What should I write about myself? What sort of information would readers of a blog titled Motorcycle Monk want to know about me? Well, for starters, I self-identify as Buddhist. Pretty sure that’s not a shock to anyone. I love to travel. No real surprise there either, I’m guessing. So, where does one start? The beginning? OK. Let’s try that.
I started life in a Protestant Christian household. My parents dragged us to church every Sunday until we (I have a twin brother) turned eleven when we were given the option to choose for ourselves whether we wanted to go. Oddly enough, permission to STOP going to church was the beginning of my spiritual journey. I wandered from faith to faith, and from denomination to denomination searching for meaning and purpose. I first discovered Buddhism at age 16.
I found myself sort of bouncing between the two worlds of Christianity and Buddhism for a few years when, the most unlikely of people (a Catholic priest) really helped me convert to Buddhism as my key driving philosophy. Father Frank, a patient in the chiropractic office I worked in at the time, gave me his beloved book titled “Two Masters, One Message”. The book chronicles the lives and times of Jesus Christ and the Buddha. It changed my life. The two spiritual leaders have similar origin stories, had similar experiences, and in many ways, shared the same teachings. Both were called Master or Teacher. The key difference? Buddha never said that following his teaching and his path is the only way to spiritual transcendence. Whereas Christ, in the name of his father taught that the Christian way is the only way. One is inclusive, the other is exclusive. I chose inclusive. I chose the path that says every one is right and no one is wrong. And my journey towards a more peaceful existence began.
Then I found motorcycling. At age 22 I learned how to ride a motorcycle. I had ridden on the back of my friend’s bike several times but it wasn’t until I was piloting my own that I found peace in the roar of the wind. I found solace in the connection between man and machine as we carved our way through curvy canyon roads. I found joy at the feeling of shade alternating with sunlight as I passed beneath trees. I found my church.
My Buddhist church was my weekly motorcycle rides. Whether I was cruising along the beach on Highway 1 or navigating The Snake in Malibu’s foothills or careening through the forests that stretch out along Angeles Crest Highway, I was at peace. I was in silent contemplation. There were no other voices, no music, no distractions. I was meditating, in a weird, highly-focused, but not-very-meditative-clear-your-mind focused kind of meditating. It’s difficult to explain but it’s how I felt, and its how I still feel.
I’ve been riding now for over 26 years and every time I ride, I feel that connection to nature and to my own being; my own self. Ride with me. Follow along with my as I chronicle my journey here online.