Do you know the Talking Heads song, “Road to Nowhere?” It’s always been one of my favorites. So sweet and silly, and yet there’s a deeper message there for sure. You can pull all different kinds of meanings about the journey of life from it. That’s where the first half of the blog title comes from. The second half comes from my belief that achieving a state of no self is essential for reaching spiritual fulfillment. What do I mean by that? Well, I don’t know. That’s the point of this “journey by blogging.” I know a little of Buddhist teachings in that the spiritually divine lies in each of us, but the key is to get over your “self” to unleash that divine essence. I know that letting go of ego is important to the process as well. Having suffered some major bruises to my ego in my life, I am happy to subscribe to this! In fact, some of those bruises have come while seeking a spiritual way. Here’s a gem of an example.
When I was in college, I was invited to an Indian Sun Dance by a friend I met while working as a naturalist at a state park. The Sun Dance is extremely sacred to the Indian people. It’s a ceremony that represents life, death, and rebirth. It involves self-sacrifice, prayer, sweat lodges, meditation. I was excited to go, and nervous too. I knew this was a big deal. It was going to be 4 days of living within a culture I madly respected. But I was ignorant. And of course very white. During the Tree Ceremony in which the whole camp gathers to raise the tree to which a few of the Indian men will pierce themselves, I hopped right in and raised my hands to help carry the tree. It wasn’t long before I started to hear murmuring behind me–and not of the good variety. Finally, I turned to the women behind me. “Is there a problem?” I asked. Yes. There was. It was July, and I was dressed as a typical college-aged woman would on a hot day, which was practically nude as far as these people were concerned. Then it dawned on me that everyone, EVERYONE, around me had on full-length skirts or pants and long sleeves. I fell out of the crowd awkwardly. One sympathetic woman advised in a hushed voice that we were in the presence of a Medicine Man, and that showing a lot of bare flesh has a negative impact on his power. I was hurting the ceremony. I was horrified. I wanted to sink into the ground. I seriously considered fleeing as fast as humanly possible. Thankfully, a group of women rallied and gave me a supply of long skirts and shirts that would last me the 4 days. It turned out to be one of the most powerful experiences of my life.
So, that was a great big tangent, but it shows one curve in my spiritual journey. And there have been many. I grew from this experience partly because of letting go of ego and putting myself in the hands of these fierce but gentle people.
I’m still learning. I’ve suffered negative distractions and set-backs and I’m still seeking the right road.
Some more basic information: I’m a Unitarian Universalist, a poet, a humanist, an audiophile, a wife, a mother, a compassionate friend, and a perpetual seeker. All of these elements will guide me on the road I travel. Let’s go!