Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meditation

Dear Mark

I've been feeling stressed and a little unfocused these last few months. I have been trying to figure out why and what I can do to counter it. I looked at my daily coffee cup and asked "are you, and your 4-6 friends that I drink every day, responsible for my stress and lack of focus?" I looked at all video inputs. I gathered them in the TV room (because he refuses to get off the wall) and as I looked at the phone and various tablet devices said "are you to blame for me being at my wits end and scatter-brainness (yes I invent words when I'm tired)?!" I asked Lavi and she told me to figure it out and that she had bigger issues, then went back to calmly reading her book and ignoring me.

Racing ahead to the end of the story but not revealing the point of my writing yet, I think there were a lot of little things. I've already made a lot of improvement in 2013 and my stress level is down. This was not so much about stating that I was stressed, but (there it is again) more about one thing I discovered as I searched for the answer.

As I sat stressed out and unfocused, no less than 3 different individuals asked if I meditated. Do I meditate? No, not really. I mean I don't sit cross-legged and hum to myself. I hum to myself while walking, or talking or writing.. or... well I do that a lot but I don't call it meditating. I call it aggravating because I can't get that song out of my head. I began to think about it. Do I meditate? Have I ever meditated? I found myself feeling that I needed to think about what meditation was.

Tangent: referring back to my spelling post. I've already caught 3 mistakes of "meditate" written as "mediate." Now that would have Mom slapping her sides in laughter don't you think? But I digress in sarcasm again.

As I puzzled over the meaning of what it was to meditate I was reading an article a friend sent me called "why we need more research into cycling and brain science." Now at first I thought of course. We cyclist are a naturally very smart group and we should be studied. Then I thought, oh wait maybe they mean we should be studied because individuals who willing dress in tight lycra, train crazy hours, shave their legs and attempt to gain speed that only cheetahs and sport cars are capable of are down right loonies. But then I read the article and it discussed how the affect of bike riding has been seen to add focus and attention.

It struck me what has been missing these last few months, I have not been bike commuting nearly as much (if at all) as I did in years past. Now I know I have legitimate reasons and my commuting accolades are massive (and unaided by sports enhancing drugs), so I'm not down on myself (disclaimer to those that would rush to talk to me... I'm okay). Bike commuting offered me decompression from the day, exercise and a sense of doing something good (less carbon, car trips, etc.).



I thought more about it and realized my meditation was on the bike. I just haven't had that in a while. I haven't been commuting by bicycle lately and when I do (in the warmer months) it is with Jack. Now cycling with Jack is another whole level of decompression, but what I'm talking about is the time in my head, letting go of the day and subconsciously solving problems. I recall times commuting home when I won't remember parts of the ride. At first it would make me not want to tell Mom for fear of a lecture based on worry. Then I would remember the ride but just having been in a, for lack of better words, zen like state.

I get this some times when I go for a solo run. I think cycling though really brings a level of focus. Maybe it is just the exercise endorphins. Whatever it is I want to get it back. I think meditating might be not only good for me, but necessary.

On your left, reflectively,

Jeff

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