More Road Lessons: “Just Peddle, No Push”


“Just peddle, don’t push!” in Road Lesson #3, You Will Meet Angels got a lot of response from readers.   Here’s more on it.

As I rode further on the Icefields Parkway south of Jasper, and away from my meeting with Sanryo Kim, I was filled with joy and delight.  Mr. Kim’s  joyful spirit, moved my own with with a desire for adventure, beauty, and of the possibilities of living in a new way.  He ‘inspired’ me, filled me with a joyful spirit.

As my sister Kathleen said to me recently, I had been living in “a velvet rut.”   Though I have a lovely home and wonderful friends, a golf membership at a prestigious country club, and a job that afforded me anything I wanted, my life had become stale.

I was going through the motions.   I was pushing myself to get my work done, pushing myself to be enthusiastic with my customers, and pushing myself to be content.  Though I reminded myself I was fortunate to have a job, I did not enjoy it.  I was pushing against a powerful current of boredom and it was exhausting.

In cycling, it’s easy to push against the peddles with great effort, to try to reach the destination sooner than later. You go fast for a while, but it’s tiring, not a lot of fun, and you miss things.  However, if you relax the force of the stroke, with attention you can sense the natural effort that is needed to ride along smoothly.   In Zen, this is called ‘right effort.’ It means to live life in the present moment, and to go about things with interior equilibrium.   It’s very helpful on long days of cycling, and especially on long days of life.

Categories Blog Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on January 14, 2013

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  1. by Tim

    On January 14, 2013

    I like it. Zen and the Art of bicycle riding. It could be a book! Well, a different book.

  2. by Patrick O'Connor

    On January 14, 2013

    With apologies to Robert Persig. Thanks Tim.

  3. by Tammy

    On January 19, 2013

    Ah, yes! Life in the present moment means moments of contentedness, of satisfaction, of peace, of knowing that you are exactly where you are meant to be… where God has, with intention, put you.

    I daresay, Pat, that even your life in the “velvet rut” was where God wanted you to be… where He needed you to be. We must remember that God’s timing is perfect and what He puts in our path is deliberate and always worth noticing.

    The picture of you and Mr. Kim oozes of the joy and delight you have written about!

  4. by Patrick O'Connor

    On January 23, 2013

    Thank you Tammy. Your comments are valuable, though I wonder if I was in the “velvet rut” longer than I needed to be. A friend of mine commented that I should have got myself fired and then something would have happened a lot sooner. In retrospect, it worked out perfectly.
    Times of ruts, depression, sadness, can be times of intense growth, though at the time they feel awful. Like a pruned vine, they produce in us a finer fruit: wisdom, insight, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, etc.

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