by Liz Jansen
Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, on purpose and without judgment. It’s usually associated with meditation, closed eyes and deep breathing.
When you ride, you are alone with your thoughts. The focus it requires means clearing your mind of extraneous clutter, staying alert and being open to signs that make your journey safe, energizing and joyful.
9 Aids to Mindfulness
- Road Signs. Heeding signs tell you to stop, change your speed or warn you of a change in conditions. Intuition tells you the same thing as it’s guiding you. It’s trying to keep you safe. Listen to it.
- Weather. Taking note of environmental conditions helps you prepare for your ride. A weather forecast tells you what to expect outside – i.e. hot, cold, wind or rain, and whether it’s likely to change during the day. Checking your personal environment prepares you for your day at work, school or home.
- Others. Others aren’t always thinking of you, yet their choices can affect you. A proficient motorcycle rider pays attention to non-verbal cues from drivers, such as lane changes or movement within a lane, movement of the front tire and body language. Drivers can look right at you and still not see you. Learning to anticipate their moves keeps you safe. In your personal and work environment, learn to recognize behaviors of others that can influence your path.
- Road conditions. Eyes, ears and sensations felt through the motorcycle provide information on road surfaces so you can adjust your riding style appropriately. There are signs on your life’s Road as well, guiding you to safety. The trick is being receptive and taking appropriate action when you sense them.
- Body. Pain and discomfort are calls for attention and divert energy from what you’re doing. Whether the discomfort originates from a physical, emotional or spiritual source, tend to it. Rest, change your position or adjusting your load so you can move on in peace.
- Senses. Anyone who rides a motorcycle knows how vivid the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations are. And how moving through space intensifies them. Your senses are constantly giving you data on which you base your actions. They’re also bringing you into the now, where nothing except the present moment matters.
- Motorcycle. Motorcycle riders are vulnerable. Only two small contact patches of rubber connect you with the road. When something feels, sounds or looks not right, you check it out, assess the risk and take appropriate action before continuing. Awareness of your fragility and your strengths keeps you safe on the road – and in life.
- Nature. Any rider will tell you riding outside of urban areas is a spiritual experience. Traverse the mountains, cross the plains, pass through a forest or alongside the ocean and you can’t miss the connection to the universe. You are in the present moment and more alive than at any other time of life.
- Intuition. Although it’s always speaking and guiding you to what’s best, it’s not always heard. Ignoring it or allowing in too much clutter can make it hard to hear, but it is never silenced.
Clearing your mind and making space for these inputs brings you to the beauty of present moment. Whether that happens while you’re riding your motorcycle or managing your career, you’ll be at a place that will inspire, spark creativity and rejuvenate.
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