Monday, 9 March 2009

The Parable of the Cyclist

I've looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow it's cloud illusions I recall. I really don't know clouds at all.
Joni Mitchell

The Kingdom of God (or enlightenment or authentic being or whatever) is like this...
A boy was born, and he had so much to learn: digesting food for one thing. Eventually his limbs were under his control (more or less) and the world was his. However, crawling wasn't enough. He enjoyed the rhythmic movement and getting places, but walking seemed to be the thing.
Trouble was, walking was dangerous. All his life he had been trying to stay balanced. But walking seemed to mean being deliberatly out of balance half the time. Then he got his first bike. Shiny and big and posh, he loved sitting on it. The peddles got in the way, though. Until he found a use for them.
Then there was no stopping him. He went everywhere on that bike. Always one stabilizer wheel bobbling furiously along the ground. He got used to the leaning -- generally favouring the right, which made turning left quite hard. As spring turned to summer he had got the knack of lurching from one stabilizer wheel to the other. Those light evenings he was always out; on the yard or pavement — and out in the park or the woods whenever anyone would take him. Happy times.
But part of him knew he was supposed to grow out of stabilizers. There were occasions when he noticed, between one stabilizer and the other, a different sort of glide. It was fun and he tried to do it more often. But mostly there were always places to go, things to investigate; and he was much faster on three wheels than two. However, the world was changing around him. Some of the other boys were riding bigger bikes, without stabilizers, and he had a hard time keeping up. His Mum and Dad kept asking him, and one day he agreed to try without his extra wheels.
Disappointed and bruised, he cried with frustration that first day. So Dad put the stabilizers back on, but it wasn't the same. He knew what he had to do. It wasn't easy -- he was so used to riding with extra wheels. He felt he'd wasted so much time and thought, "I really don't know bikes at all".
Eventually, he felt it. That smooth glide, catching the balance before imbalance, in rhythm with the pedals. If he went fast enough, and kept in a straight line... And it dawned on him: he didn't need his stabilizers any more. In fact they were a hindrance, stopping him leaning into clean, fast curves. His Dad was thrilled when (this time) his son asked for the stabilizers to be taken off. His cycling days had begun.
Err... "Whoever has ears, let them hear" ?


  1. I loved the story but I wanted you to go on an explain it....

  2. I will. But wasn't it long enough already?

    One thing that hadn't really occured to me is that the posts appear in reverse order! When planning this blog lark, I had some ideas, but they followed in sequence. Oh well, we'll just have to see how it turns out, won't we?