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?”

Clear mind

In my morning rides something has been going round and round in my head: as I explained in my last post, I’ve considered to teach less hours per week.

Well, biking surely clears my mind. Although it will mean less payment, I’m going to have more time to be an artist.

I am cleaning all the mess in my studio, from the end of the school semester. It makes me happy and ready for more drawing/painting time. I think studying the new degree has helped, but I thank my beloved old blue bicycle for all the kilometers of clear mind.

I want a new one!

It’s funny how, without really understanding why, I was looking for different models of bicycles. I was trying to find a new one.

And it happens the same with many of the things I have. Should I get a new tablet, a cellphone? It seems that we get in this continues desire for more, to replace what we have but is still working properly.

It happens with me when thinking on bicycles. There is one better. That one is more beautiful. The other folds in a smaller piece. But I have already

Today, I went out in my Raleigh Sprite. Its a bicycle from the 70’s. I like it, and has some history. Even though, I have kept on thinking of a new bicycle to replace it (a Temple bicycle, for example).

So I got out, pedaling my old Raleigh. It was a short ride. Short but very satisfying. The bike was running fine, without any noise. I was happy of taking out such a beauty.

Why I want to replace it? I like it and works well. And I thought, it’s just this stupid desire, this desease of wanting more.

The ride was a good medicine.