The Ten Zen Principles of Good Motorcycle Riding Habits

Leslie Reyes Waddington, BSN, RN

Me with my 2021 Zero S Electric Motorcycle

The Zen Buddhist concept of “How a person does any one thing, is how a person does everything” was something I understood intellectually, and I knew it could change my life, if only I could find a way to put it into action.

I had been aware that a lot of my habits in life were just plain bad. Habits I developed after suffering childhood trauma were making me more anxious and depressed than I already was. Depression always seemed to lead to impulsiveness and bad life decisions, which only led to more anxiety and depression. A vicious cycle that inevitably compounded a lack of faith in myself.

But I just couldn’t figure out how to make good habits stick.

I recently got my motorcycle license. I’m still learning and practicing. I ride a 2017 Kawasaki KX85 dirt-bike, and a 2021 Zero S Electric street-bike. As I am learning how to ride, I realized my old habit of just “winging it” with new things was not going to work on a motorcycle.

So came up with some habits I wanted to develop in order to be able to ride. I soon started noticing little changes in my behavior in other areas of my life.

It wasn’t the motorcycles by themselves that changed my life. Rather, it was what I needed to change about myself in order to successfully learn how to ride them that was life-changing.”

These are the habits I started to develop both on and off the motorcycle:

“The Ten Zen Principles of Good Motorcycle Riding Habits”

  1. Respond to situations, instead of reacting
  2. Look in the direction you want to go, not where you don’t want to go
  3. Practice mindfulness, focusing on what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and in the correct order
  4. Understand and respect your own limitations, and set your own pace
  5. Be prepared and think and plan ahead
  6. If you fall, get back up
  7. If you break something, fix it
  8. If you don’t know something, learn
  9. Practice good habits often and commit yourself to the process
  10. Enjoy the Ride

It isn’t just about the temporary rush of a good ride on a motorcycle that can be life-changing. When you start applying the habits you practice on a motorcycle to other areas of your life, that is when you will start noticing real change, and inner peace.”

Each one of these points seems so simple by themselves, but they take a great deal of discipline to practice, initially. I will be going into depth on each of these habits, comparing how they relate to motorcycle riding and how they can be applied to your life.

Thank you for reading my first Medium Publication story. I hope to continue to share my thoughts with you on mental health and motorcycles.

-Leslie Reyes Waddington, BSN, RN



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