It’s So Easy To Let It Slide

Fundamental DarknessChallenges we set ourselves can be easy, or they can be hard. Generally speaking, the challenges that are worth setting, take us well out of our comfort zone. So what is the secret of success in such a situation?

Well speaking from my own experience, it is all about confidence and determination. My weight loss ‘regime’, if you can call it that, was set in motion through a determination to get into shape, both physically and in terms of my own self image. Now there is a further challenge, to stay that way for good.

It’s easy to put off till tomorrow, that which you should start today, and to give in today, promising that you will put things right tomorrow. Feelings like that are normal. It is our Fundamental Darkness talking us into wrong thoughts and deeds. The only weapon we have against it, and we all have those thoughts, is our determination to succeed. By imagining that our Dark Passenger,  as I prefer to call it, is actually something outside ourselves, we can mentally argue our case and, through determination, change our actions.

Success is sweet, failure is bitter and the only difference between the two is determination. Any goal, no matter how large or how small, is only unattainable if you lack the determination to go on.

No cause is lost until you decide that it is lost. So ignore, or better still defeat your Fundamental Darkness, have confidence in yourself, be determined, and never, ever give up. In that way, you will always be a winner, will achieve your goals, and be forever tasting that sweet taste of success.

A Pain In The Purbecks

In The SaddleFour of us set off from Wimborne this morning on a fifty mile bimble around Dorset.

Now cycling in a group is fun, we work for each other and try, where possible, to warn the others about the frequent and numerous potholes along the way.

If you ride a bike on UK roads, you’ll know how lovely it can be to find yourself on a stretch of nice smooth new tarmac. The lumps and bumps of our older repaired roads really can rattle your bones, so the new surface is a real treat.

Life is like that too. It’s the lumps and bumps of everyday life that make you realise just how comfortable the smooth untroubled times are. But without the rough times, we would never recognise the comparison and enjoy the easier times all the more.

We all know that as we move through life, it is impossible to stay on the smooth untroubled path. The bumpy times are a simple fact, just as they are out on the road. So when they come along, just be determined, hold on tight, keep pedalling and look forward to the smoother times ahead.

Here’s a record of how we did today … Click Here

Go On, Go For It !!!

Go On, Go For It !!!As I whizz around on my bike, in the lovely Dorset countryside, it seems easy for me to forget that I am in my late fifties.

I don’t feel any older than I did forty years ago, in fact, my stamina is far better now than it was then.

I know that I have been fortunate enough to avoid serious illness, but maybe all this exercise is the cause of that.

Daisaku Ikeda, in his daily encouragement, sees things slightly differently, but the principles are very much the same …

In the twinkling of an eye we grow old. Our physical strength wanes and we begin to suffer various aches and pains.

We practice Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism so that instead of sinking into feelings of sadness, loneliness and regret, we can greet old age with an inner richness and maturity as round and complete as a ripe, golden fruit of autumn.

Faith exists so that we can welcome, smiling and without regrets, an old age that is like a breath-taking sunset whose dazzling rays colour heaven and earth in majestic hues.

So if, like a few of my friends, you are thinking ‘I should really be doing more to stay fit, to look after this aging body, but I just don’t have time … maybe tomorrow’ don’t put it off another day. It’s not all about Buddhist Practice, though I do chant, in time to my breathing, as I cycle my way to wherever.

Here in the UK, we are enjoying a welcome extension to the summer, but it won’t last. So get your bike out, get your running shoes on, get into those speedos (ok, maybe not), but whatever you decide to do, get out in the fresh air, stretch those legs, fill those lungs and make the causes for a longer, fitter, happier life.

P.S.
If you haven’t done any exercise for a while, maybe you should go and talk to your doctor before going nuts and doing some lasting damage. A little wisdom goes a long way.

Nature’s Images

I’ve been out cycling with the boys all morning, surrounded by the beautiful nature of The New Forest, just wonderful. So here is a snippet of wisdom from Nichiren Daishonin, about letting go of worldly desires, and a couple of images from the ride …

New Forest Panorama

Now, if you wish to attain Buddhahood, you have only to lower the banner of your arrogance, cast aside the staff of your anger, and devote yourself exclusively to the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. Worldly fame and profit are mere baubles of your present existence, and arrogance and prejudice are ties that will fetter you in a next one.

~ Nichiren Daishonin

The Boys At Avon Beach

Get Thee Hence Dark Passenger

The Scales Don't LieAs you all know by now, I’ve been on this fitness regime since May last year, and it’s been going really well. I’m keeping my weight around 12 stone and I feel terrific, but it’s so easy to get back into bad habits and undo some of the hard work.

Saturday was a perfect example. Being vegan means giving up bacon, but substitute soya bacon for breakfast was going to be a treat, fried, with brown sauce and all. And it’s all too easy to think, ‘well I’ve had this and that, so I might as well go for it’. Really stupid and a big mistake.

Like most challenges in life, it’s far more difficult to stick to the goal than it is to ignore it and let your urges take over. Sadly the scales don’t lie, and I know it wasn’t the bacon butties that caused all the trouble. One way I have stayed on course is by not having temptations in the house. But Scully’s place is full of goodies. Wine, mayonnaise, bread, peanuts, the list is almost endless, and although they are all vegan, they aren’t necessarily all that healthy or slimming.

It’s so much easier, and in some respects more pleasant to put weight on than it is to get it off. But the worst feeling of all is to lose it, and then put it back on when you know that you let your fundamental darkness take control. Double the pain, knowing that there is a chink in your determination, and that it really wasn’t worth all the angst. So get thee hence Dark Passenger. I’m off out cycling round the New Forest tomorrow with the boys, to have a good workout and burn all those stupid calories off again.

Through Different Eyes

Through Different EyesDo you remember the day you mastered the art of riding a bicycle? Of course you do. For me, it was the culmination of a rather lengthy, and very frustrating process, and but for the perseverance  of my father, I might never have learned at all.

I just couldn’t seem to get it. It looked so simple, but the harder I tried, the worse I got. Then suddenly it clicked, I had it nailed, and from that day on I have been able to ride a bike.

Ok, so it’s no huge revelation, but I think learning about Buddhism is a bit like learning to ride a bike.

As you learn, about The Oneness of Self and the Universe, about Karma, about Life-Energy or The Ten Worlds, you also learn to see yourself, life and the Universe in a different way. And just in the way that having learned to ride a bicycle, you never unlearn the skill, once you learn to see the world through different eyes, you never unlearn that either.

Deep in my heart, I know that I am different for having Buddhism at the centre of my life. Some people have noticed that change, others ask what has changed and how I know that it’s a real change, not just a fad, or ‘a phase I’m going through’.

Well as I say, once you see the world differently, you just can’t un-see it that way. It’s a wonderful change, and I’m very confident, not to say delighted, that it’s a permanent change.

Giving It Everything

Cycling HeavenFor all I know, Daisaku Ikeda may well be a keen cyclist, but whatever his interest, these thoughts sum up exactly why we push ourselves till it hurts on an all too frequent basis …

People shouldn’t hesitate to exert their all, in a way true to themselves. How can you possibly ever know how far or fast you can go if you’ve never run all-out? To give up before you’ve even tried is actually arrogance – an affront to the wondrous power of life within you and disrespectful to yourself.

There may be times when others seem enviable. But others are others, and you are you. Rather than comparing your joys and sorrows to those of others, you should aim to surpass your limits in the situation you are in right now. Those who can do this are the true victors in life.

Now who’s up for a 75km ride tonight, that’ll put me on just over 1000km for the month of June.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Avoiding The Potholes

In The SaddleFive of us set off from Whitecliff Park this morning, determined to have fun cycling a 50 mile circuit that Ben had set for us.

Cycling in a group is fun, we work for each other and try, where possible, to warn the others about the frequent and numerous potholes along the way.

If you ride a bike on UK roads, you’ll know how lovely it can be to find yourself on a stretch of nice smooth new tarmac. The lumps and bumps of our older repaired roads really can rattle your bones, so the new surface is a real treat.

Life is like that too. It’s the lumps and bumps of everyday life that make you realise just how comfortable the smooth untroubled times are. But without the rough times, we would never recognise the comparison and enjoy the easier times all the more.

We all know that as we move through life, it is impossible to stay on the smooth untroubled path. The bumpy times are a simple fact, just as they are out on the road. So when they come along, just be determined, hold on tight, keep pedalling and look forward to the smoother times ahead.

Here’s a record of how we did today … Click Here

Nature Is Sacred

Cycling Through NatureHaving cycled over 200km this weekend, much of it in glorious countryside, it really makes you appreciate the beauty of nature.

It also lets you see how human beings have stamped their mark on the natural order of things.

To be fair, if they didn’t, I wouldn’t have anywhere to ride my road bike, but there are times when we seem to ignore the natural flow of nature, and plough a furrow straight through the middle of it.

Every single thing in existence is worthy of supreme reverence. Nature is not something for human beings to exploit as they see fit, solely for their own interests.

Both nature and humanity are part – and at the same time complete expressions -of the life of the universe. To destroy the natural world is to destroy human life.

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off …

Clipless PedalsAs one who is yet to completely master the pitfalls of clip-less pedals, this wisdom from Sensei struck a resonant chord …

Anyone who has ever made a resolution discovers that the strength of that determination fades in time.

The moment you feel that is when you should make a fresh determination. Tell yourself, “OK! I will start again from now!”

If you fall down seven times, get up an eighth.

Don’t give up when you feel discouraged—just pick yourself up and renew your determination each time.

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