully present state of awareness. After accessing this state repeatedly through dozens of breathwork sessions, that state of awareness became part of my everyday life. It became second nature as they call it or, better yet, our true nature. Now, when a car cuts me off, I can observe the anger as it emerges inside and say, “What’s this?” or “Hello old friend.”

I take my power back by choosing how to act rather than blindly react. When you are presented with the option of how to respond, it creates a buffer zone to assess whether or not this is really worth your energy and weigh the consequences of an energetic exertion. The clarity you receive during this moment, even if it’s just a fraction of a second, can alter the course of your life.

Breath is a metaphor for life.

I can do the act of breathing and consciously breathe how I want to breathe, I can also let my breathing happen to me and unconsciously breathe how I breathe. This realization about my breath can be

applied as a metaphor for driving. I can consciously do the act of driving and drive fast and take the quickest route, and then the driving also happens to me. Someone may be driving slowly in front of me, I may get stopped at a red light, or be stuck in traffic. By coming to terms with and being in acceptance of what is, I was able to conquer my road rage. Breathwork helped me achieve this.

I believe that the universe is conspiring to give us what we need at all times. So the next time you’re stuck in traffic or someone is driving too slowly, take a deep breath and know that it’s all happening for you. You will arrive safely at your destination and your parking spot will be there.

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