Source: Tao of Motorcycles

Some time ago I was asked why I didn’t go to church. I said I did go to church every day I went out riding my motorcycle.

For many motorcyclists, the ceremony of going for a ride provides the same spiritual sustenance other people find through the ceremonies conducted by organized reli­gions. The similarities are striking. We wear our leathers and riding suits as vest­ments, we have a prescribed ritual for starting our engines, and our favorite roads compose our liturgy.

The very nature of riding a motorcycle forces the rider into a spiritual state. Think of it this way: most religious systems encourage some form of meditative technique. Christians have prayer. Some Native Americans meditate inside sweat lodges, and Eastern spiritual systems advocate elaborate chanting techniques. All these methods have as their common general goal the transcendence of the self or ego in order to get in touch with some greater force.

Motorcycling forces riders to transcend their egos—to empty themselves and exist in the world around them. The consequences of not being totally aware of their actions and environment, of becoming distracted by the baggage of their everyday lives, are too great. When you’re out in the world on a bike, you must be completely in the moment, completely aware of your surroundings, or you may find yourself meeting your concept of God earlier than you might have hoped.

But when everything is working, when you and your bike are totally in sync and the road rushing under your feet feels like an extension of your body—at those times, you get in touch with divinity.

12 Responses

  1. “Flow”has a beautiful musical rhythm suggesting God loves music…Einstein said “The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. “

  2. Actually Sid…If i can expound for a sec or two…thanks.. “Findin your mojo” or groove thang (LOL) is alot like finding THAT ever so delicate groove in a wax or vinyl record. Unless you ACTUALLY find that particular mojo which moves you-in my case, motorcycles and riding-the needle on the record player will only become static white noise (spiritual noise if you will)…but man, when you find THAT groove in the record of this great wonderful cosmic soup then all that flows from this is harmonics of the spiritual kind. All melody and flow…!!!!!!


  4. I love your metaphor,”kissing GOD on the lips”…losing yourself in a risky challenge is at the core of the spiritual experience…its what athletes call “being in the zone.”

  5. Thank you for articulating this piece. My friends stare at me with quizzical looks when i talk about “kissing GOD on the lips” when i ride. Glad to know Im not alone.

  6. Marion…But Krishnamurti also said to be fully aware usually requires an extraordinary event such as riding a motorcycle…Sid

  7. I agree with you, Sid. I have no experience at all with motorcycles, but I do think that we bring the spiritual aspect of our self to whatever we do if we are alert to that experience. As Krishnamurti said: “The observer and the observed are one.” I think this is a wonderful website..thank you for making it available…marion

  8. It is strange that so many people have negative feelings toward motorcycles and their riders…I suspect spiritual experiences often exist in the most unlikely places.

  9. Yes, it really was a lovely post. The ideas transferred so well to riding horses. I guess the TAO is the key; probably could apply to gardening as well…or any other human activity. marion

  10. Nice article, captures the zen moments biking provides really well : )

  11. Thanks Marion…My next blog will be the “Tao of Horsemanship” ~Sid

  12. What a wonderful concept. I ride horses and can use the word horse where the word motorcycle is used. Wonderful ideas…thank you. marion

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