Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

meditation has been explained twice to me, in different terms.

one of my university teachers described it as a moment of total blankness, where your mind lets go of everything. as an example, she used tripping on a rock. the split second where your foot hits the rock and you start falling, that second where you go blank, well, that’s meditation right there.

the second explanation came from a monk in Laos. he said that you always have to be aware of what you are doing. for example, right now, i am sitting down, typing, breathing, thinking, am pretty contempt and are not hungry. he said that at every moment of your life you should be aware of yourself. to me, that’s much easier to do.

sitting on a motorcycle in Mui Né, i might have done some pretty good meditating. i sat there and i thought, everything around me is perfect. the sky, the clouds, the light, the sand dunes, the sea, the grass, the sacred cows. the wind in my hair, the warmth of the air. perfect happiness. i am happy. i am sitting. i am comfortable. i didn’t want it to end.

until a bug hit me in the face. at that speed, it really hurts. then you think: “if we fall, we die”.

this may seem tragic or extreme. but in the moment of pure happiness, i didn’t care. i placed my trust in the God of the road (you have to, in Vietnam) and went with it. comfort, beauty, happiness.

pure and simple.

bikes get past us. i think, this speed is perfect. i peek over my drivers shoulder.

60 km/h.

if we fall, we die.

there’s a hill, we’re going down. she shuts of the engine. gravity does it’s work. and all i want to do is that stupid “titanic” pose.

really, i feel like I’m free.

I’m happy.

if we fall, we die.

but for once, on the back of a motorcycle, i let go. i give in, i stop fighting the bike.

for once I’m no longer afraid.


About Magalie

Canadian girl living in Texas, off to see the world when she can!
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