You may be wondering why I would even consider starting a new religion, considering the number already in existence. The answer is simple: I have no choice.
Now, before you get your knickers knotted, I’m not about to claim that I’ve been handed the secrets of the Universe by a topless angel via a platinum beer pitcher and am now constrained by a sacred duty to ride forth and spread the Goodness Gracious.
…although I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility out of hand, if I were you.
Nor am I about to invoke a pantheon and insist that the only way to Heaven is through their worship. That’s just one way. Even my way, isn’t the only way. (But we’ll get to that later.)
So in the absence of divine edict or prophecy, you are now wondering where the “religion” part comes in. There are two parts to the answer: The first part being that a philosophy entails the intellectual and the material. Intellectual understanding is not, and can never be, the same as direct knowledge. Think of the difference between knowing how a motorcycle is ridden, and knowing how to ride a motorcycle. The difference lies in the feeling of the thing, such feelings being something other than intellect, and not just physical sensations. Those two ruled out, there is only one thing left, and that’s the spirit.
The second part of the answer is just as problematic a term: faith. In order to order one’s life, one has at least to believe that it is possible, whatever else one believes in. Even so small a sliver of faith, is still faith, and now, again, we are no longer in the realm of the intellect, where philosophy resides.
So fuck it, we’ve got us a new religion. There’s nothing else to call it.
So what will we call it, when asked for specifics?
Seriously, what else did you expect? Have you met me?
Zen: a state of being by which the Universe can be experienced and one’s place in it known
Biker: …let me put it this way: your typical guru heads up a mountain, bathes in a river or something, or takes a pilgrimage, has a great realization, then comes back to the bazaar and gives voice to the realization, in case anyone wants to try and share the experience.
I’ve ridden a motorcycle to the top of a mountain. I’ve ridden one to a body of water at the bottom of a valley. I’ve ridden one along a hell of a lot of flat grassland in between, and now I’m sitting down in the largest bazaar in the world, the internet, to share my experience for anyone who wants it, because the machine is the thing which made everything make sense to me.
If that seems odd, may I point out that the two most popular self-help books in history were written as a guide on playing tennis and a treatise on how to succeed in commission sales. Anything can be a doorway to enlightenment; the bike just happened to be mine.
Maybe it’s yours, maybe it ain’t. Go in peace either way, and I hope I at last give you something to think about.
Just to be sure that we’re clear, I’m not trying to establish myself as some kind of Pope; frankly, I’m too busy to deal with a hierarchical structure, and to be honest those structures tend to bury the original purpose of a spiritual movement anyway. No, I’m just living by example.
That being said, any religion needs some basic premises, something to keep in mind and hold onto, fall back on. To that end, I will close by sharing with thee, the Ets of Zen Bikerism (of which there are Ten).
- Never Think You’re an Expert
- You Control the Bike
- The Speed Limit is Fast Enough
- Your Ego is Less Important Than Your Life
- Know When To Get Off the Bike
- Be Aware
- Be More Than An Animal
- Be Reverent
- Be Honest
- Be Alive
In the coming weeks, I will expand on these in detail, and by the end of it, I will show you how I performed a miracle.
There had to be at least one.
That is the Truth, and The Truth rides a motorcycle.