Lessons on Two Wheels

Posted by Peter Kretzmann on 22nd Apr 2016

I was riding home from town one day on my motorcycle back to Ananda Village in the Sierra Foothills. Winding my way along the curvy canyon road, I found a tension slowly growing in my heart. I started wondering why sometimes motorcycle rides are thrilling and freeing. During these rides, I feel a wondrous connection with nature and beauty all around me as I cruise along. And yet, there are days where a nervous tension grows as I ride, causing me to feel limited and contractive in my heart. During this particular ride, I questioned what caused me to feel one way versus the other.

I knew I had to look deeper. I searched sensitively inside to feel for the answer. As I focused on the road ahead, I zeroed in on that nervous feeling to try to understand where it was coming from. I noticed that there was a subtle stream of worried thoughts flooding my consciousness: What if a big truck comes around the next curve, doesn’t quite make the turn and comes into my lane? What if there is sand around the next corner and I lose traction and fall? On a subtle level my mind was buying into these thoughts, and as a result, I had a constant, nagging worry-consciousness in the back of my mind.

In a flash, a line from Swami Kriyananda’s Festival of Light came into my mind: “‘Give yourself into my hands,’ cried the wind, ‘and to your strength I can then add my own.’” In that poetic telling of the soul’s unfoldment on the spiritual path, a little bird, representing the soul, has been fighting against the oncoming wind using only its own power.

That day riding back from town, with my mind affected by an undercurrent of worry, I was riding alone against the wind. I was worrying about every little detail and fearing every negative outcome. It was me against the world.

meditating and motorcycling

I realized that when I felt joyful and expansive on a ride, I was trusting and feeling connected to a greater power. I was feeling myself as “a part of all that is,” as it also says in the Festival of Light. I was reminded in that moment that I am loved and protected by a force that brings me only what I need to experience. There is nothing to fear when you feel yourself as part of a much greater reality. Life will bring difficult circumstances, but if we feel ourselves connected to a greater reality, we can face our challenges with greater understanding and acceptance of what life is teaching us.

I had just come to a straight-away in the road, so to drive the point home to my subconscious mind, I took my hands off the handlebars and spread my arms wide as if to embrace the oncoming wind.

In reflecting on my life, I saw how often I was fighting life’s circumstances rather than working in harmony with a greater reality. We can be so much more joyful and free if we are willing to cooperate with the ebb and flow of life’s trials and victories. And we don’t need to do it alone.

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