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Home > Culture and Society

Commuting: the new age way

Mirror, signal, chakra.

24 July 2003

This week we learned that we Brits spend more time commuting than any of our European neighbours. Unless you're the sort of person who thinks that working until 9pm every night is proof of masculinity/virility, this can't be a good thing.

Fortunately commuting need not be the waking nightmare we are used to, thanks to Mina Hamilton, a certified stress-reduction and yoga instructor from Manhattan. Mina has put her '14 tips for serene commuting' on the Internet, which in no way implies that no real publisher would be interested. Her first tip is:

Once you get into your car, hold it! Before fastening your seat belt, before putting the key [into] your ignition, take a couple of seconds to think about some of the people you love. Enjoy a moment appreciating their special qualities. Next make a commitment to yourself, family and loved ones to drive calmly and safely today.

(Then make sure you don't reverse over one of them in the driveway).

Whether this Zen moment will survive an hour of being tailgated by dickhead salesmen and delivery drivers who unconsciously believe themselves to be Mad Max once they're behind the wheel is a moot point, but Mina's heart is in the right place.

All 14 of Mina's tips can be read at:


You'll soon notice that Mina is acutely aware of the dehumanising nature of the modern world. She writes:

Start thinking about the people inside the cars around you. On a crowded highway it's easy to think you're surrounded by nothing but heavy chunks of metal. Inside each one of those machines are vulnerable, sensitive human beings, folk very much like yourself.

Hmm. Anyone who's spent any length of time on the A12 would probably dispute that point.

Unfortunately, Mina's tips - like so many New Agey, self-help musings - arenít so much tips for dealing with the stresses of life as an unconditional surrender to a world of shit. Your job is shit? Your life is shit? You spend four hours a day stuck in a car or a filthy train? Your kids don't know who you are? Your hopes and dreams have slipped away in long hours, interminable commuting and a job that would make robots throw up their arms in despair and cry 'I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE' as they weep bitter tears of oil?

If so, why not look at a tree? There, that's better, isn't it?

For a millisecond anyway...

A nice picture of a tree:


Better now?

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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