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chasing after wind, riding waves.

February 14, 2011

Sometimes, I think chasing after wind – that is precisely what I am doing.

Wind cannot be caught, but it can used. A skilled captain of a vessel can put up his or her sails, and use the wind to travel to a desired destination. And a surfer cannot surf if there is no wind, because, if there is no wind, there are no waves.

Waves, for the unskilled surfer, or ship’s pilot, are terribly dangerous. A surfer or sailor becomes more skilled by gradually taking on bigger waves or stronger wind..and learning.

We take on challenges. Our challenges are our waves. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have challenges that upon proper perspective, do not loom so large, and we, through struggle, learn to surmount these challenges, and surf these waves.

We all have our waves. Some of us feel like we are always in dangerous waters, with no time to rest. Others of us experience times of rest, but then the waves come up again, and we don’t feel up to the challenge. Those of us who do not drown manage to learn to surf the waves created by the wind in our lives.

It’s not an easy process. I know by experience that learning how to surf requires risk, and is often terribly uncomfortable. Even the greatest surfers in the world have swallowed amazing amounts of saltwater and have choked on it. They have experienced many many wipeouts that have almost killed them.

But, they get back on their board.. often, with smiles on their faces. They love life.

I don’t know if this love of life can be cultivated by choice. I think sometimes that it can. Other times we cultivate this love of life unintentionally, as a survival mechanism. Regardless, this love of life is required.

Or we just don’t make it.

Chasing after wind. As I mentioned above, wind cannot be caught. I use the analogy of chasing after wind to mean chasing something that is perhaps impossible to reach. We cannot hold wind in our hands, we cannot catch it.

It takes wisdom to know if what we are chasing after can be reached, can be caught, or if it is something we cannot attain. Sometimes it takes years to learn that some wind that blows just stirs up the waves in our lives, and we have to be able to ride these waves instead of letting them drown us.

I think that chasing after a certain kind of spirituality .. any certain kind, might be, for me, chasing after wind.

Spirituality is something that cannot be forced, it is something that people find naturally. Trying to force one’s self into any kind of spiritual mold causes damage to a person’s spirit and well-being.

My compulsions sometimes lead me to try to force myself into a spiritual mold. This is because all humans need some sort of spiritual life, or so I believe.

But, so far, I cannot be a this or a that.

It took me many years before I was able to firmly say I was not and am not a Christian.

I visited a Catholic cathedral yesterday. I had not intended to, but we were downtown, needed to make a rest stop, and also were timing the drive between a house we are considering buying, and the cathedral where my parents and aunt spend much of their time.

Since I was already there, I decided to see more of the cathedral than just one of its bathrooms, so I wandered inside.

Yes, it was incredible and beautiful and even amazing in there.

And I thought it was also.. completely unnecessary and artificial.

Manmade houses of worship, no matter how ornate and gigantic, are not needed.

People need only to step outside to see the beauty that is nature. If there be any god that exists, any form of spirituality to be found, I think it can be found in nature, not in any church or temple.

We do not need images and architecture made by humans to remind us of the sublime and beautiful. We just need to step outside.

Nature has its own order. It does what it does, and does not need us to worship it.

But we can gain peace from viewing nature, and watching its patterns, and trying to live in harmony with it can bring us a deeper meaning in life.

I think that nature shall be my spiritual inspiration, and I don’t need to go back to the Christian church, and don’t need to join a sangha and become a Buddhist either.

I do not need the trappings and head clutter of organized religion.

It is likely I don’t need all the various parts of pagan worship either. Or the worship of any pagan deities.

It is true that without a religion or spiritual practice, I do feel somewhat lost, and that something very important that should be inside me is missing.

But in the past, when I have sought out various spiritual paths, faiths, teachers.. nothing has worked out well at all, and I was always left feeling worse.

The emptiness and sadness I feel at not having an organized spiritual path has so far been easier to bear than trying to fit into a spiritual community.

I don’t know when this will change.

I feel like going back to my pursuit of some faith or other is more chasing after wind, and struggling against the waves stirred up by my own mind.

I need to weather the waves of this storm, like an experienced boat captain or expert surfer.. to become more resilient and unafraid.

And the wind does die down, and the waves do pass, and the see becomes calm.

So I shall await the days of gentle breezes, and calm seas. And knowing what stirs up the wind, and where the giant waves await.. that helps. I am learning to avoid such places in my mind and being, and actual physical places of worship.

I will not be attending any Buddhist sanghas, or dig more deeply into Buddhism. That will bring me harm.

I will not seek out pagans either. That, in the past, has not gone at all well either.

If I am to become more spiritually active, it will happen more naturally, I think. Some time in the future perhaps, I will somehow naturally develop spiritual practices.

In the mean time though, I will pursue music, a better attitude about life, try to more patiently observe nature, perhaps work with animals..

and avoid chasing after wind.

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