The Luan-bird and the Feng-bird;
If there is confusion,
Their virtues will be as clear radiance.
Art can teach us the "art" of doing everyday things. It is still a challenge for me to practice the processes that I use in art while dealing with the needs of survival. There is a "spiritual warrior" which comes into play through the Mockingbird. The Mockingbird is "mental-rational" but works hard for the love of the others.
The carriage appears;
The kingfisher hides;
It is best to go on foot outside.
My first car was a 62 Karmann Ghia, however I never was into working on cars. I never had the chance to learn on the Ghia because I totaled it on my first day in college. I now have a 69 Van, a 69 Squareback, and a 70 Bug. These were very old cars when I bought them with their own karma. I own VWs because I can keep them running for less money than making car payments or having to take a car to a mechanic. I live in the mountainous area of Santa Fe and so driving the VWs involves my whole attention. I do not meditate in a nice calm relaxing way, but my adrenalin filled anxiety ridden attention is a type of meditation in that my whole being is involved. Not similar, but then again not so unlike falling deeply in love.
I have taken the Van, during the hottest days of summer, from Santa Fe to Dallas through Oklahoma into Nebraska and back down to Santa Fe. The experience could not be unlike Thor Hyerdal sailing the Kon Tiki. I had to be sensitive to every sound from the engine, every crosswind or headwind, every hill and correctly intuit the proper repairs all along the way. Once a sparkplug with its heliocoil popped out of the head making a loud clacking noise like I had thrown a rod. I let the engine cool and glued it back in. We found a campsite 5 miles away where we stayed in order to let the glue set overnight.
Driving is always a life and death battle, especially in old cars. There is a spiritual lesson here that is difficult to articulate. I was always praying for my safety and for the safety of those I saw broken down along the side of the road, but my prayers were not what makes this kind of experience spiritual. There is a realization that my soul is what is moving the metal down the road. My attention is what keeps us moving. Something of this is mentioned in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.1 Being totally engaged in the moment with passions and everything going full blast, not seeking what is higher, just trying to keep going and using all of ones intuition to anticipate and head off problems is being the best I can be for the given situation; as perfect as I can be in the eyes of God and people. My improvisational performances are similarly engaging as well as dangerous, and I know that I am at my best when I am performing.