I received some beautiful feedback from my last post. I only wish I/people could figure out a simple/foolproof way to use the Blogger comments feature, so that I wasn't the only one in on the conversation.
To summarize briefly: my movie-going companion was inspired to go wind-surfing for the first time in, I think, a long time. She is also starting a blog. Another friend wrote that drumming is his way of connecting to something bigger. And Brian, my surfing instructor/husband clarified this weekend that he too is simultaneously seeking to "find himself" and claim a distinct spiritual path.
This made me wonder:
Is there a difference between cultivating joy and pursuing a spiritual path? Between "finding oneself" and finding the divine?
What is a spiritual journey in the first place? And what are the spiritual traveler's equivalents to a ticket, a backpack, a map and a good pair of walking shoes?
Does the spiritual "journey" ever end? What is gained at the conclusion of a spiritual "quest"? And isn't every "path," ultimately a spiritual one?
I am, of course, not the inventor of these questions. If I were, well, at the very least there would be no such thing as The University of Chicago Divinity School - of which I am a graduate. And about which I will be very tactful and say very little.
I will say this...the spiritual endeavor ("endeavor" being one of my favorite words and "endeavors" being some of my favorite things) is all about the discovery of these questions and not necessarily the finding of definitive answers. Or rather, while we may find answers that suit us for a while, if we are alive, we may find, equally, that the answers change with time and mileage.
I am not a newbie to the spiritual questing thing. It may have taken decades for me to give a name to the way in which I live my life - my "lifestyle" - but it has always been characterized by an overwhelming drive for wisdom of a deep, enduring and useful kind.
In its current manifestation, my spiritual quest is not only about surfing and water spirits, and it is not about writing for my own amusement. It is also about sharing my experiences with the intention that each failure, success and musing may touch someone and inspire him or her to ask and seek answers to their own authentic questions.