The Middle Way
Zen Spot #103 -- Mindfulness, meditation, precision and the deluge of the peleton February 17, 2018 00:05
The peleton is that swarm of riders bunched together in the middle of a long distance bicycle race. It is, at once, a cohesive unit on a mission -- like fighter jets flying in formation, inches between wingtips -- and a free-for-all of adjustment and individuality stalked by violence. Road obstacles, rider mistakes and mechanical breakdowns result in broken bones, torn joints, concussions and skin removed from large portions of the body.
Too, it is elegant. And efficient. And poetic. During the Tour de France, along any flat stretch of road on a hot summer day, the peleton moves quickly and cleanly. Riders, topping 40 mph for periods of time, listen only to their hearts beating and the hum of spinning wheels.
Concentrating on the position of the jets flying on each side, those in the middle of the peleton require much less effort to maintain their speed, experiencing a white noise that is almost silence. Clarity of mind is always nearby, kneeling in a temple of entropy.
Technology allows coaches the ability to look inside a rider’s body -- and almost his mind -- instantly measuring performance in wattage.
To know that spots of such profound concentration exist as a doorway to mindfulness instills envy, moving me away from the path to enlightenment. The gift of athleticism, too, bestows upon the athletes an intriguing access to agony that acts like an interdependent counterbalance to the whir.
I have work to do. Watts and watts of work.