I’ve been bicycling over the last few weeks. Last year I hit it far too hard right at the beginning. I was sore for days. This year I’m starting slowly and building up. Today, though, I got a phone call and ended up heading back to the apartment way too soon. On the way home I was gliding down the street and realized I just really didn’t want to stop. I think that bicycling has become a spiritual practice for me. It’s not just exercise anymore.
When I bike I find my mind can wander freely. It’s a time when I can think about whatever is most important in that moment. Sometimes that is something unexpected that I didn’t even realize was on my mind. I can daydream about my new job in Pontiac. I can think about the next sermon topic or scripture for preaching class. Perhaps, though, I find myself thinking about something as asinine as my car’s squeaky brakes or the laundry that I need to do. But, increasingly often I find myself, simply, by myself.
Over the past few years of bicycling, my prayer life has been increasing as well. It is not always intentional prayer, but sometimes it is better than my best prepared or most earnestly said prayers. When I’m out on my bike, I find myself asking questions, considering my own life, and looking for answers. I find myself [silently, i hope] talking to myself, no one, and God…all at once, sometimes! When I go bicycling I am growing in mind, body, and spirit -it turns out. Who would have thought?
I believe in this world of constant contact it is sometimes difficult to just be alone. Perhaps, though, we need to find times and activities that allow us to be self-reflective. We need to allow our minds to wander…and when we least expect it, perhaps, we will find ourselves meditating and growing in prayer…even talking to God without realizing it. I think that each of us should find an activity that we love and as we practice it (like taking long bike rides with an iPod blasting) we will find God listening to us…perhaps we will even discover God somewhere within ourselves!