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The world appears more interesting when you live more than half way to the pole. Different voices too.
"I discovered the Theory of Relativity while riding a bicycle." ~ Albert Einstein ~

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Sunday, February 29, 2004

I never thought about it like this, but this bicycle metaphor is closer than most descriptions of the mental and spiritual aspects of bicyle riding.

Imagine the Tao as the sport and hobby of bicycle riding. Think of Tao cultivation as learning how to ride a bike. Both activities absolutely require direct experience. If you want to learn how to ride, you must hop on a bicycle and just do it. There is no other way. You can talk about how to ride a bike all you want, but until you put your hands on the handlebar and set your butt on the seat and try to move forward, you simply won't know what it feels like. Talking about it - with mere words - will never give you the skill.

Cultivating the Tao is just like that. You simply must live it. There is no other way. We can talk about the Tao until we're blue in the face and that still won't grant you the true understanding. That is why we say the Tao is beyond words. Its basis is a feeling you must experience for yourself. No one else can do it for you or describe it to you completely.

So, the bottom line is that no amount of talking and explaining will replace actual practice on an actual bike. The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternally unchanging, constant Tao. Now here's the crucial question: Does that mean we can't or shouldn't talk about bicycle riding?

This is an excerpt from Tao Living: The bike path by Derek Lin. I encourage you to read the whole article. On second thought, just ride.


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