Recently while out on a walk I saw some guys doing some really cool things with bikes. It was like graceful choreography as they balanced on pedals on the wheel axels, swung the bodies of the bikes around and all while moving forward and sometimes backward too. It was pretty amazing and I couldn’t help but think of Zen meditation as I watched. These guys were totally focused. Their sport is called “flatland” and BMX bikes are the tools they use to create some imaginative moves that blew me away. I couldn’t help but see the parallel between the sport and spiritual life so I talked to Kevin Fessenmeyer, a thirty-something flatland biker with a passion for sports about his experience. Kevin gives off a calm that’s not unlike that of a yoga practitioner. In fact he says that many of his flatland friends do yoga for agility and concentration.
Like in meditation, the sport requires intense practice and focus. It sometimes takes weeks to master a figure. And sometimes you fail. If you keep at it too long at one go it can get pretty frustrating, Kevins says. At a certain point it’s best to take a break and come back again later once you’re calm and focused again. (I’ve had that with meditation too!) Like with flatland biking, balance is a key to spiritual life. In daily life staying balanced requires effort, practice, and focus too. It’s easy to get pulled off balance by things around us. If a boss gives us a hard time, if our health falters, if someone we trust bails on us, it’s easy to lose balance. But when we fall or lose balance, the ideal is to go inside through meditation or contemplation and relocate that feeling of balance and being centered. Like doing flatland biking, keeping balance means making effort and concentrating on the direction you’re taking.
Do you remember what it feels like to ride a bike? For a moment conjure up that feeling in your body, mind, and spirit. When you start out there’s a moment of doubt – especially if you’re just learning to ride. At first it feels shaky and challenging. But all of a sudden you get it. You learn from practice that there’s point where you move forward and magically balance on top of the tires. Everything flows in a smooth motion and you’re filled with a sensation of freedom and joy. Balance feels good. It’s when all things come together in perfect harmony and you can roll with the terrain relatively unaffected by the big ups and downs. Sure you might have to pedal harder if you reach a hill, but there are also times where it’s possible to coast and take it easy simply because you’re in the flow of life and all moves forward naturally like a river.
Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss”. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/DebraMoffittAwakeintheWorld
Photos courtesy of Gary Eisinger.