Sep 10, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

That was a wonderful share Griff! I could totally see me being the whack a mole “there I go oops there I go”

That was great - thank You!

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You're welcome, Renee.

My interpretation of "oops there I go" is a gentle feather tap like in the animation. You think it's more whack a mole, ie, harsh?

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Sep 10, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Welcome to the Dojo of Life.

It's a refreshing alternative approach to our mental development.......much more practical than some directions that modern Psychology is taking.

We are so conditioned to understanding through articulation in our Western Culture that we tend to devise logical steps wherever possible. Guess it's how we work, and the results can be spectacular.

Familiar terms remove some of the threat and strangeness of what we are learning and launch us on interesting adventures.

It may help, however, to consider that we are forcing round pegs into square holes, in that Mountain Biking (and RV maintenance) is a physical thing, rather than a mainly thinking one. Our articulation and systematic constructions should be devised to unleash this somatic energy, rather than try to "control" it.

You Tube is a wonderful key to mechanical mysteries but time comes we have to confront grease and stuck nuts on their own terms.

The Teacher can help by building confidence with the rational but then facilitating a progression to more intuitive, muscle and task-based activities.

Mountain biking, with it's challenges and exhilaration is a wonderful place to build this integrated synergy.

"East is East and West is West...........and never the twain shall meet'..........except maybe on a good trail!

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Rusty, you sound like you might be a fan of Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Some quotes from his book. Which resonate the most with you?


The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.

The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself.

When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process.

We have artists with no scientific knowledge and scientists with no artistic knowledge and both with no spiritual sense of gravity at all, and the result is not just bad, it is ghastly.

Mental reflection is so much more interesting than TV it's a shame more people don't switch over to it.

Motorcycle maintenance gets frustrating. Angering. Infuriating. That's what makes it interesting.

Stuckness shouldn't be avoided. It's the physic predecessor of all real understanding.

When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things.

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Sep 12, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley


I've actually been through the motorcycle phase.......but not.alas, dirt biking or motocross.

And.......I was once at a Conference with 2 supposed National Experts on "Zen Philosophy", who kept quoting The Masters and their Koans.

They set to arguing bitterly about What Zen Was and when I asked them to reconcile this with the verse about "The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao" they got real shirty.

In many ways there seems to be a basic commonality to homo sapiens but the various varieties have sure formed unique methods of communication and it's tricky sometimes translating ideas back and forth. Ideas like "Zen" and "Meditation" can easily become snares and pitfalls.

I like to remember that many eastern philosophies and practices were crafted around lethal martial arts and, as such, they are grounded in deadly purpose, rather than theoretical neatness and style.

Which should be useful for us, at least where mountain biking becomes deadly serious.

My own take on this is to make the physical action the focus and prime mover and to de-emphasize the articulated analysis. It's easy to get the "tail wagging the dog" and to try and fit ones physical actions into a preconstructed verbal framework, like much of modern clinical psychology.

We are rational beings and need to understand what we do, and that can make us more efficient, but the outcome of a challenge is still the best judgement.

...........a long winded way of saying that I have difficulty in following friend Pirsig.

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I’ll get back to you ASAP Rusty. I’m camping off the grid

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Rusty, I also have difficulty with Pirsig, not the least of which is that his emotional and family life seems to have been a train wreck.

I don't seem interested in meditation as part of a philosophy. I’ve only experienced its usefulness as a practice that helps me A. Understand that I am not what I think and feel. B. Experience the benefits of knowing how to distance myself from “the inner chatter/voice” of my thoughts, feelings, ego, storylines, and mistaken ideas about life. And C. Experience the silent observer (“the one who watches the voice”) part of myself that seems closer to my true self. Maybe that’s a spiritual awakening.

Have you practiced that type of meditation?

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Sep 27, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Been busy I'm afraid..........


It's always seemed a fair (tho often devastating) strategy to judge practitioners by what they do, not what they say.

Words are a mixed blessing in which we can swim or drown........or waste a lot of time.

So I sympathize with the goal of "using meditation" for something practical.

A. Sorry........I'm lost here. What you "feel" may be biological (fatigue, pain, resistance to a pedal stroke) -- in which case it is surely most real?..........or a feeling may be emotional -- in which case we tend to see and use it in relation to a pre-determined structure?

B. "Get rid of the bullshit?"

Commendable..........and back to the problem of needing to have some way to decide what IS legitimate.......a structure, viable personal code and set of goals.

C. I see this as "some way to judge myself".

In MTB thats the easy part........do we crash? do we clean that problem? are we having fun?

In our personal life?......again we need something to judge against......and a tool to judge with.


I have my own definition that works for me.

But it's tricky;"spirituality is a Woke catch word that seems to mean anything from an alternative to "religion" to grooving on cool music (archaic terms).

For me: I seem to enjoy gleaning energy from various sources in Life: Beautiful natural scenes do it well......especially with the implication that I am a part of the wonder, watching my grandson being born was a biggie.

This energy is useful to fuel our emotional lives.......and even to build a meaningful religion.

So Yes.........when I first figured this out it was indeed a major spiritual awakening.......and it has enriched my life ever since (even in the ER with a collapsed lung from a wooden feature collapsing).

The kind of meditation:

I tried various types of meditation, both joined onto an activity, like martial arts, and by themselves. It was interesting and occasionally dangerous -- when i tried to do something that didn't fit. Eventually I figured out a "meditation" that worked well for me. It kept me safe (more or less) and made Life easier.

At times I succeeded in amalgamating this discipline smoothly with general, ongoing, life.....so that it was not necessary to perform it as such, but it was always there for an emergency.

This was a customized personal "meditation" involving breathing, looking, contemplation and various enjoyable (or not so) activities. I expect it centered around "Mindfulness"........though that can mean so very many things.

It has also helped me practice.

Although it seems to me that a great part of that is in the deciding of what I want to practice and how much I need to apply myself.

Don't know if this is helpful.........but I might add that it may be part of "The Way"......

In Japanese systems, many activities are split into Do and Jutsu versions. The Jutsu version is just the basic technique for getting the job done efficiently, while the Do version is done as perfectly as possible -- with the aim of transcending the activity itself. So......you get Kenjutsu, how to use a sword well..........and Kendo, how to achieve enlightenment through the WAY of the sword. And Judo, Chado, Aikido..........etc.

Maybe we are looking not just for a way to ride our bikes better, but to enrich our lives in the process.........?

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I'm still camping over the next several days, Rusty -- mostly without internet/cell service. I'll get back to you ASAP.

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Sorry for the delay, Rusty. 4 weeks of camping was a blast!

The way I see it is that emotions are always triggered by thoughts and thoughts are sometimes based on mistaken ideas. So my meditation practice consists of noticing when I get distracted by thoughts or their associated emotions, discarding or temporarily setting them aside, and returning to the object of focus, usually my breathing.

For those thoughts that seem troubling or questionable, I try to take time to examine them in my journal to see what I can learn.

Headspace has a cool animation that illustrates some of this process:


I'm interested in your reaction.

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Rusty, you wrote:

"I seem to enjoy gleaning energy from various sources in Life"

"This energy is useful to fuel our emotional lives.......and even to build a meaningful religion."

Yes, the practice of meditation and mindfulness can indeed fuel that spiritual development. It has for me, like you.

But without character and moral values to guide us, those practices can also be used for ego-centered and destructive activities.

In my past, my efforts to improve my concentration for sports just fueled my self-centered practice sessions to the detriment of my family relationships.

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Sep 10, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

I have packed a few wheel bearings in my life. Great Job Griff . Love the approach so important. I also want to work on letting go of the approach " let's hurry up and get this over with". which always ends in frustration for me. Love Your awareness of Your life in each moment. Learning so much from Your sharing . Getting ready for a week in Whistler so much to learn and then I return and rebuild my KTM for a big ride in October my intent is to be mindful and present for these adventures . Allot of awareness in each moment to be mindful. I appreciate Your sharing it helps me learn its a great way to teach.

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You're welcome, Mark.

With those adventures ahead of you this fall, I'm glad to hear your "intent is to be mindful and present" for them. I likewise have that intent for myself this fall for some adventures. My challenge now is to figure out what I can do now to practice for it. Have you thought about this?

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Sep 11, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Yes I have thought about this. Since I am leaving in the morning for Whistler it will be my practice lab. I will work on being present and mindful of the skills I have learned so far and not get caught up in how fast I am going or notice the space between me and other riders. I really want to be calm and wise with good choices . So much to think about and learn on these adventures with groups of riders not only with skills on the bike but also with connections with the other riders. Thanks for asking Griff. Any advice ?

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Maybe try the 5-5-5 mindfulness technique a couple of times per day when you're not riding, eg, driving, on the plane, walking, eating, etc. Name 5 things you can see, then 5 things you can hear, then 5 things you can feel.

When you are riding, maybe:

1. focus on one sensation for a minute, for example, feel the pressure of your palms on your grips and give it a number, eg 1 for light pressure, 2 for medium pressure, 3 for hard pressure and say the number out loud as you're riding.

2. sing a song out loud

Have a great trip!

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Hey Mark, how did your Whistler trip go? I didn't see anything on your Facebook profile so I thought I'd ask!

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Sep 11, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Thanks great advice I will try it

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Sep 12, 2022Liked by Griff Wigley

Excellent job getting your wheel bearings greased! It is a very messy job.

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Indeed, Pat!

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Camping seems to give you an itchy writing finger..........

I find my reaction to your ruminations somewhat confusing:

I really do not want to be a negative block but I find this approach strangely unsettling. It may be that I have unduly separated my private adventuring from my academic efforts......or maybe that I have been going in a different direction?

In General :

I'm always suspicious of generalizations.

I realize that we need to do some sorting of ideas and that an "average" plan is a fair point of departure, but I feel that the key element of the Human Sciences is the diversity of our species. Once we generalize we loose contact with the individual reality that each individual possesses, and which "makes them tick".

When our generalizations obscure this diversity they cease to be valid.

This reservation sort of gybes with a reluctance to treat humans (and other things) as a "Deus ex Machina"........a simple , predictable, replicable tool.

So........I catch a pause at your opening comment:

"Emotions are always triggered by thoughts"

What about existing Beauty -- Danger -- Exhilaration?

For me a large part of Outdoor Adventuring is the Direct Contact with Nature and Experience: When I'm barreling down an iffy rolling slab I want to be Doing not Thinking.

As they say......."Living In The Moment".

But we may be already getting bogged down in specialized jargon and rhetoric -- to use language to communicate such things we should perhaps first create a lexicon of terms (and perhaps procedures). I sense that I may be reacting to such loaded terms?


What a vaste and varied field of thought!

To say nothing of cultural; and language blocks to understanding.

But.......I eventually came up with my own , western, eclectic, system the works for me, and has stood the test of vigorous and sometimes traumatic testing. That's what I refer to here.......

I find it useful to divide "meditation" into Classic and Contemplative.

The Classic form is to "Empty your Mind"........the think of NOTHING. To simply BE.

This form is useful to subdue massive stress; to dampen the "Stress Response" that can have deleterious physical effects on our biological systems (and definitely inhibit Learning).

Supposedly, with such an Empty Mind, we are free for more profound thoughts to enter our consciousness (though this doesn't work that way for me).

"Contemplation" however is the gentle examination of ideas or questions -- while meditating.

This is not fully committed cognition -- "wrestling with a problem" but a mild ALLOWING the answer to arise within us.

The key would be to ensure that your body was still dominated by Alpha Wave neural activity (The state of the Classic form too). This is measurable with EEG etc........

You seem to be doing some cognition in the meditation you describe here?

If so, that may be a different process; and lead to a different outcome.....

Journalling is a whole different trip. Very useful to sort and order our thoughts, ideas and draft techniques. Hard to see that this level of neural activity would happen in Alpha.........though of course Beta and other brain activity is necessary for certain tasks.

I very much doubt, from experience,that anyone else could come up with a specific strategy that would apply to my individual process and needs.

What does work is to try out all kinds of things, including professional and personal suggestions and customize them for my personal situation.

This is not easy and includes a measure of practical testing that can be rather exciting.

My feeling is that, with potentially dangerous activities, this slow, deliberate process is best, in the Long Run.

Let's see what your other mails are about, before I try to be more positive.

It'svery interesting!

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