Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle [Crashing] (video)

Wisdom Quarterly

First person point of view of a typical city ride, until the bike is rear ended at low speed.

It's going to take a lot of maintenance to get back in the Zen Zone after a motorcycle accident. I should know; I almost died in one. The worst thing was not the concussion or complications but not being unable to bend my broken leg enough to get back into lotus position:

How would I sit; how would I reach enlightenment?!

Zen may mean jhana (meditative absorption), but there's more to it than zazen (sitting practice). One life trauma piles atop another, interspersed with good times so we don't notice the misery tank starting to read "full." The happiness tank is never running on empty. But we assume it is.

There's happiness everywhere -- in all things, at all times. Even the Holocaust can be fun if we make it that way -- for others, for ourselves, for both. It's that much of a choice. Fear stymies us -- in delusion about what is really happening and what it means. A person is only as trapped as s/he feels, never as trapped as one negatively imagines.

To spare his son the horror, he made it a game.

The terrible thing is we not only make it one way for ourselves, we contribute to the "consensus reality." This is horrible! This is unjust! This is anything but what it is. What is it? "It is what it is," whatever that may be, of course. Let it be.

Because whatever it is, four things are still true: There is unhappiness, but the unhappiness has a cause; there is happiness, and the happiness has a cause of happiness that we can do something about! These two sentences are the Four Ennobling Truths briefly stated.

When can it be done? Now. Now is the only time anything can ever be done. That should be clear enough just by a moment's reflection. There is always only now. Knowing that gives us power, what Eckhart Tolle made famous by naming it the "power of now."

Once we know this, the future is so bright we better bring shades. Even a motorcycle crash can't keep one down.

Then it's on to the Zen of Motorcycle Ghost-Riding (on a New Delhi, India freeway, while texting and skirting death at every lane change)

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