Time for a bicycle adventure! As usual with these blogs, it’s also a spiritual adventure, come along for the ride!
Florida has some great paved over railroads, and one of my favorites traverses along the coast here by the Atlantic for a few miles, then heads west to Orlando and then Tampa Bay. It’s mostly in the swamps, with the paved over railroad track right down the middle. There are very few road crossings, and I’ve found this is to be a fantastic training, biking and moving meditation experience. While we are going to mostly travel through the swamp lands, occasionally there are interesting farm lands and other “attractions”. Into the swamp adventure!
Biking on the Coast-to-Coast trail
The Coast-to-Coast (CTC) trail in Florida is a railroad grade trail (flat, flatter, flattest – actually a paved over railroad track) that connects the eastern shore area around the Kennedy Space Center to Orlando. These paved over railroad trails are a wonderful treasure for hikers, bikers, Rollerbladers, and runners. These “Rails-toTrails” have sprouted all over the country, so check your vicinity out. In Colorado the Greenway and Sante Fe trail run the entire length and well beyond to the north and the south of Colorado Springs.
These adventures assist me in feeling “good”. I’m half way through one of my spiritual mentor’s (Gabby Bernstein) new book “Super Attractor”, and she advises to perform daily activities that take us to the “feeling good” space. I believe these adventures are exactly what she is talking about, and I’m excited to manifest a life beyond my wildest dreams. If that interests you and you want to support my efforts here, click this link (or click the image below) to get your own copy and I get a small fee at no cost to you. Gabby’s Super Attractor! I suspect it will be one of my new blogs coming shortly! I love this book so far!!
We start out just a few miles up the road in Mims. From there to the north and west, there are very few roads that cross, and most of the time can be spent enjoying the ride and doing my moving meditations.
Into a Swarm of Bees
A few miles from where I like to start, I came across a terrible smell ….. and complete with a swarm of bees that suddenly were buzzing all around me and hovering over the trail. Yikes, I decided to pedal hard, put my head down, and blaze through. No bee stings … actually they were swarming around rather listlessly … Once I was safely past that area, I slowly pedaled back to the spot, I was much more cautious, the smell was greatly reduced, and listless bees … so I investigate!
I stop pedaling and peeked through the jungle for a moment, and there is a bee farm right off the trail! The bee farmer had some type of torch can and that was causing the smell … he was using it to create a fire and smoke screen, and the bees natural response is to vacate premises. They naturally flee from smoke, as it signals and triggers a flight response to help keep them alive during forest fires. The beekeepers use this technique to stay safe and harvest the honey.
If you look close at the image above, you will see that those black specks are actually bees! The bee farmer has hundreds of those white blocks stacked all around the shady area, and each one contains hundreds of bees. It is quite the production.
Later I would look these bees up online … It appears that these are honey bees after I rode through them buzzing above and around the trail. Another interesting fact is that the bees tend to vacate premises and become listless from smoke .. They do not attack, such as from a physical blow to the nest. They instinctively are vacating the hive, storing up as much honey as possible to rebuild the next hive, saving energy, and preparing for a “new move to a new place” should the fire and smoke take over. Its like they are “stuffed” from Thanksgiving dinner, gorging on the honey to store it up for the next home! I love how nature tends to flow with disasters, unlike our human minds that tend to fight them and suffer. So there is no danger to the bicyclists, runners, and walkers along the trail, as the bees are peaceful in this state.
Buddha in the swamps
Many more miles down the trail was a weathered wooden sign, saying “White Sands Buddhist Center”, with another little sign saying “cyclists are welcome!” Since it wasn’t far from the start of my ride, I planned to go to the turnaround, and stop in on the way back, then ride easy the last few miles back to my car.
I had no idea what to expect, but thought it would be fun to follow the sandy trail and see where I end up. Here we go into the Buddhist center!
So off the paved trail and down that white sandy path. I’ve been traveling in the swamps on a thin ribbon of asphalt, and suddenly there is an explosion of a green expanse, with giant, white marble statues ringing a beautiful pond. The statues are huge, with the laying down Buddha about 50 ft long, and the sitting Buddha over 30 ft high. It is best captured with a few pictures.
Statue that is 32 ft high for the 32 primary paths to enlightenment – two women also visiting show how high the statues are!
The “laying down Buddha” was reportedly the posture he assumed when he transitioned from this life to the next – almost 50 feet in length. The statue has amazing detail.
The essence of the Buddhist center was a deep peace and Love that just seemed to permeate me. I am not Buddhist, I’ve tried some Buddhist meditation with breath control … But I felt a powerful impact from the area. I felt connected… I had that peace within. What a spiritual break in the middle of my long physical “moving meditation” of a bike ride!
Amazing to come across this tranquil environment in the middle of swamp land ….
With just a couple of miles to go, there is a small cement overpass that allows the bike trail to go over a swampy, lake type area. Three baby alligators were sunning along the edge, and I got a picture of this little guy.
The baby alligator was stunning – the tail was about 2 ft long and his body about 6 to 8 inches — cute!!
That little guy looked adorable. Two other cyclists came by and took pictures. It seems all species are cute and adorable when they are babies …. But the grown up alligators are another story! Have you read my alligator story? Click to go there.
Our bike adventure is over …. wow what a peace I feel inside, that was a spiritual adventure!
I’ve truly found that combining my physical exercise with spiritual moving meditations is a profound experience. My dream is to motivate all who read these to get out on your own adventures!! Get out and move … your body will produce all types of wonderful chemicals … dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, adrenaline, natural opiates. It makes us humans feel alive, with that wonderful internal peace within. When combining that movement with a moving meditation, our lives can be transformed.
Again, I am not a Buddhist .. But experiencing the Vietnamese Buddhist center left me feeling connected with them and others, a Oneness. I felt the presence of the Divine, I connected with my inner Divinity, I felt the loving energy. My words don’t adequately express the feelings, but I’m sure you all have had them in your lives. I came away with a new understanding that there are many paths to Spirit, to the “Universe”, to God … whatever name you want to give that fantastic, powerful, energizing Presence.
It’s only natural to take that experience and “color” all of my life …. living life from a more adventurous but peaceful inner being.
Yep, I’ve been raised in the Christian/Catholic tradition …. I’ve embraced Judaism …. I’m embracing this Buddhist center … I embrace what spiritually nourishes me … I’m no longer bound to my upbringing, to my indoctrination … instead I want peace within. The Vietnamese Buddhist center elevates my heart.
I’m not converting to Buddhism … Not going to become a Buddhist monk any time soon. Yet the Buddhist center was very motivational for me, in that I am realizing the Oneness, the Connection, the Presence at a deep place by combining physical exercise with moving spiritual meditations. All the different religions are pathways to that inner peace. All of them, when lived in the mystical, spiritually fit center, can elevate the human experience and send us into the happy, joyous, and free soulful experience.
Well that’s the end (and start!!) of this adventure. I will be publishing different approaches to moving meditations along with regular meditations that have worked for me and many others. It’s my intention to motivate and inspire as many people as possible to going out, moving, meditating, and becoming spiritually fit. Join me!
Let me know your thoughts on the adventure with your comments, I enjoy sharing them with you. I’m laying out a framework of “mini-courses” so you can do your own version of “moving meditations” and find that inner joy. They are guides to developing your own spiritual moving meditations. If you have any ideas on the “mini-courses” I’m preparing, send those my way please. What questions do you have on these, what do you need to start your own moving meditations? As with physical fitness, it’s fun to journey along the road with others that share in the “fitness” movement. Come get fit with me!
All the best, to your Spiritual Fitness,