Zen and the Art of Riding the Bus

A lesson that I have to learn over and over again in every different area of life is about living in the moment. One more place that I get reminded of this is probably one of the least zen-like places on earth: public transit.

Here’s the beauty (and frustration) of riding the bus: you have no control. You can’t impact when the bus will get there, how long it will take for that person with a stroller to get off, what the other traffic on the road is doing, how many times it will have to stop, or anything else that might make your bus arrive early, late, or just on time. All you can do on the bus is be there.

I am one of those people who hates being late, but who often ends up very nearly being late because I pack way too much into a day. It’s not uncommon for me to find myself bussing from one side of town to another, anxiously willing the bus to move faster as I’ve neglected to account one of the many factors that are making it slow. Unfortunately, my mind control powers are pretty weak, and I never quite manage to use the force of my brain waves to move other cars out of the way.

Now I try a different tactic, and instead of using my bus ride as an exercise in frustrating futility, I remind myself that I am powerless to do anything but enjoy the ride.

It doesn’t always work, but hey, life’s a journey, right? And when public transit is part of that journey, you might as well pack a book and relax.