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I have a confession to make. On most days, my favorite place to meditate isn’t on a mat and cushion. It’s behind the steering wheel of my car.

When you teach at two different colleges, you spend a lot of time in your car: my favorite euphemism for “adjunct professor,” in fact, is “roads scholar.” There have been times when, lacking an actual campus office, I referred to my car as my office. Fortunately, these days I do have an office at both of the campuses where I teach, so my days of teaching from my car are over. But I still spend four days a week commuting to either of the colleges where I teach, and many days, that commute is the only reliable quiet time I get.

Expert meditators would say you should meditate first thing in the morning, immediately after awakening: this is, after all, how Buddhist monks, nuns, and folks who live in Zen Centers do it. But I’m not a Buddhist monastic, I no longer live in a Zen Center, and I’m not much of an “expert” at anything. When I get up these days, the first thing I do is tackle my morning to-do list, then shower, dress, and head out the door.

The wisdom of meditating first thing, of course, is that you’re more likely to do something if you do it before you get distracted, and Buddha knows my days are full of distractions. When you live in a house filled with pets, there is always something to sweep, scrub, or mop up, and when you teach college students, there are always questions and emails to answer, problems that arise, and crises to avert.

During my morning commute, however, I am (literally) the one in the driver’s seat. Within the quiet confines of my car, I can enjoy a stint of uninterrupted quiet after the morning’s chores are done and before the day’s catastrophes have commenced. When I’m driving, the only thing I need to do is just drive, and this one-pointedness is a relief from my usual multitasking: while in the driver’s seat of my car, I don’t have to answer any emails, texts, calls, or questions. These days, my car is more than a means of transportation; it’s my own personal shrine on wheels.