What riding can teach us

(en español)

Sometimes I think that there may be people thinking: what is he talking about, bicycles and zen, or meditation?

Well, let me tell you that back in the 70’s there was a very popular book called “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, by Robert M. Pirsig. I didn’t read the book, since I was not interested in motorcycles, but the idea got stocked in my mind.

Then I discovered that zen was not a thing of the temple only, but a way one sees life, and the way we do whatever we do. And bicycling, not racing, but riding a bike, was an activity that allows you to be in the present moment, now, with full attention.

When I started with meditation, and trying to have a rich spiritual life, what I constantly found was the reference of a path. So I had to move, in a direction. Well, I thought, what a wonderful thing! I have a bicycle, I can ride the path. And discovered that, like practicing martial arts as I did, or drawing, I could bike the path.

A few months ago I was in the bookstore, wandering after picking the book I needed, when I spotted a little book: Mindful thoughts for cyclists, by Nick Moore. What a discovery! I was very excited. I bought it and started to read. I have given the book to other three bicycle enthusiasts. I gave the first one, even without finishing the reading, to a new friend, Cecilia. It’s a beautiful book.

At the end of the book we can read: “The awareness we can cultivate on the bike can help us to detach ourselves from desire and entrenched thought patterns and view things more objectively. It’s raining. It’s cold. This hill is steep. I am traveling at 25 miles per hour. That’s it. No value judgement, no good/bad, right/wrong. The moment is sufficient unto itself. Does it need to be about anything else?”