I recently started riding a manual-transmission motorcycle, switching from the previous automatic-transmission scooter. The motorcycle has no place to carry luggage, is heavy and long, sounds like a tractor than a motorcycle (I named it Tract-One) and the biggest of all is, it is slower than the tiniest scooter you can buy in a second-hand shop.
It still has two virtues. One is its motor-esque look (let’s skip that part) and the other is what I call the “sweet spot.” When the right gear is combined with the right speed on the right road condition in the right weather (a space shuttle launch contains fewer restrictions, I suppose), the motorcycle creates a comfortable and steady motion that makes me want to stay in it for as long as I can. Even the puny tractor sound turns into a nice BGM.
I cruise without thinking. That is what the motorcycle has been born to do (the only reason, I suspect). On the other hand, my previous scooter had no spot. It just accelerated or deaccelerated in linear motion. It was easy, cheap, convenient, fast, and even fun, but it did not make me wanted to just stay on it.
During my extended stay in Tainan this month, I am living in a kick-ass guest apartment. Every morning I sit on a couch facing the large front window, write while watching the sun goes up and the students in the neighbor school warming up to their exercises. Almost everything is sedentary and tranquil. But the whole atmosphere is wrapped in invisible flow. I just want to be part of the picture that carries me along. As with the motorcycle, I want to stay in it for as long as I can.
We all want to find those “spots” in our life, starting with our loved ones. We want places or people or products that automatically activates the engine inside us. We just need to be together, and the magic happens inside us.
The question is How. How do we get to find such places/people/products that stops and moves us at the same time, puts us into the meditative bliss?
I read advice online and offline. Some say we should change the way we think and react in our current environment. But we do know that the best way to get out of an abusive work/life is to literally get out of it. Yet we all know that we might be repeating the escape ritual for our lifetime and oftentimes the abusive ones are ourselves. So, should we stay or not? Is it a matter of changing our mindset or our physical environment?
I remember my agony when I was constantly doing this stay-or-not struggle over a career or a person or a country. In every case, I never got a clear solution. When I was battling inside my head, both sides tried to out-voice the other, resulting in mental noises covering all over me. In the end I couldn’t even decide whether I was hungry or not because my brain did not have the capacity to process body signals, which were all buried under the noises.
I used up all my mental energy, exhausted and desperate for seeing no way out, and sat down on the couch, feeling the weight of my body, both physically and mentally.
Only then some hints started to flow in, slowly and weakly, similar to a timid child peeking into his dad’s room, hoping he is not angry any more. Those ideas existed before, but I somehow always rejected them outright because they did not fit into my “plans.” The only reason I let them come in was because I was too tired to resist.
And yes, it was always those weak thoughts that led to breakthroughs. I moved my fingers, first to note them down, then moved my ass out of the couch to take a bite, and from then on it was automatic cruising.
Of course my ego took over and made up a beautiful false story that somehow I carried that magical solution all along, but looking back I see that none of the ideas that worked really well started strongly.
Hopefully I do not resist listening any more. That saves tremendous energy and time.