Over the years I’ve been exposed to a number of spiritual traditions.
- My dad is Hindu.
- My mom is Protestant.
- I went to a Catholic high school.
- I practiced yoga daily for over 3yrs when I was younger.
- I’ve read extensively about Buddhism and other Eastern traditions.
- And I’ve had friends that came were on many different spiritual paths.
Now that I am in my 40’s I find myself spending less and less time reading books about this topic or going to places where spirituality or religious experience is the focus. Not because I have no interest in that part of my life. In fact as I get older it seems to me that this is the whole point of life – to get a handle on your life and what it means. I’m finding that the most rewarding place to explore the experience of my life and to understand what it means to me is not in a yoga studio or in a temple, but in the everyday moments I live. There is no spiritual guide to help you down this path. Surfing and cycling don’t have a religious dogma to learn or spiritual instructional program. But, there is no reason that you can’t connect with God just as well flying through the air kiteboarding or gliding along in your sea kayak as you can in a yoga studio or church.
In fact I think that engaging in the direct experience of all that life has to offer in these ways has a benefit. Since there is no book, no manual or lexicon your mind is not being channeled down specific paths of thought. Your experience is beyond the bounds and constraints of language. Without words or a set of ideas someone else taught you you can engage with your life on a deeper level.
That lets paddling a SUP become a moving meditation. A consciousness expanding voyage into your reality. An appropriate metaphor when you picture a tiny SUPer floating on a vast ocean.
Your bike can be rolling along on two big prayer wheels as you pedal.
The wave that rises up behind you and pushes you along on your surfboard has travelled from halfway around the planet to interact with you in this one brief moment which makes it easy to appreciate the infinite connections we have with everything else.
Just to be clear I’m not down on churches, yoga studios or any other spiritual tradition. I figure there are so many flavours of humanity out there not everyone is going to get turned on to the same thing. Find what makes you passionate and embrace it.