The Zen Buddhist concept of “How a person does any one thing, is how a person does everything” was something I understood intellectually.
I knew it could change my life if only I could find a way to put it into action.
I had been aware that a lot of my habits in life were just plain bad. They were making me more anxious and depressed than I already was.
When I was 10 years old, I stopped my mentally ill mother from committing suicide, and from then on, I was in a constant state of fight or flight.
Childhood trauma and clinical depression led me to develop bad habits. Depression always seemed to lead to impulsiveness, which only led to more anxiety and depression. It was a vicious cycle that inevitably compounded a lack of faith in myself. I would change my habits for a short period of time but just couldn’t figure out how to make the good ones stick.
I recently got my motorcycle license. I ride a 2017 Kawasaki KX85 dirt bike, and a 2021 Zero S Electric street bike.
When I first started to learn how to ride, I realized my old habit of just “winging it” was not going to work. So I came up with some new ones that I wanted to develop in order to be able to ride.
I soon started noticing little changes in my behavior in other areas of my life.
It wasn’t the motorcycle that changed my life. Rather, it was what I needed to change in myself in order to successfully learn how to ride it that was life-changing.
Here are a few tips I developed that I like to refer to as,
“The 10 Zen Principles of Good Motorcycle Riding Habits”:
1. Respond to situations, instead of reacting.
2. Look in the direction you want to go, not where you don’t want to go.
3. Practice mindfulness, focusing on what you’re doing when you’re doing it, and in the correct order.
4. Understand and respect your own limitations, and set your own pace.
5. Be prepared and think and plan ahead.
6. If you fall, get back up.
7. If you break something, fix it.
8. If you don’t know something, learn.
9. Practice good habits often and commit yourself to the process.
10. Enjoy the ride.
It isn’t just the temporary rush of a good ride on a motorcycle that can be life-changing. Try applying the habits I practice on my motorcycle in other areas of your life.
Maybe you will start noticing a real change and inner peace, like me.