In the Moment, on the Bike

In about a week, Eric Maisel will stop by my blog for an interview about his book, Ten Zen Seconds. At the same time, I’m reading Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. (I’ll be discussing that in a few days. I don’t want to jump to confusions, so I’m reading it all first. And there is no official site for her, and I’m loathe to send you to a commercial site where they are shilling for products linked to her book.)

Both books talk about meditating and ‘being in the moment.’ It’s a hard concept for a lot of people, being in the moment. What does it mean? How do you do it?

If you ride a bike (motorcycle), and took the riding course, it is exactly what you learned there. When you are on the bike, you are watching the car ahead of you, staying 2 seconds behind it. You are watching the hood of the car on the side road. If the car is moving toward the intersection and the hood is tipping down, the driver is braking. If the driver is looking straight ahead, and accelerating, he may not see you. The car behind you may be too close. What’s your escape? That car on your left, with the driver on the phone, is the driver aware of you? Are you on a spot where you can be seen in the rear view mirror? What’s your speed?

On a bike, you are always in the moment. You are not planning what to buy for supper; you are not planning what to say to your mom when you phone her tonight; you are completely aware of everything around you and completely in control of the bike. You are staying out of the grease strip and aware of every moment’s change. That, in essence, is being in the moment.

Well, what if you don’t ride? Then being in the moment means concentrating totally on what you are doing. Cooking dinner? Your mind is on chopping, keeping your fingers clear. Changing a diaper? Your mind is on getting the diaper off, checking for rash, getting your baby comfortable. On the phone? You are paying attention, thinking about what the other person is saying, processing the reaction, responding to the other person’s needs. (That’s why you can’t drive and chat on the phone at the same time. You are either not processing the choices of the road in front of you, or the needs of the conversation. It leads to accidents.)

Being in the moment can also mean staying calm, not deciding, bringing your mind to rest with simple incantations. (That’s what Eric’s book is about). Being in the moment is not hard to learn, and, once mastered, can feel as restful as a nap or as energizing as a great idea.

One of Eric’s incantations is great for practice. Watching a clock, breathe in for five seconds and out for five seconds. When you know how that feels, add a thought to each inhalation and exhalation. A good one to practice on is–Inhale and think I am completely. . . and exhale and think . . . stopping. It’s a great way to let go of monkey mind and come to a stop to relax. Try it.

–Quinn McDonald is a trainer, a writer and a certified creativity coach. Want to know more about creativity coaching? Karen Roberts interviewed me about creativity coaching. If you have questions, you can send me an email.