Guy Martin - riding across a Chinese desert in 'Our Guy in China ' - reawakened my desire for a fixed wheel bike. It's been interesting to watch the way my mind has worked with this - turning it over to view it from every angle as I consider multiple technical and economic solutions. It's not as though I couldn't afford to buy one, but would it be more fun to recycle parts I already own? Which frame? What gear ratio?
Zen invites us to view our mental lives as if we were the subjects of a laboratory experiment, noting with interest what's going on - without chasing down & acting on every thought. Rather, letting the thinking process be without adding to it the extra fuel of intention. Easily said...
It's quite disturbing to see how much the thought processes ferret around turning up every possible stone to see what's under it. We're natural problem solvers, and seek an optimal solution. Sometimes, however, a 'problem' is too complex and we can literally go round in circles. Just when we think we've reached the very best solution, another possibility pops into our heads. This (forgive the pun) mental cycling could go on for ever.
When it's a practical problem we face, we may eventually settle on one path of action. But if the problem we're dealing with involves other people, relationships, future possibilities we simply can't second-guess (like: job prospects, house prices, our chances of inheritance...) it's easy to see how the issue could rumble on indefinitely - always nagging at us, incapable of resolution because we'll never be able to cover every option & control all the pieces. I think a situation like that has all the ingredients for obsession.