I think perhaps I need to undertake a befriending exercise with drivers.
My universal doctrine is not to hate anybody, but I do hate people who drive cars, pickup trucks, military vehicles rebranded as family transport, motorcycles, and taxis (I would prefer an all-taxi world to one where people have private cars, but taxi drivers are the most impatient and reckless drivers in many circumstances).
I hate drivers for smashing their way around the world in their smog-producing, climate-wrecking machines, routinely killing pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. I hate them for feeling entitled to do these things because it’s normal and because they pay something toward the costs their cars impose on people and nature.
I love cycling and it was a major part of my life from childhood until I moved to Toronto, but the combination of snow and ice, terrible bike infrastructure, and a desire to keep my skull intact made me give my bike away when I moved here, cursing drivers for making the city a death factory.
These feelings may be morally justified, but they are probably also unhealthy. I see and hear cars every hour of every day and walking around filled with resentment doesn’t contribute to any dream scenario where people stop speeding around with insufficient care and attention in toxic smashing machines.
If I could, I would undo every car ever made and turn it back into iron-bearing rock which we didn’t need to mine and oil which we didn’t need to dig up.
I have tried to follow my father’s example and use hitchhiking as a means of befriending drivers, but nobody in Toronto ever ever picks me up, unlike in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Oxford.
Hence this Litany for Enemies, derived with respect from mindfulness meditation proponents who have done credible research:
“No matter how we appear on the outside, all of us can feel fearful, sad, or lonely on the inside…
May they be safe, and free from suffering.
May they be as happy and healthy as it is possible for them to be.
May they have ease of being.”
I don’t know who narrated this particular meditation, but it has helped me a great deal.
Every single time, however, it is also an uncomfortable confrontation of reflexes which suggest that anyone who is in conflict with me is necessarily wrong. That’s probably the main reason why I esteem it so highly as a spoken word performance.