Thursday, 31 May 2018

The Monk That Bought a Harley

Can I, in clear conscience, claim to be a "Monk?" Well, I have been on an intentional "Spiritual path" for over 31 years. What of the other 27yrs. one might inquire?  Were they then, the "unspiritual" phase of my life? I would suggest, no they were not. They didn't contribute any less to my development - so perhaps then, the flip-side of the same coin. (It most certainly was me throughout!!)

Back to the question of being a monk. Consider I have shaved my head for the last fifteen years. I would suggest that presents the opportunity to allow the reflections of others (the less than helpful and the down-right pointless) to become, "water off a duck's back" (to "become water"- you thought I was going to start quoting Bruce Lee didn't you?). Of course there is a great deal more to the development and discipline of the monastic life than shaving ones head.

Recently I became curious what actually still grows on my head. Suffice to say, what fertile follicles remain will not likely yield me any style magazine photo-shoots. In very short order I restored the long held "part in my hair" (as in - I once again parted with all of it..) I felt peace and equilibrium restored the moment the scruff was removed. After 15yrs. I could fathom the need to own a comb again (not to mention "hair-care" products).. It seems to me far too much fuss is made about hair.

I'd say it's all indicative of my growing conclusion that "I" & none of "it" be taken too seriously. Oft times these spiritual tales involve someone renouncing vast material belongings and wealth, in order to become aware of their vast "inner wealth." I've renounced all kinds of shit! So what am I doing now, buying a Harley? And in the next breath claiming a continued spiritual path and monk status? Monk, mystic, healer, intuitive - maybe I'm all of it, maybe none of it - who care!!?

Maybe the next phase of my development is, renouncing - renouncing. Or at least, to stop considering I'm anything special that I have renounced something in the first place. I'm fed up with "special interest groups; many of whom position themselves, head and shoulders above others in other groups (or often even above those in the group they frequent). I deeply value inclusion and interconnection. Now I cannot renounce the groups that exercise this divineness - or I would be practicing the same exclusion. But I can no longer abide the crucifixion of someone by the group - just to secure my place within the group, the group simply isn't that important. (my integrity is a more pressing matter).

I belong to the human race, I have compassion for the pain and suffering of others but I don't believe anyone's suffering is quantifiably, more than another's.

Many people can tell you all day long how they have been victimized - but they grow mysteriously & suddenly silent when asked in what ways have they perpetrated pain and suffering.

I don't think I'm anything more or less that I own & ride a Harley. I'm aware of the privilege (which I won't apologize for) & I intend to thoroughly enjoy riding it. I am acutely aware of my mortality and the "risk" involved - neither the bike nor me are immortal (at least, not the physicality that rides it). I know nothing material can make me happy - including this bike. It doesn't mean for a minute I can't enjoy what the material world has to offer, while I can - then, when it's over, it's over.

This is not any "mid-life crisis" - I just said, I'm aware of my mortality, but I'm also too busy enjoying my life to dwell on regrets. I'm living now!

Why a "Harley?" Because I've always wanted one! Is it the only way to know the joy of soul freedom - of course not. In my case it is a fantastic means to experience my freedom of choice and you better believe, it's some kinda fun!!

Is life all about having fun? Well, maybe not entirely - but sure as shit, it's not about being a self-deprecating, insufferable martyr either!

Dreams can be realized here and now - who's to say "it's too late?"- except the one abandoning their dream. My book, "What Goes Around Comes Around" has a great many comprehensive guideline questions that people can use to examine their lives. To find out what they value, what they believe (or no longer believe) what is helpful to realize their visions and what is not..

I can't stand in that book and not live my dreams!

There is an immediacy present while riding, wind in the face (albeit also at times, some form of "747" from the insect kingdom ricocheting off my chin) - I have observed: deer, eagles, ravens, herons, butterflies, dragon flies. The visibility has also allowed me to see what I believe is far more turkey vultures than usual - this observance results in my "turning over" any stories I might imagine about why there are vultures circles overhead where I'm riding - it spoils the enjoyment factor.

I love the scenic seaside ride - I have walked those beaches, run parts of that route and sat on the beaches most of my life. The experience of the ever changing vistas while riding there are breath-taking. The physical proximity lends to this intimacy, as does the need to closely observe the physical environment for "risk factors - i.e. road conditions, other motor vehicles and pedestrians - all of which can go from benign sharing of the road to a clear and present danger instantaneously.

It's purely magical to ride through a blizzard of windswept blossoms from Victoria's legions of flowering trees. There is never just cause to seek a short cut when riding - an additional block or ten, just extends the fun. Of course on must reckon with their own limitations and get off and take a break to alleviate fatigue. Though appearances might suggest otherwise in some cases, motorcycling calls for the maintenance of physical fitness and coordination (consider both hands are need to operate clutch on one side, throttle and front brake on the other - and steer, one foot for the gear shift and the other for the rear brake).

Presence isn't any longer just a "New Age" buzz word, it can literally be a life saving state of mind.

The mechanical power of a motor cycle is staggering. With just the twist of the wrist one can go from zero to "Holy Shit" in seconds. Still, I'm not suffering under any illusion that this is the "power" referred to and sought after, in spiritual pursuit.

Just the sae a good ride is for me a joyful and transcendent experience.

Who's to say that what one person considers fraught with peril; or nothing more, than and ego-feeding compensation - isn't for another, the epitome of self-connection and meditation in motion.

Does this then mean I will join ranks with the other "bikers" to form my new community? Not necessarily - while there can be some enjoyment and camaraderie in socializing with those with common interests, I (being who I am)  don't align with the bravado, machismo, and associated vibe that can be found in some circles.

I may be clad in leather while I ride; this represents my want to avoid (should I ever dump the bike) the severity of an asphalt assisted weight loss program. I both seek being comfortable in my skin and I want to keep it too!!

I'm not "too cool for school" never was, never will be! This then is just another semester in my life long curriculum.

I did register and ride in a "charity ride" with 40 or 50 others riders. The ride was put on as a fundraiser for a group in town here called "Bikers Against Child Abuse..." It was amazing to be in a procession of 50 (mostly Harleys) and know the money was going to support this very worthy cause.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Wandering, Worrying, Wondering.....

What compels
You ask,
That I
As one that
Is the consort
Of Saints 
Ascended Masters?

A self-loathing
So complete
To embrace
In truth
To me
Far more painful
My self-deception!!

"Spiritual name-dropping"
A desperate ploy
To attain
The love
That I 
Insisted on renouncing
From myself.

I seek 
A love/God
That is real
To me..
No longer
For personal
Too long
Has my ladder
The wrong wall..

I seek
No further accolades
For my heart's plea
For clemency
From my 
Personal hell

I pray
For grace
For which
My response
Is to be
Profound appreciation
Awe & reverence
I am worthy
Not necessarily deserving
And certainly not

My life choices
Have groomed me
Near exclusively
To become
Vaguely acquainted

My God
A lifetime spent
Beating my chest
Quivering beneath
A quagmire
My own shame.

Either way
Demanding - "my due.."
To vast tides
Ample cause
For gratitude
To release
My grip upon
Self-perceived persecution 
Or to relax
Self-appointed haughtiness
That I might
Come to my knees.

What time remains?
Can a lifetime
Be reconciled
A personal Autumn
Upon the horizon?

How broad 
Is the embrace
For one 
Modern day Prodigal Son?

I have 
No answers
Though I'm told
Hold the key

I know nothing
Of the heart's 
Of history's
"Sinners and Saints"

What if
This were 
The last call
For reconciliation?

What could possible
As more pressing
Than my heart's 

R. O'Neill (May 10th, 2018)