I have used that metaphor of ‘red sports car meditation’ for many years in my Meditation & Mindfulness class at UCSC. In this 6 week course, you learn how to become conscious of what until now unconsciously has pulled you away from what truly matters to you, as well as from your natural state of Being. This state is what we eventually can wake up to, but we need to clear away the clutter first. And even before that, we first need to be able to recognize it. I know, the question ‘What Does A Little Red Sports Car Have To Do With Meditation?’ sounds a little crazy in this context. However, keep reading.
This clutter has become so familiar to us, that we have accepted it as reality and stopped questioning it. Unconsciously we may be resisting it, suppressing it, overriding it or feeling trapped in it, but this is all happening on an unconscious level. So we need to make this unconscious clutter conscious first and I’d like to offer you a fun way to do that.
… Back To ‘What Does A Little Red Sports Car Have To Do With Meditation?’
Imagine you are looking out over the freeway where a steady stream of cars goes by 24/7. It all looks like one big grey mass of cars without any awareness of the individual size, color or shape. It’s accompanied by a dull sound that you barely notice. It’s so constant that you’ve been desensitized to it. You know it’s there, but you are not really thinking about it. Nothing really stands out. Maybe you are aware of a slight irritation, yet because it’s so constant, you’ve been desensitized to that too.
And so it is with your mind. Thoughts run through 24/7 and all look like one big grey mass without any awareness of individual thoughts standing out. It’s hard to turn it off because you’ve been so familiarized with them that it doesn’t occur to you to stop and look.
OK, back on the freeway, a little red sports car passes by and stands out amongst the grey mass of cars. You notice it! See it?
And now back to your mind. Imagine you would like to learn to meditate and are trying to calm your mind. It’s one big freeway of noisy thoughts that just take you for a ride in any and every direction. It seems impossible to get calm or know what’s really going on in your mind. It seems even more impossible to notice where you are going and why?
However, in your meditation efforts there is one steady place to hold on to: your breath.
When you make the effort to follow your breath in and out amongst the noise of your mind, you are taking an important step away from the grey mass. In and out. In and out. When you practice following your breath for a little while, you can unhook from the grey mass of cars. Your intention and focus is on your breath, which frees your energy from this noise in your head – at least for a little while.
Then in this more spacious environment you can easier notice it when a persistent thought shows up, wanting your attention – wanting you to engage.
Notice it! This is the time to see it as a little red sports car that is trying to take you for a ride – away from your conscious breathing practice and away from your natural state of Being. Here is your chance to make this persistent thought conscious! Spot it and imagine it as this little red sports car standing out amongst all the other cars/thoughts. Just see it first. Notice it. That’s all for now, for you to just notice what you didn’t notice before your conscious breathing. You can even name it as ‘little red sports car. ‘You can also call it something like ‘persistent thought’ or give it a more specific label like ‘stress thought’ or ‘to-do-list-thought.’ Become familiar with the look, sound, feel and tone of this thought that now starts standing out to you as a little red sports car does on the freeway rush of grey mass. Becoming conscious of these other qualities helps you to recognize the thought sooner – hopefully before you find yourself inside the car!
You notice that is stands out, right? You named that thought and saw it as separate from the rest. That’s the purpose of this metaphor, for you to recognize it when a thought knocks at the door of your consciousness wanting to take you for a ride.
Is it the feeling of excitement in your chest that is the first sign of the little red sports car? Is it the the feeling of stress in your belly? Or the angry conversation in your head about what you could-have/should-have/would-have said?
Taking you for a ride
Once you start recognizing one thought standing out amongst the rest, you can consciously choose if you want to go on a ride or not. Before, when you didn’t recognize this thought and its signs, you were automatically taken for a ride without your conscious consent. Suddenly you found yourself far, far away in a land of suffering, pain, anger or confusion. All because you didn’t know you had a choice to say no or to go along.
We all have choice all the time, but are not aware of it when we are drowning in the grey mass of thought. In there, there is hardly a choice. Becoming conscious of one individual little red sports car at a time is how you become conscious and how you take back your natural birth right to make conscious choices.
If you would like to learn more about Meditation and Mindfulness, the little red sports car metaphor is on the 2nd class in the course.
I always encourage my students to find their own metaphors if this one doesn’t resonate or if a better one shows up that they can relate to easier. I have heard several versions like: “If I find myself in the car, I just jump out.” Or: “I saw the car looking like the feeling it wanted me to feel, which made it easier to recognize (i.e. I don’t want to go on a ride in an angry or confused car).”
Thinking you are too busy is also the little red sports car wanting to take you for a ride
Starting a meditation practice is not really difficult in itself. You just sit down and start becoming aware of what is going on inside and outside of you, such as your feelings, thoughts, breathing, reactions, likes and dislikes and of course the Observer who is aware of all this. It’s a process that becomes a life long unraveling of all the things you’ve been identified with until you suddenly experience the One who is experiencing it all. This is your True Self patiently waiting for you behind all the clutter.
There will be plenty of hurdles and challenges along the way, the biggest one being the mind’s never ending chatter.
However, the hardest thing about meditation for almost everyone starting on the path is to actually take the time, sit down and do it. The whole point at first is to get out from under the world’s projections, identifications and busyness. Busyness often being the main reason convincing you that you need to do all these other ‘more important’ things first.
It’s my hope that you’ll also experience that reason as part of the clutter – as convincing as it may sound – and that you have the choice to say “No thank you” to the busy-ride and then sit down and start your practice.
I am a Self Love Mystic & Mentor at Divine Feminine Flow, and also a meditation teacher at UCSC. I’d suggest you can start with the Meditation & Mindfulness course if you want to start meditating. If you feel the need for more support in living an authentic life and listen to your inner, you can set up a free 30 min. Discovery Session to see what kind of support you may need at this stage of your life and if I am the support you need..