If you haven’t yet read the original Kar Karma document, you can access it here.
By now, hopefully you have been using some of the techniques outlined in Kar Karma. Perhaps you have noticed driving becoming easier over time. Maybe you no longer get quite as tense at the idea of driving home in rush-hour traffic. Possibly, the other drivers don’t irritate you quite as much as they used to.
Like anything worth doing, these techniques take practice. However, the more you practice, the better it will work. Over time, you will notice less road rage and your driving will become easier and more pleasant.
Let’s briefly review the 4 principles from Kar Karma:
When you first catch yourself getting upset, the first step is to stop and realize that it’s happening. Acknowledge it. This realization helps break the habit of reacting in anger.
Once you have caught yourself reacting in anger or becoming stressed out, talk to yourself out loud. Correcting yourself out loud will help break a habit faster than just thinking, because then you have engaged three different energies: (1) thinking, (2) speaking, and (3) hearing.
Habits don’t change overnight. The more you can catch yourself getting stressed, tense, or angry – and acknowledging/correcting this, the easier it will get. Practice makes perfect!
Over time, you should find yourself becoming less stressed out while driving. Other drivers will seem less irritating, and you’ll be calmer and happier. Driving will become easier for you overall. Enjoy your success – you earned it!
At this point, you are ready to move on to the next phase.
Now, you should focus on trying to stop a negative thought before it is expressed outwardly (such as an exclamation of anger, or a rude gesture). We want to stop the negativity while it still remains a thought. By doing this, we no longer have as much negative energy involved as we did previously. Stopping the negative energy while it is still a thought prevents the energy that would be created by actually verbalizing frustration. This reduces the amount of negative energy overall.
Continue the practice of talking to yourself out loud when you find yourself thinking negative thoughts. By talking to yourself aloud, you have three actions (speaking, hearing, and thinking) involved instead of just one (thinking). This will help you ingrain the habit much more quickly. It will also train your subconscious mind, letting it know that this negativity is not what you want and that you are trying to improve.
How much energy have you been putting into reactions to other people on the road (or in other aspects of your life)? Have you expended negative emotional energy on perceived slights (e.g. drivers cutting you off, driving too fast/slow, etc.)? Does this negative energy sometimes carry over into other aspects of your life?
The goal of Kar Karma is to change the amount of negative energy that you expend. Let’s imagine that you begin your drive to work with 100 units of energy. How you do want to spend that energy? Let’s say you spend 70% of that energy being upset with rush hour traffic, the elderly lady in front of you driving 10 mph below the posted speed limit, that punk teenager who just cut you off, etc. By expending this much negative energy, your net energy balance is negative overall. This can affect your perceptions, emotions, and interactions with those around you – and it makes for a much less enjoyable day.
What if we were able to change our energy expenditure so that we expend LESS negative energy on our drive to work? By employing these techniques, we can learn to change our perceptions so that our thoughts are more positive than negative. Once we get to the point where 51% of our energy is positive, then we have reached a situation where our net result is positive. Imagine how much that will affect your mindset and attitude for the rest of the day!
If you can master this, you may find some other surprising results as well.
One of the things that I’ve noticed is that, when I need to change lanes, other drivers always make a space to let me in. Traffic flows much easier overall. I still see other drivers getting upset and having problems. My aikido training has taught me that it’s far easier to flow with the energy, rather than trying to fight it. It applies in this realm as well. When driving in traffic, I try not to get sucked into the energy that I don’t want to be involved in.
Another thing I notice is that traffic lights stay green long enough to allow me to get through. This is something that you may not notice at first, but eventually you will. It may be difficult to convince yourself that this is really happening, because it is not logical. Although it’s not something we can currently prove, studies have shown that thought energy can affect some surprising things – including electrical signals (e.g. traffic lights). However, all that really matters is that driving – and life in general – will seem to flow better, and that the energy flow in your life is positive overall.