July 26, 2021

What Is Zen Bikerism?

Zen Bikerism is a practical way to experience the unity of self and universe. It’s a good feeling, with 34% less dogma than the leading religions.

A lot of people have the idea that “religion” is just a polite term for “money grubbing mind control cult.” To think that is to misunderstand religion.

Now, I’m not going to pretend that some corporations don’t use the idea of religion as a basis for grubbing money and controlling minds, because that does happen. And even when started with noble intentions, a hierarchical corporate structure inevitably becomes more about the perpetuation of the structure than it is about the religion.

And a “religion” in the truest sense is just how you connect with the universe.

That’s it. It’s all about connection.

Look at Hinduism, for example. There is no central authority in Hinduism; the term itself is a very large blanket covering a multitude of ways and means. When I was in high school, I read somewhere that there were 600 different varieties of Hinduism in the southern tip of India alone.

That scans. There is always more than one way. The paths to enlightenment are as different and as plentiful as the people on the planet.

It’s the connection that’s important. Not the method. Or to put it another way, it’s not what you ride, it’s that you ride.

That’s what bikery is all about. Bikers have some conventions and commonalities, but the thing that really unites us is the path of everybody doing their own thing…together.

That’s a great way to go through life. That’s a great way to feel the connection with the Universe.

And it’s modern. A lot of people think that “religion” is just a bunch of outdated stories and hoopla from the far-off land of irrelevant past. In some cases, it would be hard to argue the point. I’m not here to argue the point.

I’m here to say that religion can and should be practical and modern. If your spiritual pursuits are separated from your daily life by a big monastery wall…well, you’re doing it wrong.

Robert Pirsig famously remarked that when you’re traveling by car the whole world is just a big TV show passing by without your participation, but on a bike, you’re in the world. You’re a part of, not apart from.

Nothing is more practical than transportation, and nothing is more spiritual than connection.

Combine that with the element of faith that all bikers have, that any situation which arises can be dealt with, and you’ll see that I didn’t really start a religion, I just acknowledged that one already existed.

There isn’t any aspect of riding and maintaining a motorcycle that can’t be applied to the rest of your life. The machine teaches by example. I’m just here to try and put it into words. The words are what I have to point you to the feeling, which is the true reality of any thing, including your life.

Be a part of, not apart from. You figure out how to do that, and the whole world is yours. This isn’t the only way, but it is a way that works.

Barbecued chicken and alcohol are sacraments but not obligations, and the big holiday of Zen Bikerism is the first Saturday of April, Biker Movie Night. Other than that, while there is no dogma, there is a handy list of principles to fall back on in your quest for spiritual connection.