Editor’s Note: this is a guest post by Amanda Christian.
“You can make any human activity into meditation simply by being completely with it and doing it just to do it.”
~ Alan Watts
Rays of sun catching my cheeks, the sounds of my shocks compressing as I soar over rocks and the view of distant mountains through the trees is my description of a sacred moment. And to enter this sacred moment, I often go mountain biking by myself.
I consider it a form of meditation. Sometimes sitting on a fluffy pillow with incense smoke filling the air and my palms open doesn’t feel quite right, but flying down a mountain and over rocks on my bike with the wind in my hair sure does.
I’ve found that mountain biking forces me to be in the present moment. One second of scattered focus in the past or in the future, and before I know it, I’m flying over my handlebars into a tree. Not fun.
My mind simply can’t wander off to my grocery list, what the lady at the bank said to me earlier, or all my future trippin’ thoughts on whether or not the guy will call. Traveling at high speeds downhill requires my devoted attention to the current moment.
And it’s only in the current moment that I can hear the divine guidance coming from the voice for love within me, also known as my Inner Guide.
That’s what makes my time alone on my bike sacred to me. There are very few other activities that really get me out of the fearful craziness that often goes on in my head.
Sometimes when I am done riding, I sit on a log, breathe in the fresh mountain air and open my mind up to new ideas and solutions to things that are bothering me. But occasionally, the bursts of inspiration happen during the ride. I had one of those guided moments the other day and it changed the way I experience joy and gratitude:
I was climbing up the path as I usually do. With sunscreen filled sweat dipping down my face and into my eyes, I finally got to the top, grabbed a sip of water, and geared up for the epic downhill ride ahead of me. I was giddy like a kid standing in-line for cotton candy at the town fair.
I started biking through the trees and hopping over rocks when all of the sudden my body stopped pedaling and my bike rolled to a stop. I heard the thought “slow down” flow through my mind.
I stood over my bike to actually acknowledge that moment. I realized that I was really happy. I mean really happy. I just stood there in the middle of the woods and allowed myself to fully feel the peace and joy in that moment. Gratitude followed.
I remember saying to myself, “Okay, I’m really going to embrace this happiness fully right now”.
This is the first time in my life I actually closed my eyes and fully felt joy.
I felt it because I accepted it.
In that beautiful moment, I expanded my capacity for joy.
I consciously welcomed joy into my life because I knew deep down that I deserved it, just like you do.
What I learned was that I had been rushing through life, just like I was rushing down the mountain bike trail that day.
I thought I was doing a solid job saying affirmations and taking some daily relaxation me-time, but I was still rushing, and as a result, I was feeling dissatisfied and stressed at the end of my day.
I was missing the joy.
Joy is not what we feel when we get something we think we want like a new bike, a promotion, or the cute guy. Joy is found in all those in-between moments that we miss as we are rushing through meals, meetings and bike rides. You feel joy when you choose to, when you stop, breathe and think of all the things you’re grateful for.
Nowadays, I am trying to practice accepting more joy into my life through being in the present moment and slowing down.
Acceptance is key.
I focus in on the idea that I am enough, right now.
The moment I stood over my bike and felt absolutely blissed out, nothing in my external world had changed. I still had bills, work the next day, and laundry to do. But I felt joy because I chose to soak in the joy that was already there. I followed my internal guidance to slow down.
This was such a subtle but profound shift in the way I perceived joy and my ability to welcome it into my life. It’s not outside of you and at the mercy of external things. It’s here and now… always. You choose to soak it in. It’s an unlimited resource for you to tap into.
Where in your life are you rushing? Right now, notice your breath, close your eyes and give yourself permission to feel the joy. An affirmation that I say all the time is:
Then, whether on a mountain bike or a fluffy pillow, bathe in the sacred space you create for yourself.
Amanda Christian is founder of the radical approach to happiness called Spiritual Sweat: A Workout For Your Soul.
Ready to sweat some love? Amanda writes about self-love, out-of-the-box thinking, miracles, and what it means to be “spiritual”.
Over on her site you will find a place to drench yourself in love, intention and strong thoughts. Result: a life beyond your wildest dreams.
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