In the past couple of months since deciding to become a motorsports athlete (!) I’ve been struck time and again how driving a motorcycle brings my attention to the spiritual path.
The first lesson from the bike is balance, which I wrote about from a physical perspective in an earlier post. When driving a motorcycle, if you don’t lean and bend at the appropriate times and angles, you will crash; and if you bend and lean when you should be upright you’ll achieve the same end.
In life, even the most wholesome foods eaten in excess will backfire.
Justice must be balanced with mercy and mercy with justice.
Life is a balancing act.
This scripture in my Faith about balance also applies:
…whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence. — Bahá’u’lláh
Although it’s sometimes hard to remember, every motorcyclist has been given this driving mantra: “EYES UP”. By this, a cyclist is reminded that where the head is turned the bike will turn; where the eyes are looking the bike will arrive.
Like many spiritual truths, this is easier to accept in principle than to practice in daily life.
Driving my motorcycle home from a lovely day on Morrow Mountain with other cyclists yesterday, the skies broke open and poured rain. Just ten miles from our final destination I fell into a fixation with a turn involving a sloppy shoulder and a mud puddle. Not looking THROUGH the turn to the road ahead, I kept my eye on that puddle (as if it would move!) and before I knew it I was in the puddle and then down on the ground.
Author Stephen Covey made his fortune reminding people to “begin with the end in mind.” So true and yet so elusive in moments of crisis.
Do ye not look upon the beginning of the affairs; attach your hearts to the ends and results. The present period is like unto the sowing time. Undoubtedly it is impregnated with perils and difficulties, but in the future many a harvest shall be gathered and benefits and results will become apparent. When one considers the issue and the end, exhaustless joy and happiness will dawn. — ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
For the record, I’ve been told, I’ve read, I’ve seen video, and I believe the EYES UP method of driving. More than once I’ve lapsed in the EYES UP practice and things worked out fine.
But beware. Just because you “get away” with a bad habit doesn’t mean it’s become a good one. This is the importance of corrective feedback, which I got in spades yesterday. The tumble I took with the bike resulted in a broken shifter peg, broken blinker, bent left handle and a nasty bruise on my knee. The repair bills and recovery time will give me feedback on EYES UP for a while.
Everything of importance in this world demands the close attention of its seeker. The one in pursuit of anything must undergo difficulties and hardships until the object in view is attained and the great success is obtained. This is the case of things pertaining to the world. How much higher is that which concerns the Supreme Concourse! That Cause involves every favor, glory and eternal bliss in the world of God. The seeker after the great guidance and eternal happiness necessarily will encounter difficulties. He must be patient under such circumstances. The chosen believers of the past quaffed the chalice of suffering and sank deep in the ocean of trials until they attained to that blessed station and sublime beatitude. — ‘Abdu’l-Bahá