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Embracing Mastery, Part 1

Posted Jan 01 2013 4:24pm

Below is part of post I wrote in September of 2010 (if you want to read the whole thing, click here ).

Photo credit: http://www.austincabot.com

I am reading a book called  The Art of Racing In The Rain , which is written from the perspective of a very wise dog named Enzo. Enzo’s human is a race car driver named Denny. More about that in a minute.

First I want to talk about something my husband taught me about riding motorcycles and driving cars.

He has been riding motorcycles since he was a boy. He loves everything about motorcycles, from the routine maintenance, to modifying the machine to suit his needs, to the days-long rides he takes with friends. For him it is a holistic experience – art and science, magic and logic. It’s about him and the bike and his ability, not just make the machine do what he wants it to do, but to be one with it. He’s similarly interested in car racing, and participates in autocross events.

When I first met him I remember him telling me that one of the most important aspects of riding and racing is looking where you want to go.

Well of course, right? But what he means by this is that when you’re on the straightaway, you should be looking to the next corner and focus on that, not on the straightaway. And when you’re in the next corner, you focus on the next one, not on the corner you’re in. It’s about always looking down the road to where you want to be…and trusting that the vehicle will take you there. If you focus on the guardrail, chances are you’ll run into it.

This very same concept is introduced in The Art of Racing In The Rain. “Your car goes where your eyes look,” is a lesson Enzo learns from Denny.

And this:

“Racing is doing. It is being part of a moment and being aware of nothing else but that moment. Reflection must come at a later time.”

And:

“When I am racing, my mind and my body are working so quickly and so well together, I must be sure not to think or else I will definitely make a mistake.”

And:

“That which you manifest is before you.”

And:

“If I intentionally make the car do something (like spinning out of control in the rain), then I can predict what it’s going to do. In other words, it’s only unpredictable if I’m not…possessing…it. If I initiate the action, then I know it’s going to happen before even the car knows it’s happening.”

And so Enzo reflects: “We are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”

Enzo wants to love Denny’s girlfriend, Eve (who later becomes his wife), the way he loves Denny, but he is afraid. She is his rain…the unpredictable element…that has come into their lives. Then he remembers that racers should not be afraid of the rain, they should embrace it.

And so he opens himself up to Eve and she regards him as a sweet dog. He says, “I alone could manifest a change in that which was around me. By changing my mood, my energy, I allowed Eve to regard me differently.”

In that moment, he realizes that while he is not yet a master of his destiny, he has had a glimpse of mastery…and knows what he has to work towards.

To be continued…

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