Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wisdom From the Acient Masters of Alt.Skate-Board (Part 8)

Thoai Tran wrote 14 installments of Zen and Skateboarding. Here is Part 8. See introductory comments I wrote on this post for full context of the entire series.

Part Eight

Why do I hear all these beautiful melodies whenever I go skating? So many melodies, each so different from all others, with its own natural time course, its own flowing rhythm, and characteristic mood. One melodic line is joyous, with its galloping rhythm  and simplicity; while another is somber and introspective. One melodic line is triumphant, with notes that steadily ascend the scale; as though to indicate a rise in the spirit when all obstacles are overcome. Another melody is sad and pathetic, with notes that steadily descend the scale. So too the tears during moments of despair. Infinite number of melodic lines, all integrated to form this harmony that encompasses every note, every time signature, every mood, every rhythmic pulse... Each melody, each song, is a world onto itself, a separate universe; but each is so important in creating this harmony that's within me. All the universes become just one timeless and complete simultaneity, no more...and no less. A single additional note to just one of the infinite melodies will forever disrupt this harmony. Likewise, a deletion of a single note will forever change this harmony within me...

Why do I feel this harmony whenever I go skating? My board is a world onto itself, with its own characteristics, its unique features. Each of the four wheels beneath my board rolls at different rates. Occasionally, the spinning bearing makes an almost predictable and rhythmic clic, as though to indicate that speed is perfect, that no additional work is required of more, no less. The front truck is somewhat looser; thus the board can turn immediately with minimum notes modulating up and down the scale, with total disregard to rigidity or stability. And how symmetric and simple this deck is. Like a fugue held together by counterpoint, this deck too consists of identical parts - that is, seven layers of tightly bound hard maple wood. My board is indeed a wonderful melody...

My body is a universe onto itself. Each of the millions of cells within me is governed by its own sets of laws, its own dynamics, its own preprogrammed destiny. The pulse that beats within me is a reflection of my own reality and existence. It too is rhythmic, occasionally accelerating during strenuous exercise; but always returning to its preprogrammed a central tonality, from which notes may occasional deviate from, but to which they will always and inevitably return...

Like the harmony that encompasses all the infinite number of melodies, the harmony that I feel whenever I go skating is all-encompassing. All the melodies suddenly lose their respective distinction and characteristic. I am no longer aware of my body or skateboard. I am no longer aware of the cars that pass by me, the pedestrians that walk by me, the tall buildings that surround my body. I no longer realize the smoothness of the asphalt on the street or the roughness of the cement on the sidewalk. The sounds of this urban jungle, through which I roll, alone, wild, free...

No other trees can grow in a sandal forest,
A lion lies usually in a thick bush and strolls
Alone at ease in quiet and familiar
Haunts from which all other beasts and birds have fled

...the sounds of the jungle: the honking’s of the cars, the yelling’s of the aggravated people, the crackling noises of the airplane above me, they all suddenly lose their distinction...They cease to exist! Their respective reality suddenly dissolves into this all-encompassing reality within me. I and they are just one simultaneity...timeless and complete.

Whenever I go skating, I am no longer aware of the superficial clothes that cover my body. Like an extraneous note that ruins the complete harmony, attachment to materialistic trends will forever disrupt the harmony within me. Why do I want to add unnecessary elements that will ruin what is already perfect and complete? Being arrogant, disliking others because they do not look the same as me, feeling inadequate because I do not have the latest shoes, throwing my board twenty feet away because I can't land the latest the things I do not want to add to my skating, to that which is already perfect and complete. Likewise, I do not want to remove the important elements that will change this harmony within me. Patience...commitment to skate for its own sake, because it is natural and perfect for me...helping others who may need my guidance...indifference to the other people's attitudes. Why do I want to change what is already perfect and complete?

There were moments when I landed every trick I attempted; and even tricks that I practiced for many days, but just couldn't land no matter how hard I tried. The feeling was always triumphant. The spirit was elevated to an entirely different plane. There were also moments when nothing seemed to go my way, and all the problems in the world seemed to be on my shoulder for me to bear...and no tricks were ever landed. One melody is triumphant; while another is gloomy. But this harmony is constant and shall continue to flow despite the ups and downs of life. All the emotions just dissolve away, for the only thing that is felt is this harmony. Everything else in my life is transient, but whenever I go skating, my life is always complete.

This is the harmony of skating...

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