Anthology: A Collection of Flowers Home
Teaching How To Ride A Bike
One of the fondest memories I have, is that of teaching my sons how to ride a bike. Due to their age difference, I had the pleasure of experiencing this twice. Both times were equally rewarding.
It started for one on his Birthday and the other happened at Christmas. You should have seen how their eyes lit up when they first saw that gleaming new Bicycle!
These were not the bikes that had training wheels. These were the real thing. I had used the little bike with training wheels to teach them safety and the rules of correct bicycle riding. It was only after they had understood these basic safety rules that they would be ready to have a "Real Bike".
That being done, they were finally ready to be initiated into the world of two wheeled cycling.
The bikes were presented as the last gift, because I knew that once he saw the Bike, the rest of the presents and the party would no longer be important.
Once my son laid his eyes on this object of power and freedom, that was it! Nothing else really mattered.
I would help him take the bike outside and hold it steady while he climbed on it. Then I would measure and adjust the seat and Handlebar. Once this was done, I would once again hold the bike steady while he mounted it. This time to ride!
I would hold on to the handlebar and the back of the seat to guide and hold him steady. Once I could feel him start to guide the bike, I would encourage him to try cornering. At first, I would have to grab the handlebars in order to keep the bike in an upright position, but soon he would be doing well. I would encourage him to peddle harder and I let go for longer periods of time without having to intervene. Finally, the only contact I had with him and the bike was a light hold on the rear of the seat. Usually by this time, I would be running along side of him as I watched his confidence grow. I wish you could have seen the look in his eyes and hear the excitement in his voice.
Then I just ran along side of him as he peddled and guided it all by himself. Then I would stop, catch my breath and watch for a moment, then finally go back inside the house to get a beer and watch TV.
He was no longer a bicycle student. He was now a bicyclist!
I had the honor of teaching both of my sons how to ride a bike. I had the honor of initiating them into the wonderful world of cycling and all of the power, liberation and responsibilities that that involved. Afterward we would sometimes ride together. But I was not their teacher anymore. In fact, in a short time, they were doing more tricks than I. I was just the one that initiated them. I look forward to watching my grandchild learn how to ride a bike from my sonů
There are two types of spiritual teachers.
One type is the devotee. This teacher says, "I am nothing! It is only through the power of Christ Jesus that these miracles take place. He is the only one!" (You could insert the name of any Guru into the spot where "Christ Jesus" is in that sentence and it would be the same.) This type of spiritual teacher becomes a Saint, but does not attain Enlightenment.
Then there is the example of Milarepa and a Marpa. Marpa was Milarepa's spiritual teacher. He worked intensely with Milarepa for a long time. Finally, once Milarepa was ready, Marpa initiated him into Enlightenment. After that, Milarepa was no longer a student. He was Enlightened!
That is why my Teacher chose the model of Tibetan Buddhism in the end instead of that of Hinduism or Christianity.
My prayer is that each of you be to your Teacher as Milarepa was to Marpa.