The Tao of Wow!

19 10 2011

Person, paddle and SUP - all you really need...

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.



7 responses

19 10 2011
Steve Howard

I found your blog via a search for Surly (or maybe Bike Friday) info and have continued to enjoy reading what you have to say ever since. I’ve never commented before, but had to this time. What an excellent post!

For me, those moments come on my cross country skis, up in Gatineau Park just as the sun sets on a cold winter afternoon…makes me feel alive!


19 10 2011

These are great thoughts, Vik. I’m a pastor. I spend 50+ hours a week in a church working with people and having spiritual conversations. But my connection with God happens most when I’m pedaling a bike through the rain or floating down a river in my kayak. There’s no question of that. I think we are easily distracted. But being out in God’s creation leaves less room for us to miss Him.

19 10 2011

To quote a friend: “I’d rather be on my bike thinking about god than in church thinking about my bike”.

19 10 2011
Bill Russell

During the third night at PBP this year I carried on a great conversation with a fellow from India. I asked him who was the God of Cycling in the Hindu religion; he demurred, even pointing out the wheels on the flag of India weren’t bicycle wheels!
PBP was both Heaven and Hell on earth. Ecstatic rapture and agonized despair, all aboard an All-Road!

19 10 2011

I’ve never felt the presence of God in a church before. It’s when I’m in the woods hiking that I have the best conversations with God. Long conversations without ever having to say a word.

19 10 2011

Thanks Vik. As much as I like the product and sport writing that you do, I enjoy these opportunities for reflection as well. I’m glad you’re a part of my community.

26 10 2011
Alvin Lee

There is something in our DNA that connects naturally with nature – floating down a river on a kayak admiring the mountains or cycling along rich green padi fields in a light drizzle in Thailand with a good buddy. These are moments when Im spiritually alive, in awe of the beauty before me. I feel God’s presence and care for me, and am grateful to be alive to savour His handiwork. Thank you for sharing your spiritual reflections Vik! 🙂

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