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The Skinny Wheel Experience
Mike: James, I remember once I wanted to go bike riding with a group… push bike… I had recently bought a touring bike in Brisbane and felt a group would help me better enjoy my new bike… and so I contacted a local bike business and arranged to join a group early one morning.
I turned up on my touring bike and noticed everyone else had expensive road bikes… mine had thicker tyres, frames for the paniers, etc.… the others had bikes with skinny tyres, stripped-down frames and attractive colours… I was in my shorts and T-shirt while they all had Lycras… like their bikes, the Lycras were in go-faster, feel-good colours… I had stumbled into something somewhat different from my expectations…
We headed out as a group and I hung on as best I could but within a few minutes I had dropped to the back and then finally let go of the group… the “peloton,” I was later to learn… it was a good ride, and ultimately I found my way home alone, rather pleased with myself.
I am a loner in some ways… as an architect I have always been alone in a creative role… generally, I enjoyed the day but I didn’t go again.
The various experiences of that day I have grouped into what I refer to now as “the skinny wheel experience.”
The skinny wheel experience is similar to other experiences I have had where people hang together in exclusivity… an air of belonging… there is a form of group-speak about “expensive,” or in other ways, equipment that defines their position, their entitlement to be in the group.
In any group first encounters invarably involve coded talking and a form of show-and-tell till a degree of comfort has been resolved. The skinny wheel experience with spiritual groups is no exception… spiritual experiences are easily exchanged.
When you talked of the spiritual parade and spiritual pornography… of those wearing correct orange robes complete with staff and dreadlocks, I felt there was nothing I wanted to say… I didn’t need to agree with you… nothing… it was enough.
Simlarly, when you described so elegantly and so bluntly the juicy bait on the spiritual hooks… again, I just sat there… what needed to be said…
Ever since I was a little boy I have believed if I could get out of my own way magic will happen… for years, all my life in fact, it has been a belief… you told me about Vedanta, and how that belief works… the whistling in the dark part has been removed now… I was silent again… what needed to be shared.
You said there is no Big Bang… no intense light experience… that we are as we are, awareness… get with the programme… get excited… it’s beautiful… and again, silently I felt, “Oh my God… what needs to be said?” While I was in Tiruvannamalai I climbed Arunachala… and as I climbed I felt that easiness… that truth… the peace of knowing there is no mind-blowing experience… again, there is nothing to say… why would it not be so?
You talked of freedom from our desires as jivas… of grasping one thought being enough to set me free… why would it not be so?
All through the two weeks in Tiruvannamalai I had this experience of easily hearing you talk of Vedanta… no big deal… all so elegant… all so simple.
I have been home in Brisbane for two weeks now… I have a beautiful studio in my garden here at home… I have been watching the material on the USB stick I got from you… watching your material has become part of my daily routine…
Possibly the best part in writing to you is you know what I am saying… to thank you is not necessary; still, I do.
I am looking forward to the next time I see you…
~ Love, Mike