Showing posts with label Cricket. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cricket. Show all posts

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Biking is meditating

What’s the craze between a guy and his motorcycle? 
Now that the simple answer, “Biking is an attitude and a way of life” wouldn’t suffice, let’s complicate …

Don't get shocked. This is a democratic land (some are trying to privatize internet though) and we are all entitled to our opinions. Yes, I  believe that biking has the meditating effect. Before I can connect biking with meditation, allow me to break down the meditative state of mind for you. 

The human mind, with all its complexities still retains the beauty of holding just one thought at a time. Let us take an example for clarity. Suppose you are in the middle of a road and all of a sudden u hear the sound of a speeding truck. Now, the following things simultaneously happen.
  • You feel a shock wave running down your spine alerting all your senses
  • Your eyes tries to confirm the if the truck will indeed hit you or miss you
  • Your ears complement your eyes in ascertaining the time to collision
In the end it is left to the brain to assess the situation, revisit previous such encounters, evaluate options and take a decision. The drill is pretty much the same for most circumstances. It really doesn't take a speeding train or a truck to experience this. The falling glass of water, stumbling over a stone, catching a ball or even something as subtle a beautiful girl walking past you.

If you carefully observe, there are always three distinct forces at work determining our actions; our senses, sub-conscious self and the conscious mind. It would do good to draw comparison with the computing world to understand the role of each one of the forces. 

Your 5 senses are like the peripheral data gathering I/O devices. They are in the business of sensing the external environment. Every waking milli-second of our lives, the senses are seeing things, capturing noises, smelling the surrounding and feeling the air. They are constantly capturing raw data and passing it on to the next stage. Raw data includes everything from the sound of the truck to unpleasant odor to sighting of a beautiful girl.

The sub-conscious self is into the business of conducting sophisticated big data analysis over the  information passed on by the senses. Our sub-conscious self specializes in finding patterns and trends in random data. For example, a shrill sound with a rapidly increasingly intensity could mean oncoming truck; your left foot not finding ground in time can mean that you've tripped and about to fall; a sudden burst of blinding light can either mean someone is flashing a torch at your face or you could be witnessing an atomic explosion. If you've been reading the newspapers, you'd know that IBM Watson does this very well. It literally read through (almost) all the digital garbage of the world (at least America) and posed meaningful and grammatically correct questions to random sentences on a TV show. Congrats Watson. Now that you have championed English grammar, I dare you with table manners !!

let's get back. The mind is your the ultra complex and turbo cooled processor (unfortunately single-core). It reads the information from the peripheral devices, evaluates possibilities and takes all decision. In the laymen lingo, mind is the king who collects intelligence from the pawns (read senses), gets counseled by the ministers (read sub-conscious self) and eventually takes a decision on what needs to be done. If it's bad odor, try not to breathe for a while. And if it's the hot chick in the red dress, forget everything and thou' shalt stare (Yea, this brain is definitely male).

Now to the question big question. Are the meditating and dreaming states very different from each other ?

Lets see. The eyes are usually closed in both cases. The heartbeat is steady. The subject (saint/dreamer) is relaxed and is in deep thinking mode. On a serious note, both the states demand suspension of senses and sub conscious self. Take a minute to mull over it.

In deep sleep, you don't feel your surroundings so you can dream for long durations. The moment there is a loud noise (alarm) or somebody alerts your senses (mom trying to wake you), dream is gone. Same goes with meditation, you will either have to suppress your senses or find a quiet place so that you can concentrate on one thing only.

As in dreaming so with meditation; the senses distract your concentration and the sub-conscious tends to bias the direction of thought. More you control the two forces, better can you meditate; delve into a singular thought. You know why day-dreaming was not as effective at the college. Your senses were constantly looking out for that possible chalk-piece thrown at your face.

Silence and a serene environment will reduce distractions and help dream/meditate better. That explains why the saints prefer to sit down at ashramas or mountain tops for meditation than at Bangalore International Airport or Kempegowda bus stand.

So, the point I am stressing on is that the deep meditative state is characterized by two things - lack of distraction from senses and interference into the thought process by the sub-conscious. Now munch over it for some time.

What happens with biking
Please note that commuting between work and home on a two wheeler does not qualify as biking. More so, if you are in Bangalore. Our senses are most active when navigating within heavy traffic. When I say biking here, I mean riding on a two wheeler for long distances.

Long distance riding is like playing a cricket test match. You can afford to forget for a long time where you are, how many runs to score and just play for beauty of the game. The first 25 kms of a bike ride is most painful. All your senses are strained, with constant interruptions to the brain. After about 50 kms, the traffic is sparse and you pick up speed. Your senses still has to be at their peak (making up for the speed), but the number of interruptions are less and far between. After 75 kms, your sub-conscious and and the five senses find an equilibrium. Even though there are no interruptions, your five senses are fully alert and transfixed on the road as you are cruising at high speeds. 

Voila! Your mind is now in the test match mode.

There are hardly any interruptions on the road; so senses aren't alarmed and hence your thought train goes on uninterrupted. It is as though your mind is detached from your body; inert to interruptions and prejudices (sub-conscious self throwing its weight around).

Now, lets compare the state of mind while biking and meditating

State of Mind: Senses do not interrupt/interfere the mind
Meditation: Saints either suppress their senses or find a calm place wherein senses do not get alarmed.
Biking: All senses are too busy monitoring the road and hence do not interfere in the thoughts in the brain

When I ride my Royal Enfield Thunderbird for few hundred kilometers without much interruptions; I find myself in this meditative state. I am sure most riders feel this way too. While others believe in rolling out their yoga mats in the morning, I prefer to taking out my blackbird (RE TBTS) on a long ride. Long distance riding has often helped me delve deep into a thought without interruptions. Given the time in this state, mind has almost always found its answers and resolved the conflicts.

In the end, but for a sore ass; long distance biking is a rejuvenating experience for both the mind and the body.

Meditation gurus, Fellow bikers, Yoga practitioners, Cricket fans and Dreamers at large... Please let me know your thoughts/gyaan in the comments section. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

IPL Season 4,5,6 and beyond

IPL 1:
  • Indian cricket team has recently become the world champions of T20 cricket. 
  • A billion cricket crazy people are hungry for more T20 action. Mr. Lalit Modi caters to the demand. 
  • Bollywood & Corporate India buy stake in cricket. 
  • Corporate India expects that their efforts pay off. Dr. Mallya realizes that not all investments yield handsome returns. 
  • The dutiful citizens of India endure the masala version of the game. 

IPL 2:
  • Modi takes 'Indian' Premier League to RSA. That's SACRILEGE - It's like the world cup played on Jupiter. But  that doesn't bother cricket fans one bit.
  • k..k...k... King Khan learns a lesson. Hype and over the top publicity can sell stuff like 'OSO' and not 'KKR'. Poor performance of the team and 'fakeiplplayer' add to his worries.
  • Models don the role of expert commentators and cheerleaders get more popular than some of the players.
  • The dutiful citizens of India silently endure

IPL 3:
  • Movie makers refrain from releasing their movies during the IPL season. IPL matches instead get screened on the silver screens.
  • Terminologies of the game change. A hit for six runs become 'DLF Maximum', A significant wicket becomes 'Citi moment of success'. A mundane catch becomes, 'Karbon Kamaal Catch' & a dumb blinking balloon becomes the mark of 'Cricketing Excellence' of a nation. 
  • The drummers, Bhangra dancers, DJ's become mandatory at every ground. Cheerleaders get more cheekier with every passing game. 
  • Enjoying the madness (dubbed as sporting ambiance) at the stadium becomes the prime interest of the crowd. Cricket being just a pretext.
  • The dutiful citizens from the land-of-Gandhi endure

IPL 4: 
  • After every ball, the cameraman points to a random billboard and the commentator dutifully delivers the rehearsed phrases. 
  • Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and the other brand ambassadors of the teams share space with the cheerleaders to improve the visibility of the team.
  • BCCI allows the suspension of the team logo from the helmet so as to accommodate that of another sponsor. 
  • BCCI introduces variable pay for the players. The payment made being directly proportional to the value they can earn the team though Ad's and other promotional events. 
  • The dutiful citizens of BharatVarsh endure.

IPL 5:
  • KKR team players perform item numbers at all metro as a part of the teams PR activity.
  • Political parties buy out IPL teams. They implement reservation system in bid to improve representation from the backward sections of the community.
  • IPL cricketers campaign at the political rallies as a part of PR/Team building activity.
  • The dutiful citizens of the country endure.

 IPL 6:
  • SBI offers insurance for IPL teams covering their financial losses.
  • The cricket bat is replaced with baseball bat for IPL. Over 500 'DLF Maximums' get pounded. Commentators opine that IPL is not toptally a batsman's game. There is still something for the talented bowlers.
  • Trailers of the upcoming movies are played at the Eden Gardens between the overs. 
  • Corporate movies are shown at Wankhede during the strategic time outs. 
  • RCB offers welcome drink (no prize for guessing which brand) to the audience at their home pitch.
  • The dutiful citizens of the country endure.

IPL 7:
  • I admit. I cannot think of anything more bizarre and demeaning about the game. 
  • But I am sure, if something worse was still to happen, the dutiful citizens of India will endure.