How biking in Boston can lead to enlightenment

As I’ve biked around Boston during the last two years, I’ve realized that I must always keep one thing in mind: 99% of the time, people will do exactly what you expect them to do, but 1% of the time they won’t. And that can kill you.

Here are a few dangerous assumptions I’ve made:

“There’s no way that city bus will run a red light; I can definitely go in front of it.”

It turns out city buses do run red lights.

“That truck doesn’t look like it’s turning right; I’ll just sneak up beside it.”

Can you guess what happened? The truck turned right.

“I need to worry about doors opening on the right side, from parked cars.”

That’s true – but I also have to worry about doors opening on the left, from cars in traffic letting people off.

Yesterday, I was happy to learn that by accepting this, I am working on a process of being “awakened.” ¬†One of my teachers, David Vendetti, read from a passage by Iyanla Vanzant:

A time comes in your life when you finally get it … You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are, and that’s OK. …

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it’s not always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process, a sense of safety and security is born of self reliance. You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

Being awakened means realizing that the only thing you can control is your own perception. Once you realize that, you will start to free yourself from your own expectations of other people – and from their expectations of you.

This is something you can practice anywhere – and biking around Boston is a great start. I’m going to pay more attention to my assumptions and continually remind myself: “The only thing I can count on in this situation is my own behavior. I have no control over anything else.”

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3 thoughts on “How biking in Boston can lead to enlightenment

  1. jane says:

    Another possible connection between Boston biking and mindfulness is that bicycling in Boston is so infuriating and scary that it gives you a lot of practice with trying to cultivate inner tranquility. I remember buses in Central Square as especially harrowing.

  2. michele clark says:

    I love your title – also the details. Funny and a very good safety tip.

  3. michele clark says:

    But really, let’s be honest here, isn’t it truly always about me?

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