The Charnel Grounds of Columbia

Motorcycle Charnel Grounds
Motorcycle Charnel Grounds

Sometimes you find yourself in a strange place, and then try to figure out if there’s a deeper meaning to be found in the experience. So it was when I found myself in the motorcycle charnel grounds on the second floor of The Cycle Den in Columbia.

It was a depressing place, as I imagine the charnel grounds in Tibet are with the giant vultures, but depressing in a different way. I looked at those old machines and saw the people that once owned and loved them.

These now decaying bikes represented freedom, adventure and escape. I remembered the quote by Hafiz: “Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.”

It is said that the Buddha encouraged his students to meditate in the charnel grounds as a way of releasing the ultimate attachment: the attachment to one’s body and to this life itself. So despite the overwhelming sadness, I stayed to reflect on the impermanence of all things, and how the pursuit of pleasure is a paradox.

Dan Aykroyd once said: “You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle.” This may or may not be true, but having sold mine last fall I am now back in therapy.

I drive there in my SUV with the radio on and the feeling of safety that comes with four wheels and airbags. It’s as close to feeling alive as playing virtual golf, with a virtual caddie and drinking a virtual martini.

18 thoughts on “The Charnel Grounds of Columbia

    1. Thanks. There were some real beauties up there, old Harleys, BMWs and Indians but the florescent light messed me up. Not everything looks good in black and white.

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    1. Most of the time just getting out of bed is a challenge. Not quite like going 75mph around turns on a Suzuki but close. Do you know that you’re one of the few people that will ever read my older posts? Thanks!

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      1. I just discovered your tag “depression”. I didn’t notice it before.
        Challenge and feeling some extreme are different things, aren’t they? Challenge is about I have to do it and extreme is about wow, that’s cool.

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                    1. Well, there’s things to accept and things to change. I tried to change myself and it led me to self-destruction. I tried to change the way I communicated with the world and it helped.
                      What did you try to find there (in psychology and philosophy)?

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                    2. You coped with it somehow, Mike. And it’s great I think. I’m glad you are alive. I have a person to talk with.
                      Examining yourself can be a torture and sometimes it’s just not needed.

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