I have never been trained to meditate, in fact I'm not even sure if I know what meditation is. Kat has suggested I read a bit about it, but I think I'd prefer to interpret it my own way because I'm pretty certain that I've been in a meditative state hundreds of times.
Why? It's because I ride a bike.
My wheels are whirring, an oddly relaxing white noise increases in volume in my ears, I am only vaguely aware of the snap of my gears as I change my speed. The rain drops pitter patter on my skin, the sun gently warms me, the wind rustles the hair on my arms. Tones of nature, green and brown flash by me, before me is a strong contrast between the sky and the earth and then, a tunnel vision slowly closes in as I look forward.
I feel weightless. Nor does anything weigh on my mind, I am not thinking about anything. There is so much scenery, different vistas evolving in and out and through me, flashing past me, but I can't focus on anything. I have completely forgotten what had happened earlier this day. It is at this point that I suspect I am close to, or at the point of the conscious relaxation that is meditation.
Being alone and riding at or above my threshold; pushing myself until feeling a bit of pain and discomfort, compliment my own preferred path of cycle mediation.
It is during those perfect times of solitary existance, when I am by myself (which can be achieved even when riding behind or in front of someone else) that I am at one with my bike, no distractions. I am bigger and smaller and irrelevant to the magnitude of the universe and the nothingness is clean and comforting. I am open only to myself.
The ache experienced from increasing the lactic build-up in my legs, from utilising every microscopic cavity in my lungs, from having my heart beat itself right out of my chest, restricts my thoughts and brain space to virtually nothing. The harder I pedal, the more my brain cuts off ties to reality. All my brain is thinking now is whether I can endure this bodily disquiet any more.
No longer do I entertain thoughts of hunger or returning emails, I can't pale into significance because the universe is just so big, I sever ties with my determination to discover what the secret to happiness is. My existence is stripped to just one sensation. I am cycling.
When I stop, my other senses show their colour; slowly but surely the world reveals itself. I first notice my breathing, harsh inhale and exhale, trying to play catch up, then my tunnel vision opens wider by the second, unfolding the world around me until I have vision as vast as the widest chasm. I can see my bike, the pavement, the grass, the trees and the little house on the hill. I can hear my wheels whirring and the birds singing. I can feel the sun, the rain, the wind. I can smell the fresh country air, the blossoming flowers, the pungent flavour of my location. My mind is then able to focus on that email, or start all over again on solving the secret to happiness.
Most important of all I've tricked my mind into forgetting the significance of anything I am not confident to do, I have allowed myself peace enough not to be afraid of anything I am disheartened by, and I refuse not to be troubled by anything I am disappointed about. My mind only has happy and positive thoughts inside, ready to combat any situation.
My limited knowledge of meditation informs me that people can practise it in many different ways. Some people shout at the top of their lungs to release anger, some people float in a pool of holy water in silence, some people chant repetitive low frequency sounds in their place of worship. My way of achieving serene internal stillness is by keeping my wheels in motion. Cycling and meditating.