Ten Zen Seconds on the Bike

Yesterday, the new bike came home. It’s been on order since March 3–almost three months. The odd thing is that this is a standard Honda motorcycle, not some incredible custom piece. It just wasn’t available in plain black. I could have had it a lot sooner had I wanted it in red, white, black with red flames or black with silver frames. But I wanted it plain black. I’m a minimalist.Honda Shadow Spirit

I’ve been keeping notes about what I learn from the bike. I’ve written about the basics of creativity Rhonda (my previous bike) taught me. The same bike taught me about staying in the moment, important for both motorcycles and creativity. But I was surprised when Suzie Lightning taught me a Zen lesson within the first 15 minutes. (The new bike is named after a line in the Warren Zevon song. ) I drove the bike off the lot and noticed it was a lot heavier than Rhonda. Braking at a stoplight requires that you shift into first gear. I could do this really well on Rhonda. I’d come to a stop, snick the bike into first gear and accelerate away without ever taking my feet off the footpegs. Balancing on Rhonda was an acquired talent, one that Suzie Lightning didn’t allow me. I wiggled back and forth and, to use a bike rider’s phrase, in order to keep the rubber side down, I had to plant both feet on the ground to steady myself.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Eric Maisel for my blog. He was on his blog tour for his book, Ten Zen Seconds. One of the incantations Eric talks about is “I am completely stopping.” I’ve been using the incantations since I read the book, and I automatically thought, “I am completely stopping,” as I put both feet on the ground to steady the heavier bike.

And there was the lesson–in meditation you completely stop planning, thinking, listening–you come to a complete stop. The image of stopping the bike, and planting both feet on the ground does the same–it helps you stop, and it reminds you to stay grounded. In fact, the best meditation stopping is done exactly so you can be grounded and centered. And for that matter, like on the bike–balanced.

–(c) 2007 Quinn McDonald. All rights reserved. Ask if you want to use it. See the rest of my work on my website, QuinnCreative.com