Mindfulness Cycling 4/14

The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Awareness of Suffering

This is something that I’m super aware of.

“We will do our best not to run away from our own suffering or cover it up through consumption but practice conscious breathing and walking to look deeply into the roots of our suffering.”

I so love this one.

I’d argue that in addition to consumption of alcohol and other things, we also use our anger to run away from our suffering.

Blaming another person, even if they did something wrong, ultimately gets us off the hook from our own responsibility.

Does this mean that we should not look for justice? No, I’d argue that we should look for justice, but that’s not the point of this practice.

I covered this earlier, but activism (working on the outside world) is one thing and practice is another (working on our inside world). I feel that we must focus on both worlds. If anything, we work on our outside world for other people.

But there’s a time for going after criminal motorists and the like and a time to work on our internal suffering. I think that this training is focused on inside suffering.

I also would add to breathing and walking, cycling. I do a lot of good thinking on my bicycle as well as good meditations.

“We know we can only find the path leading to the transformation of suffering when we understand the roots of suffering.”

According to the Buddhist practice, clinging is the root of suffering. I have found, recently, that one thing I cling to very much is the notion of fairness on the road. I been working on tossing out that notion while I’m actually riding.

Obviously, we are all still committed to justice, but in the very act of riding, I am trying not to question a motorist’s actions. For example, was it fair that they passed so fast?

In their mind, YES, it was fair. So it’s ridiculous to try to micro-manage other people’s actions. I just have to worry about my own.

Also, I am using the double column technique from _Feeling Good_ which uses empathy to dispel anger. On one column I write down angry thoughts against the motorist. On the other, I write down my responses from the motorist’s point of view. Also, reading interviews and talking to motorists also shows that they have a kind, compassionate, and fair point of view. However, they don’t realize how scary they are when they try to impose this notion of fairness on people while riding in a huge missile.

They don’t know, but they _should_ know. The key word here is “should” which to me, thanks to reading Albert Ellis is a big red flag. Should Statements usually lead to anger and depression when they are unquestioned and automatic. In nature, there’s no reason why anyone should or should not do anything.

“Once we have understood our own suffering, we will be able to understand the suffering of others.”

I loved this part because it’s so true. Motorists suffer so much in so many ways. I won’t itemize them here, but there’s a lot of pain there.

“We are committed to finding ways, including personal contact and using the telephone, electronic, audiovisual, and other means to be with those who suffer, so we can help them transform their suffering into compassion, peace and joy.”

I see that there’s no notion of the middle finger on this list. 🙂

In general, the thing I do for these people is to leave them alone.

Again, I’m not an emotional super-hero, but some of these phrases and techniques have helped me deal with a lot of my own internal pain and they have made my riding more enjoyable.

It just keeps getting better!


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