Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Big 42!

For one reason or another, this post was somewhat difficult to start. So, why not start with the number 42. According to Douglas Adams, in his iconoclastic, and throughly humorous novel, Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the number 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.

Well, this year, I celebrated my forty second birthday. Now, with most people, this is just a sign that one is into 'middle age.' Strangely enough, this means something else to me. Specifically because of the day I turned 42. You see, I turned 42 on April 2. 4/2. 42 on 4/2. Interesting, eh? This only happens to people born on April 2nd, of a year ending in 66. So, one day every 100 years.

What does that have to do with motorcycles, or just about anything? Nothing really, just a way to start this post.

Here is a story about attaining spiritual enlightenment. This is likely paraphrased and bastardized, but the spirit and root of the story remains...

A young student of Zen asks his master, "Master, if I study two hours every day, how long will it take before I attain enlightenment?"

"Four years," he replies.

"But Master, what if I study four hours every day?"

"Eight years," replies the master.

The student is now becoming slightly agitated. "Master, what if I study hard every day for ten hours? What then?"

The master smiles. "Then you will likely never reach enlightenment."
That story explains to me, why "searching for myself" is a worthless pursuit. The more energy put into such an effort will merely move my goal farther away. I did not go to the Laughlin River Run to search for something. I went to experience something new. And I did. And I didn't like it. As comfortable as I am on my bike, riding a lonesome road, is just how uncomfortable I was at the bike rally.

If I would have simply bypassed the rally and continued to ride through the Colorado River valley, into the farming area, in one respect, I would have been happier. But I didn't. I stopped. But I am happy for having the experience, even if it was not a pleasurable one. I suppose, a persons' happiness is as beauty; it is in the eye of the beholder.

That brings me to alfalfa. The plant, not the character in the old black and white serial, "Little Rascals." Alfalfa, for those who don't know, is a forage crop. In layman's terms, it is hay. Cows and horses and other animals eat it.

You never see alfalfa growing in the desert or a forest. It simply cannot survive unaided in these environments. The farms I rode by on my motorcycle this weekend were indeed a respite for my soul, but the green alfalfa fields were aided; irrigated with water from the Colorado River. Without that aid the plants simply could not survive.

Perhaps it is the same with people. Some are taken or willingly remove themselves from an environment they thrive in, and end up in a place that they cannot thrive. They need irrigation to survive. Is that living or merely life support? The alfalfa is irrigated and grown to the benefit of the farmer. Perhaps it is the same with people.

Searching for ones' self in a life support environment is as counter to attaining the goal, as the proverbial student mentioned above, studying harder and harder. One should not search for themselves, one should search for an environment wherein they thrive. Then their true selves will become apparent.

Ride safe-

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