He who loves his body more than dominion over the empire can be given custody of the empire. –Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque is a good soundtrack for this post.
My body is my first environment. Sometimes I feel guilty for bicycling as if taking care of my body is unimportant. But then I remember my father saying and his father saying if you have your health you have everything. And I find the courage to trust my intuition and this wisdom. And I feel better again about bicycling. Doubts are hard to overcome, and we get too busy.
Creation stories relay with the centrifugal force of myth how humankind was generated from the earth, soil, dust, parts somehow molded like clay into human form. Science traces our composition to elements of the cosmos. People are inseparable from environment. This is why place is so important to us. The bond is mesmerizing but simply real. When we are thirsty we drink a glass of water and replenish with calcium, magnesium, sodium, the minerals that make up the earth, carried in a water solution that washes through our bodies.
When I’m cycling I’m getting direct feedback on how my body is doing, and I can extend this out to get a look at how we are doing in shaping our places. It gives me a local context, the sights, sounds, noise, smells, sensations, sense of place. And I have a reference, knowledge and experience to understand issues on a larger scale.
Seeing things for the first time and getting good feedback changes the way we act. It is part of learning and adapting. We understand how we live in an interconnected closed systems with limits and realize the underlying fragility, and therefore preciousness. And so it is with cycling. I would be foolish to think I can go beyond the limits of my nature, though it is instructive to get a sense of where those limits are. The focus of acting within our limits produces greatness.
When I get worried about the abstract earth, one of the best things I can do is to take good care of my body. This is where it all starts. Eating good foods, respecting my connection to place and society, and the interconnections of my mind, body and spiritual life. I don’t know how it happens but if I listen intently, appreciate life, trust and reflect, my experience teaches me something. I’m still learning. Everyday I try to ride my bike intently. Biking creates a good life.
Credits: Thank you Sansai Studio for the Ikebana Photo