Author D. H. Hickman, in a Brevity Blog, writes about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, first published in 1974. She admits that she doesn’t like motorcycles – and calls them “an annoying piece of thunderous metal.” But when she re-read the book, in silence and slow time, she captured a sense of what the author, Robert M Pirsig, was getting at as he rode west from Minneapolis toward California with his 11 year old son through the haunting and wide-open lands of South Dakota.
She notes how Pirsig depicted “The psychic impact of space and empty roads, noting he felt ‘lulled’ by tranquil thoughts of ‘wind sweeping . . . across open fields of the prairie.”
The process of slow reading, like slow, deep-breathing yoga, or long meditative rides on a bike, are “a creative, surprisingly effective, way to row against the fierce current of trends, the monotonous rush to get somewhere, and the exhausting promotion of _______ . . . ” You and I can fill in the blank.
We worship speed only to become frayed. We strive for efficiency only to become inhuman(e).
Bikers looking to engage the brain might check out this book. Hickman describes that she read it a few pages at a time. Maybe that’s something that will work for you and work for me. Motorcycling at ease, moving and breathing at ease, how about Zen and the art of life maintenance. It’s about being at ease.