A lazy Sunday morning in Japan (12 Nov 2017), Okayama. Lots of sunshine under the clear Autumn Sky. I did pray hard for the gods to help make the sky a perfect one.
A perfect day for a cycling trip in Japan. I was to attempt the Kibiji Cycling Trail. 17 km with pit stops at places of interest.
For that trip, I did tons of research on the internet. Armed with information, maps, milestones marked on google map and a trusty rental bike, I began my journey.
Starting point was at Bizen-Ichinomiya Station and the destination was to be Soja station.
The rental bike boss told me that the whole journey should only take 4 hours. “Great! just like what the internet says”. Just in time for me to have lunch back in Okayama city, must try the Bara-Zushi (Scattered Sushi)!
The first two milestones were easy to reach. Just follow the cycling track and I was soon rewarded with nice Japanese shrine with fantastic architecture. Not to mention the captivating Japanese countryside. I had never seen rice field up close before.
Wild cosmos flowers dotted the path occasionally.
The internet says to simply follow the cycling track. There are signages like the one below. Just follow the standard path and you will end up in Soja Station where you can return the bike.
The above picture marks the point where I made a decision that will get me lost! Embolden by the success of the two milestones, I decided to skip the cycling route and take a short cut. I believed my google map will show me the right course, help pin point my exact location. I wanted the shortest route to Kokubunji before heading back to the city for lunch.
Then I soon realised,
The shortest route requires riding on highway and road with cars speeding around corners! I was terrified of the idea of being involved in an accident while on vacation.
Going around the highway and road means going through rural residential area.
Rural residential area seems to confuse my trusty goople map. It simply fail to pin point where I was.
Ok I was lost!
Should I proceed or should I back track? The sun was slowly rising up the sky. Perhaps I prayed too hard for sunshine, the cool autumn air was replaced by blaring heatwave of a Sun who decided to give all its warmth on that day. (or was it my anxious mind playing a trick)
Soon I was afraid of getting myself “more lost”.
I was constantly checking my map instead of cycling. I realised that the fear in my mind had paralyzed my progress. The Sun seems to be getting hotter every minute.
Then the word “faith” came to mind and I decided to trust myself. I figured roughly the direction of Kokubunji and decided to cycle towards that direction. It wasn’t long before I found the good old cycling track again!
So I didn’t have Bara-Zushi (Scattered Sushi) for lunch and found myself in a nice rest stop opposit Kokubunji. Managed to let go of the Bara-Zushi plan and enjoyed the ambience of the restaurant instead. Buying some locally produced grape / fruits here was a good decision. (Hint: It’s cheaper here than the city)
- Trust the path of your predecessor.
Hundreds of cyclist had used the cycling track, I should humbly follow and visit the “boring” pit stops too. Had I done that, I would have completed the journey in 4 hours instead of 6.
Likewise, in our spiritual path. It is far easier if we can rely on the tested path of past masters. If we need to do a boring meditation or chant a million times, do it. They had tried and tested the method, we just need to follow. (humbly)
- Fear will paralyse progress
Sometimes, it is inevitable that we become “lost” in life. Things does not go according to plan. However, that is the worst time to stay still for too long. Once we stop moving, we are stuck. No point crying over the past or imagining the worst to come. Be mindful and make an informed decision. Keep moving forward. Have some faith in yourselves.
- Informed decision
To proceed wisely when one is lost requires wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom and knowledge can only be available if one had studied and researched before hand. If there is someone around to help, humbly seek help and ask for direction.
In spiritual practice, one needs to know the general “direction” of where one is heading. For example, Enlightenment is characterised by less craving and less desire, less anger, more compassion, less ego etc. These are milestones. If we find ourselves becoming the opposite, something is wrong with our practice. Self reflection is important.
- Make the best of your situation
Life goes on even when one is lost. Stay mindful and try to enjoy the moment too. Here’s the best cosmo flowers that came along my “lost” path…
If you wish to try the kibiji cycling trail, do follow the cycling track.
Wishing you a wonderful day.