posted by Paolo Volpara
There are days, or better, there are hours when everything seems to click at perfection, when happiness is just here, now.
It was a normal ride for the day, nothing special, just a way to relax on two fast wheels. Itinerary? Done millions of time, good but nothing special. Bike? The usual companion of many outings proven good after years of abuse, nothing unusual. Companion? The old friend who knows by memory the road, the bikes and myself, nothing new. Weather? On the hot side, pleasant and good for riding, standard for Turkey.
As the ride progressed a deep sense of joy was filling mind and body: I felt happy, completed, in harmony. And I was surprised, since such feelings recently have been absent from my biking.
Do not take it wrong: I enjoy every minute on any kind of vehicle called motorcycle, irrelevant of the size, the year, the maker and the model. Like Garfield never met a lasagna he did not like I never met a two-wheeler-with-engine that I did not enjoy.
I like biking but the sensation of this ride was more powerful that anything experienced for long time. Impossible not ask “Why?” when something so touching (on the good or on the bad side) happens: and while joy was filling me, brain was taking a drone view of myself in search for answer.
Examining the self is always hard work especially while moving at considerable (and considerate) speed. This triple act of riding, of enjoying at the top and of asking for reasons or meanings augmented, in a way, my pleasure.
It was almost a schizophrenic experience were two selves live in the same container, one acting (control the ride) one thinking (why am I so happy) and the global-united one having great time.
And in this I found the answer: not so schizophrenic but, on the contrary, deeply united. It was one person (me) doing one thing (riding) thinking one thing (enjoy) oblivious of everything else. It was a moment of unity where past (the way I took the last corner) present (how I keep speed) and future (how will I manage to avoid that car) where simultaneous, it all came compressed in the same time.
The origin of this status was the simple and single task of doing something well for as long as I could keep focus. No distractions, no multitasking, no interruptions, no divagations, no alternatives, no wandering: a simple exercise of the power of a simple activity.
I am sure we can all experience this without riding and polluting the environment and wasting expensive petrol. It happens when we simplify the mind in focus or more clearly when we are in “attention” (the act or state of applying the mind to something).
ATTENTION from the Latin “Attendere” to stretch to. A pre-tech way of focusing including the act of simplifying (make thin).
I had good attention and this was the source of joy: the mind was tense, thin, simple as the air of the mountains we were crossing with no time to look.
Attention is a powerful tool that I tend to forget: too many distractions make the mind thick, browsing from an original subject to an unrelated one. Attention ask for discipline and laziness and to stay focused is subjected to many temptations (mental and sensorial) that make our thoughts vagabonds and vague.When we call ourselves to attention the joy follows and fills the body.
As Baruch Spinoza told us centuries ago: “When the mind regards its own self and its power of activity, it feels pleasure, and the more so the more distinctly it imagines itself and its power of activity”
No bad for few hours on the saddle