Lighter. Faster. Stronger. Sleeker. Buying new bike shit won’t Fend off the Reaper.
I love thinking about new bike parts: what they’ll be like to own, how they’ll impact my riding, what I’ll say to friends about them. After researching one for days or weeks, while carefully weighing my options, my tension releases once I finally place the order.
Within zero time, my mind adds more fret-worthy thoughts: Will it be delayed in transit? Will it arrive damaged? Did I order the correct model and size? Will it be a piece of shit and fail to deliver on its advertising promises? So much always remains unknown.
Several days later, the part arrives. I tear open the packaging, marvel at its brand-spanking craftsmanship, grab my tools, and attach it to my bike. Oh, how I can’t wait to get in a long ride and really test it out.
Once the weekend rolls around, so do I. Most of my 50-miler is spent getting used to the part, appreciating its addition to my setup—and thinking about how another piece I researched would complement this one perfectly. Or, maybe how I should have bought a different part instead.
The process begins anew.
In Buddhism, the term dukkha refers to the cycle—no pun intended—of suffering caused by our desires and attachments. When we view the world from this perspective, in one way or another, we’re caught in a rhythm of remembering the past and fretting about the future.
As Eckhart Tolle warns, “People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.” By maintaining consciousness in these nonexistent states, we exist only in a dream world.
Goddamn, those shots of serotonin feel amaze-balls, amirite? The ones when we succeed (e.g., buy a new part, install it on a bike, receive a compliment from a friend, etc.)? But Jesus Christ on a cracker, when we fail (e.g., buy the wrong part, learn it doesn’t work, etc.) the cortisol released by our brain makes us feel like shit, doesn’t it?
Do you know what’ll make everything better? Buying something new!
Another name for these repeating high-and-low cycles? Addiction. We have trained our minds to live in a dreamworld of addiction.
The good news is that we can foster the skill of mindfulness through regular meditation.