Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Meditation. Part three. A few years ago, a friend gifted me a wooden meditation bench that he had built. Thank you @bruce_collin. I had become somewhat bored with the guided meditations and felt like progressing to something new. I started waking 20 minutes earlier to sit on my new bench. Much more firm than a cushion, it still feels so very comfortable. Not unlike my bike saddle. My butt akin to an electronic device plugged into its charging station. No voice telling me what to do. In silence. I simply sit. Eyes closed. Back straight. Stepping out of my head. Watching my thoughts go by. Not trying to stop them. Not trying to control them. Not investing in them. Simply observing. Out of my ego. Into my body. Checking in on it. Paying it a friendly visit. Inhabiting it. Feeling it. All of it. From head to toe. Letting go of the need to know. Letting go of the idea that I already know. Letting it all go. Letting it all drip down into the mat below. Our minds are but a tool. Our problem solving organ. But we’re not meant to live there. Non-doing. Passive. Meditation isn’t something that I do. It’s something that I let existence do to me. Meditation doesn’t change my bike riding. It transforms it. It makes my riding change me. Taking the time to do nothing to show us that we are both nothing and everything all at the same time. My current practice is very informal. I don’t use a timer. Like filling my car with gas, I simply stop when I feel full. It’s when I don’t practice for a while that I notice how much it helps me be more present in my life. More present for the enjoyable parts. And more present for the unpleasant and difficult parts.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Meditation. Part two.
After attending a few Yoga Nidra classes over 5 years ago now, I started
meditating on my own. Guided
meditations. Laying flat on my
back. So used to being busy doing one
thing after another, I found it difficult to remain motionless and awake in the
beginning. I was just so used to
constantly ‘doing’ that ‘non-doing’ was very painful. It seemed like such a waste of time. I still kept at it, not really knowing what I
was supposed to be accomplishing. The
nothingness behind it was lost to me as I kept thinking about it as something
that I was actively pursuing. After a
while, if anything, I just began finding it relaxing. It also seemed to help with my exercise
recovery so I just went with it.
Listening to the audio instructions guiding me through. Immobilized, eyes closed, simply staring into
the darkness. Ever so slowly, I felt
myself beginning to open. Becoming more
comfortable with simply being.
Experiencing brief feelings of leaving my body. Disappearing.
Peacefully floating. It sounds
weird and it’s difficult to explain, but I began feeling this powerful yet calm
positive energy embracing me. Meditation
can be so many different things. So very
personal. The original prayer. Like in endurance sports such as cycling, it
takes an enormous amount of time and practice before you begin noticing the
positive effects. The paradox being that
it shouldn’t be done as a means to an end.
It should simply be done because it’s who we are. Meditation was slowly becoming the yin to my
cycling yang. Improving my
recovery. Improving my riding. Not in terms of numbers, but in terms of the
depth. We think of cycling in terms of
legs, heart and lungs. But in reality,
our brains are what tie the whole experience together.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Meditation. Part one. I’ve had a certain fascination with meditation for a long while now. Intrigued by the willpower and discipline required, I first thought of it as an exercise of mind over matter. Like in a bike race, your tired legs are hurting and telling you to stop but you stubbornly push through it chasing the result. Like that, but the opposite. Sitting cross legged, your restless body is hurting and telling you to move but you stubbornly push through it and stay still. This initial understanding wasn’t enough to get me to practice. It just seemed to require too much effort and I still wasn’t sure about the why even if I admired those who had the willpower to do it. I was in awe of their ability to focus. When I trained to race, my favorite rides were solo long steady distance outings. They were simple. They felt natural to me. No complicated timed efforts. Just ride. And these rides seemed to benefit my mind as much as my legs and body. Unknowingly at the time, they were my first form of meditation. An introverted outdoorsman at heart, my solo rides have become a necessity for me instead of simply something to do responsibly during this pandemic. They have become my lifeline. My ritual. My practice. Temps hovered around - 5 Celsius on this cloudy January forenoon as I headed out into the woods on my fat bike. Snow covered trails. Easy like Sunday morning. As I settle into my pace, I notice how very comfortable I have become alone in the woods. It just feels like coming home. One with nature. One with existence. Out of the self. Into the whole. Wandering for over 3 hours. Forest tea. A gluten-free date square. My absolute favorite active meditation. And zero willpower required. Maybe meditation isn’t difficult after all? Maybe it’s a matter of finding a form of meditation that suits us?
Friday, January 8, 2021
2021. A new year. A time when we tend to look back. A time when we also tend to look forward and set new goals in an attempt to fix what we don’t like. I’m not really into resolutions. These last few years, I tend to analyze my life regularly as I go. If I don’t like something, I make an effort to change it then and there, instead of waiting for year end. Living slower, I have more time for observation and self-examination. More time to catch myself resisting what is. More time to remind myself to go with the flow instead of fighting it. Too much planning seems to make me miss too many present moments. Being fully alive includes a certain spontaneity. Welcoming what is like I had chosen it. Trusting. Here. Now. As much as so many people are happy to see it end, 2020 was a good year for me personally. Despite Covid or maybe because of it? I was lucky in that we live in an area with relatively low case numbers and our family income was not affected. We’re pandemic privileged in that sense. And there’s also bikes. I’d have to go back to my childhood to remember a time when I enjoyed riding as much as I did this past year. It wasn’t about the numbers. It was simply about the deep feelings of appreciation and gratification that emanated from each and every pedal stroke. Or maybe I should call it pedal stoke? Instead of resolutions, I have but one intention. I long to be uninvested. Univested in your opinion of me. Univested in being right. Univested in proving my worth. Uninvested in trying to convince you to think like I do. Uninvested in every single thing outside of my own self. Uninvested in everything outside of my heart. Invested in being more uninvested. I have come to realize that the only thing that I have the power to change is my own self. Therefore, being invested in anything else is simply foolish. How invested are you in changing your own self in 2021?
Friday, January 1, 2021
What’s this really all about? What’s the point? As this year comes to an end, I ponder. I’ve been going through this existential crisis of sorts for a few years now. Mid life. A coming of age. Around me, the crowds all seem to be chasing success, fame, power and riches. Go big or go home. All that I want to do really is go deep and stay home. I have mostly always felt like an outsider, like I was playing this character in someone else’s story. Escorted by the masses. Following the rules. Doing what I was told. Conforming. All the while, still waiting for the “living happily ever after” part like they promised. Maybe “living happily ever after” isn’t just about our titles, accomplishments and stuff? Maybe it’s much more? My schooling taught me how to earn a living, but it hadn’t taught me how to cultivate a happy life. Fat biking along this frozen riverfront as the sun sets, a certain understanding begins to surface inside of me like it does so very often when I’m out on my bike. Maybe happiness isn’t something that we can learn or achieve with our mind? Maybe happiness is something that we can only feel by opening our heart? Maybe happiness is what appears when our heart becomes the master and our mind its servant instead of the other way around? As 2020 comes to a close, may your inner journey towards happiness be at the top of your priority list. Follow your heart. Let it open. It knows. Happy New Year friends !!