Motorcycles and mindfulness
I had no idea when I bought my motorcycle what a practice of mindfulness riding would be. Sounds strange perhaps, but in order to ride safely, you really do need to be in the moment. It's incredible really. Each time I head out for a ride I remind myself to relax my body which engages my brain to be present and aware. Then I ride, keenly aware of the bike beneath me as it rolls along the road. I notice the way the bike moves over bumps, around curves up and down hills. My eyes are always watching ahead, behind and the sides of the road for anything that might present itself and require an appropriate reaction from me. At the same time I need to be ready with the throttle, brake, clutch and gear changes for circumstances could change in an instant.
Then there's the fun part of being in the moment. I notice the sky seems bluer and the clouds puffier as though I could reach up and grab them. I say hello to the cows, sheep and turkeys I see along the way. The smell of fresh cut grass or the pine from a camp fire, wafts up under the helmet's face shield and lingers just under my nose with an intensity I have never experienced. I could even smell the change in weather on the wind today. I often catch myself smiling.
I guess I'm happy that I finally got my license and bought a bike. I still feel apprehensive when I first head out so I take comfort in the camaraderie of bikers knowing that if I get into trouble another rider will surely come to my aid. And I am grateful for the opportunity to experience being in the moment in this whole new way. It's nice to clear my mind of everything except for what is happening moment to moment. I love noticing all the sensations: sights, sounds, smells, and the way they all make me feel. What a great way to start and end my days. Well, until winter hits...