Meditation in Motion.

Via Mae Sakharov
on Apr 30, 2012
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Bike Riding: Meditation in Motion.

I do not remember when my training wheels were taken off, or even if training wheels existed at the time.

Perhaps one just seamlessly graduates from tricycle to bicycle. I only know that after a bit of practice on my home turf, I took the leap and decided to ride down the hill near the local high school.

Not just any hill, the one where my classmates often stood on the sidelines to watch rider after rider attempt to conquer this formidable obstacle. As I began to brakes on the way down, fear overtook me and I could not face the plummet.

Making the worst of all possible decisions I froze and fell off the bike. It flew down the hill, and both of my knees were bloodied. Humiliated in the face of cruel taunts, I limped home, head in hands, leaving my demolished bicycle behind.

Intrepid warrior that I was, the knee mishap did not deter my desire to successfully master the two-wheeler. My destination became the empty schoolyard early in the morning, before the cacophony of shrill voices filled the air.

Mastering the bicycle became my secret. Several years and a new bicycle later, I began to ride in earnest and experienced how wonderful it was to feel the cool wind, whether I was smiling or in tears.

The bicycle gave me hope.

Perhaps it seems funny and absurd to think a simple machine could have such meaning, but I had found a simple truth: riding was a special meditation in motion that was mine alone.

Alas, my bicycle was stolen and left me without wheels for the first time in many years. Somehow it was difficult to get over this loss, and get back on the saddle.

I actually did have a bike. It was an old three-speed Schwinn that was left in the basement. It remained there, encased in dust for years, until recently with the spring, my curiosity was once again aroused.

Now over 60 years in age, I walked the Schwinn to the local bike shop and found that it indeed could be properly fitted for me to ride.

As if I was taking off the training wheels for the first time, I sat on the bike. It was difficult and I was challenged. Tentative steps, feet on the pedals, I began to ride, each day going a little further. I had not forgotten. Time had not dulled the passion. The meditation began again.

“The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.” ~ Iris Murdoch


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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About Mae Sakharov

Mae Sakharov Ed.D, a graduate of Columbia University opened the first learning center in NY in 1983. Her former life was as an actress, hatcheck girl in Berlin and selling the NY Times on the streets of Paris. She currently has a private practice as a college counselor, is a professor education, animal rescue volunteer and an Urban Zen Integrative Therapist. Her love of Yoga and engaged Buddhism is ingrained and essential.


17 Responses to “Meditation in Motion.”

  1. david says:

    Love the article and the quote at the end.

  2. Jaclyn says:

    This story right down to the Schwinn is what I experienced eight months ago. I am now up to 15 miles a day and loving every moment. During my tour de towpath I meditate, flex and enjoy the nature that surrounds me. That is my trifecta,a winning experience.

  3. Misa Derhy says:

    Great article Mae. I am practicing right now "ironing meditation", but I trust universe the bicycle will come too:)

  4. Beth says:

    I liked the article……'believe' , 'know that you are capable', 'steady as she goes' are the phrases that come to mind. Inspiring. Thank you Mae.

  5. Sil says:

    ! What a sweet story! I will share with some friends who expressed to me how riding is yoga on wheels. 🙂

  6. Jill Barth says:

    Mae, this is lovely. I posted this to the elephant green Facebook page and @mindfulgreen on Twitter.

    Jill Barth, editor elephant green.
    Join us! Like elephant green on Facebook.
    Follow on @mindfulgreen on Twitter.

  7. Sil says:

    Thank you Jill- much appreciated

  8. Diane says:

    {Perfect way to describe a bike. I don't get to ride here, where I live it is all steep hills, but I ride in Fl. all the time, it is so nice & flat. I feel really at peace on my bike, love the wind in my face & I look at everything, every flower, every home, look at people walking their dogs, kids playing, & every night I find something new. It's wonderful there, I ride by the water & see the boats & people fishing, sometimes stop & talk.

  9. Diane says:

    {Perfect way to describe a bike. I don't get to ride here

  10. Zaidee says:

    I love the simplicity of riding a bike too. I haven't done it in ges (I didn't have the guts to ride in NYC when I lived there so it just stopped). I used to go to my neighbors house to ride with the other kids. They had a long round driveway with some cool corners and bumps to hop is one wanted to. I would ride around and around that driveway all day. We never tired of it.

  11. joan says:

    Keep your great articles flowing, love reading them. When I read your latest I could only think how I too loved my bicycle & also my roller-skates ( can't forget my key on an orange shoelace around my neck). Small things were just that but so important never to forget.

  12. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  13. dawn says:

    A local friend and neighbor in a town where bicycles are common but largely unappreciated. With this article I am reminded what a gift I have to ride. My first bike was blue and I wrote on the seat in pink nail polish "Little Bobbie loves Dawn" (my first crush, our neighbor at 7 years old). Thank you, Mae, for reminding me of the simplest gift of balance and peddling one foot in front of the other.

  14. mae says:

    So exciting I cannot wait to see the new Elephant Family and Education Homepage. Onward sharing lots of interesting articles and information.

  15. mario says:

    MaeMae-I too know the joys of riding a bicycle…mine is a towny (they finally figured out a center bar was the ball-buster for men…) it takes me to the local post office and super market, with occasional trips to far away places, I am always conscience of the thrill and how much of a highly personal, intimate journey this mode of transport is..I've added 2 bells, a basket and mini bungji cords for special "finds" along the way…mine is orange, and when I wear my red pants…this 70 year old gets lots of stares…and I secretly like that…much love, yours, in cycling…mario xx

  16. Mae says:

    Gosh may we one day toddle along on the same byways.-much love returned.