On a good day, a rider achieves a mindset where nothing exists except the bike, the road, and the traffic around him or her.I refer to this oneness as Knee-Down Mind.
The rider who has reached Knee-Down Mind will find there is all the time in the world to react to hairy traffic situations, changes in road condition and other obstacles or dangers. A Knee-Down rider isn't filled with rage when a Blockhead-SUV-Pilot cuts him/her off because it matters not to the greater flow of Bike.
Knee-Down Mind usually doesn't last long. The world we live in, after all, is distracting and we've been conditioned to have brief attention spans.
The overall effects of Knee-Down Mind, however, last longer than the precious few miles we experience in this state. Instead of filling with a righteous anger at the morons on our roads, we react to our immediate situation and move on. We don't fret about our jobs, because (at least for now) we're up on two wheels and life is good.
This is the mythical "freedom" we hear all the chaps-wearing yuppie bikers going on about on the Discovery channel. It's mental freedom as much as physical freedom. We're free from the caged-in little thoughts, irritants and attachments that plague our four-wheeled cousins.
Like any mental state, however, we have to maintain it ourselves. Frequent riding helps, which is why high-milers tend to get grouchy when deprived of their bikes for any length of time. It's difficult to keep a Knee-Down Mind when the caged world closes in, and a Caged Mind is full of angry little demons relentlessly poking tender places, doing everything in their power to keep us annoyed and distracted.
To maintain a Knee-Down attitude when motorcycle-riding isn't an option (I hear that some states have a horrible annual occurrence called "winter"), one must strive for genuine, uncaged experiences. Get outside, away from the TV, computer or whatever else keeps one trapped in artificial light. Breathe the free air. Do something physically taxing. Picking up heavy objects and putting them down somewhere else works for me. Have a hobby that is far removed from what you do at work or school. Be passionate about it. Get uncomfortable now and then.
And, of course, ride whenever you can.