Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Past 600!

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 613
Miles left to goal: 1,587
Days left: 65

You sand wood to ground down the rough edges, to completely manifest the intent of the construction, the sculpting, the building. With the rough edges one can not only get hurt, but the true beauty beneath is still waiting for something. We weed the garden to bring the focus back to the reason we planted in the first place; the vegetables or the flowers, what have you. The process of sanding off the excess; pulling out the weeds; deleting old spam mail; cleaning your room; doing the laundry; and of course the ubiquitous: cleaning out the garage… (Although growing up we never had a garage, just several sheds and a barn which ultimately served the same purpose.)

…something we undertake to get back to the reason we began in the first place, to the prime point, to remove the distractions. To free ourselves to take a new direction, a new perspective, a reawakening. You could call it hosshaku kempon- aka casting off the transient and revealing the true.

In a lot of ways this whole bicycling thing for me has been a step in that direction. I had done some collecting of my own, being stuck in front of a computer all day at work, and after Gus (my old bicycle) went decrepit, often just making excuses for not getting any exercise. And those somehow became excuses for not dealing with a lot of other things. And so the karma built up in the corners, covered with cobwebs but sulking with nightmare intentions.

This bicycle goal isn’t just so much about shedding some unnecessary padding I have acquired but its also about shedding some other things; like mistaken perspectives, old coping mechanisms that do nothing productive, cleaning up that sulking karma so that old things weighing me (or my life?) down can be laid to rest, brought to completion, and generally expiated. Its almost like a kind of purification.

Taking the “yuck” and using it to become more of who we really are. That’s casting off the transient and revealing the true. Shucking the corn to reveal the corn? (Didn't we know it was going to be corn even when we started the shucking, its not much of a surprise...) After spending all this time flailing, (metaphorically and actually, I suppose), grabbing at what we’re supposed to be; what we thought we were going to be; what those we love would like to see us be (which isn’t always the determiner of that “supposed to be”); reaching for when it was good; or getting rose-tinted visions of what looks so good after the fact- well after that there is just that, what is.

All that we ever needed to be, we were born with (the teaching from the Lotus Sutra goes). Each of our lives is perfectly endowed with the most beautiful and profound of treasures, that is the true waiting under the transient. Waiting with complete patience and truth. The four aspects of the Buddha are eternity, purity, true self, and happiness. And no they’re not on sale as a 2 for 1 deal at the nearest chain megastore, they were part of you from the very beginning. All they ever needed to be was revealed.

Once we finish looking for, ignoring, denying, attacking, begrudging this most precious thing of our lives (made profound and inherently complete as they are) outside of us, we can realize its been in there all along. When we can put all that disillusionment and delusion aside we cast off the transient. (Delusion isn’t always so obvious as the mistaking the world for flat or thinking that there is spontaneous generation; although in their time and given the evidence those might have once been convincing arguments; sometimes delusion is thinking that always, always no matter how hard you try you’re never good enough, or that no one will ever love you for who you really are.)

Underneath the transient is the true, who we really are. Sometimes it may seem as though I’m living on the edge of what I can tolerate but I know I’ve been through worse. The hard times teach us what we’re made of, getting pushed into a corner makes us show our true selves. By constantly challenging ourselves in places where this isn’t a necessarily uncomfortable thing to do we prepare ourselves to be able to remain true to ourselves even when the big things in life happen. We get to learn to be larger than our circumstances as it were, so that the world around us doesn’t tell us how its going to be, that’s a decision we make for ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. wow. that was very beautiful and moving. thank you for sharing. you truly are wise beyond your years. i feel so fortunate to have you in my life on a daily basis. i have been witness to some of this transformation and let me say how impressed i am. you really are on a journey of awakening.. seems like you are getting there, one truthful step at a time, Miss. Butterfly.

    Impressive indeed. I am rooting for you!


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Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License