I have been reading this book (“Zen, Simple Seikatsu No Susume”), and it reminded me of living a simple life.
I recall a constant remark of a Tae Kwon Do teacher: practice the essential, let it be simple. Also, in my Sangha, the teacher said, zen is simple, seat in silence and stillness, there’s nothing else to zen, but simply live the present moment as it is.
Now, as a mindfulness coach, this is the message I want to share: the practice will not add a thing to your life. Just keep it simple, live the moment as it is, without judgement.
I know it sounds very simple, but may not be. It means to let go many things we have been adding to ourselves, many possetions that are not important, many tags we have been creating on us and on others. But the process is worth it, you may feel free.
As a professor at Universidad Marista de San Luis Potosí, I have worked with teenagers for at least 12 years, at the Preparatory school.
Usually there’s pressure from parents, peers and teachers. It’s a time for students to reaffirm who they are and to guess what will be the future for them. Parents have their own idea of what they expect from them, but they want to be themselves, as a unique individual, and they also want to fit in the group, which may confuse them on who they really are.
I think that there is something that a teenager could learn at this stage, and this is connecting within, learn a technique that may allow them to get in contact with themselves (individually), in the present moment, consciously.
Mindfulness can be such a thing. They can learn to pause, to get in touch with their feelings and understand where they come from. It’s a technique that can make them diminish a state of anguish, focus better and longer, and be more empathic.
It’s a way to know themselves without tags, understand who they are, and that they have the opportunity of choice. As Carl G. Jung said: “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes”.
As far as I have read, statistics of deaths and accidents when a bike lane is part of the infrastructure local governments have implemented, are lower than before. Also, the increase of trips on bicycles rise when users feel safer.
I know that persons with business along the road complain, feeling that such a lane will make sales decrease, which is not true. Car drivers also complain, feeling tha the already scarce place they use is reduced.
According to statistics, makeing and keeping a bike lanes is much cheaper than lanes for cars. Also, visibility of business along the bikelane increase, due to the lower speed of cyclists. Owners should, instead of complaining, attract bicycle users, make changes so cyclist may park their machines safely. There’s also the general benefits on health for persons using a bicycle, which make an impact on health care costs.
So why a city Government would like to close down a lane of recent construction? Because people in the government think it doesn’t attract tourists, are not popular among voters (at least that’s what they think). In San Luis Potosí, México, there are just a few kilometres of bike lanes. It would be better to plan and implement a net of bike lanes, so more people feel safe and increase the use of bicycles.
I hope not bicycle lane is closed, and that more and more persons find the benefits and joy of using their bikes.
Am I going to stop cycling some day? Sincerely, I have never asked myself such a question. But I was thinking about my father, and remembered when the Physician told him that he should of stop riding a horse. His life changed.
I think that riding a bicycle is different from riding a horse. My father used to ride a really difficult one. There was no one ever, except for my father, who tried to ride her, that was not thrown down – until it happened to him when old. Of course, my bicycle has never done such a thing.
The day may come. But, in the meantime, I will be just riding, and loving it. No thoughts in the future, just living the moment.
Since I practice zazen every morning, and a short meditation at night, most of the time I do it by myself.
In few occasions, now less frequent due to the lockdown, I have company. The Zen group I belong used to get together once a week. And I have a group of friends, interesting women they are, that invite me once a month to a little lecture and meditation, which I enjoy a lot.
So meditation is a lonely business. It’s a personal practice. I am disciplined, I’m constant, I see how I’m doing in my practice. But I meditate with someone who looks after me, or I practice joyfully with friend or path companions. The feeling is different.
And there are those mornings in which I have a different partner, a quiet one, that joins me in my practice.
There is nothing like a bicycle well manteined, clean. Ready to be used with confidence.
Owning a machine brings some responsability. It needs to be cared for. The air pressure on the tires needs to be checked. If you know your bike, you can detect a strange noise on a ride. If you don’t pay attention to it, disaster may come. Little by little, if you let it go, your beloved bicycle may turn apart, you may have an accident on rute, or at least a bad time.
What I have learned from minimalists is that having things takes time from you. That’s why they say it’s better to own only what you need or what you’re ready to care for. A bicycle is a simple machine, but having one gives you a responsability. It is part of life. If you don’t want the nuisance of owning one, you may walk. But you will not experience the joy of riding and keeping a bicycle.