A drive for self-awareness and a mechanical heartbeat inextricably bind rider and machine. Sadly, motorcycle maintenance’s perception as overly complicated provides an excuse to hand it all off to technicians. This aversion to becoming more aware of what goes on behind the covers precludes exposure to wisdom readily accessible to those who dare pick up a tool.
Yet taking even a remote interest in it by tending to routine tasks, like checking tires, drive chains, cables, brake pads, replacing bulbs or even changing engine oil can provoke surprising personal insights.
9 lessons on self-awareness
- Power. A motorcycle has a central source of power – i.e. it’s engine – upon which it depends to function. All other parts either support this function or derive strength from its output. Your spirit is your lifeblood, housed in your physical body. Keeping your body healthy is necessary for it to fulfill its purpose.
- Methodical monitoring. By routinely and regularly checking your bike, you learn to detect early warning signs before they become a problem. The same is true for you. By getting to know your self, observing for wear and listening for unusual signs, you can address the situation before it threatens your safety and well-being.
- System. Many systems comprise the one system that is your bike: fuel, electrical, suspension, etc. Each is logically constructed for a specific function. While it’s easy to draw the comparison to body systems, the lesson extends to the mind, body, spirit connection and the collective community beyond yourself.
- Specialization. Each system has within it many parts, each contributing a vital function. Again, whether this is viewed on the individual, spiritual or communal level, unique skills come together in unimaginable ways to serve the good of the whole.
- Art and Science. Mathematically engineered parts with microscopic tolerances achieve strength, function and esthetics with a minimum of materials and resources., Miraculously, it all comes together when a spark is ignited, whether we’re talking man or machine.
- Distinct purpose. Each part, each system, indeed the entire motorcycle was built for a specific purpose, to serve the specific interests of the rider. You’re bombarded with many choices and possibilities for your life’s path. Ultimately, you’re here for a specific role that only you can fill.
- Focus. There’s only one thing a motorcycle wants to do and that’s be a motorcycle. Once you discover your passion, strengths and interests, being authentic is the only means to sustainable joy and fulfillment.
- Greater purpose. As magnificent a machine as the motorcycle is, it requires a relationship beyond with itself to be of service. Similarly, humans need each other to survive and thrive.
- Beauty. Few would argue that a finely crafted motorcycle is not a thing of mystical beauty. Art, science, creativity, passion, elements of earth come together to produce an extraordinary machine, capable of transporting its rider to places of freedom, joy and connection to the Universe. How much more beautiful are you, perfectly assembled for your purpose and connected to all other beings by a common spirit?
It doesn’t take much attention before you begin to develop an awareness and appreciation for the intricacy of your bike and the perfection with which it was conceived, designed and manufactured. Or the necessity for caring for it with love and respect.
If these are the lessons from motorcycles, consider how powerful they are when applied to Self. Like learning even basic maintenance, developing self-awareness takes courage, openness and patience.