Tag: Religion

Sipping Coconuts under Palm Trees

Sipping Coconuts under Palm Trees in Thailand

After a little over a month in Bali, I am returning home. The beautiful sunsets, amazing surf, and sipping coconuts under palm trees while meditating about life are going to come to end.

A part of me is toying with the idea of just staying out here. I love it so much and there is everything I need out here to be happy. I know that I will return again and I have been looking in to just buying a place out here so I can just live out here a couple of months out of the year.

The only draw back is that out here is life is so slow and easy-going that I would imagine it would be hard for me to get things done. It is such a quality problem. When you live in paradise and you have everything you need, there is not a lot of motivation to work and strive for new things. It’s like a never-ending vacation for those who live here, and that’s the seduction of this place. Bali has a way of taking you out of your environment, and then slowing you down to the pace and way of life here. It is the only place on the planet that has been able to do that to me. I am an A-Type personality full of passion, motivation and an undying sense of urgency to get things done. After about a week out here, all I am motivated to do is Surf, read, write and meditate. With the occasional outings with friends and hitting a club here and there; a good time to me is sleeping in, surfing, reflecting, and then just enjoying a good conversation with some interesting people, and this place has no shortage of them.

People usually ask me what I miss about my country when I travel, I always have to stop and think about it because I have conditioned myself to live in the moment for so long I usually don’t find myself ever missing a place, instead, I always end missing the people who I have met over the years throughout my adventures. California is my home though. I was born and raised there and it is a part of me. It’s not a bad place to end up and compared to a lot of the places I’ve been to in the world, and I am extremely grateful to come home to San Diego where I reside currently.

The world is getting smaller. Technology allows me to stay connected with all of the people I have met all over the world and when you break it down, I can get anywhere I want to on this planet in about 2 days (unless your going to the middle of Siberia). Everything is a plane flight away. This makes me extremely grateful, because the ability for common people to travel to far corners of the earth has only been around for about 70 years. 100 years ago, if you wanted to go to Europe from America, you were going to have to take a carriage or car to a boat and then embark on a 1-2 month voyage just to get to some place. Only people who were rich were able to afford such a voyage. To be able to scale that amount of time down to just a couple of days and couple thousand bucks to leave for months at a time is fucking amazing to me. I mean I hop on a plane in LA, and 6 movies and 10 cranberry juices later, I am half way around the world immersed in a foreign land where everything is different, and to me that experience alone is one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling things I have ever experienced in this life. If you are a traveler, you know exactly what I am talking about, and if not, maybe it’s high time you spin a globe, pick a destination and get out of your comfort zone.

Paradise is defined as “a place or state of bliss, felicity or delight.” It is not necessarily attached to a location and although it can be, I believe that Paradise is found within ones soul. Buddhists call it Nirvana, Christians call it heaven, Jews call it Shamayim, but to me, it all means the same thing. Like I had mentioned before about living in the moment, I am not terribly concerned with what will happen to me in the after-life or even the future really. I have subscribed to the concept of living as if I were going to die tomorrow and planning as if I am going to live forever. Spending a massive amount of time pontificating about the unknown afterlife and future can be fun an enlightening at times, but the idea of dedicating a continual amount of time to this is both boring and unfulfilling to me.

The truth is that I am alive now. Time is made up, safety is an illusion, and although some humans claim it, I have never been 100% convinced that were going anywhere but 6-Feet under when we die, and we will die, the day will absolutely come so no need to fear that either. The hypothetical clock is ticking and has been for a long time. So, instead of worrying about all that noise, I just live every single day to the fullest seeking to find truth and experiencing every single person, place, thing or idea I can immerse myself in while my soul occupies this body.

My beliefs and principles are negotiable, and as a result of that I have been able to experience and do things that I don’t think most people get to in their lifetime. I studied world religions for years, went to Israel, read the Koran, hung with Pastors and Spiritual Guru’s, traveled throughout South East Asia and was open to the idea of adopting any belief system that got me closer to my understanding of God. The funny thing is that after all that, my underlying spiritual belief remained the same. It was the simple belief in a Higher Power of my own understanding, a principal introduced to me at the age of 16 years old through a 12-Step program I came in to while getting sober from Alcohol and Drugs.

My path to spirituality has been long, vast and downright tedious at times, but I have approached it with the same enthusiasm and tenacity that I have with everything else in my life never getting to caught up on any one thing and being open to it all believing that all religions and people for that matter are basically good and mean well. To deny or discount anyone’s beliefs would make me just like the people who are shut off, or unwilling to be open to a new understanding, and ultimately will not allow their belief system to be questioned or negotiated no matter how much sense logic makes in spite of what they believe. To me, those are some of the scariest people on Earth; they are the type of people who start wars over that kind of shit.

What this all means is that Paradise, to me at least; is being completely ok with everything exactly that way it is in this very moment. The more I realize that I cannot change anyone and the only real control I have over anything is how I react, and the example I set as a human being, the more easier my life gets. I do want to effect change and help those who want it to reach this kind of spiritual enlightenment, but you cannot force those who don’t want it and to judge those people for not wanting it would be hypocritical, because I spent a large part of my life in that same place.

What ever you believe is totally cool. You don’t have to conform to anyone or any religion’s or societies’ belief system if you don’t want to. You are free to do what you want; after all it is your life. If you are an atheist, agnostic, spiritually conflicted Catholic, or you simply don’t know where you stand, I would urge to seek truth in places you never thought to look before. That’s where I found my faith, and my faith is in no way shape or form affiliated to any one religion, if anything I have taken the teachings and traditions from many religions and use what I like leaving the rest behind. This is how I have found my paradise, my state of Nirvana. I don’t need to be in Bali, or some incredibly beautiful place to reach it either, it is in my soul. Besides, it has been my experience that in the darkest of times when I really needed to tap in to this place and ask my higher power for direction, I’m usually not on vacation or in a place like Bali, I’m in life, dealing with real shit, real problems that need solution. That’s when my faith has counted the most.

One final note, when I do die, which could be tomorrow or in 100 years, I have no fear going to where it is I will go next. To me, that is the ultimate adventure, the one true great unknown besides space. I have lived each and every day to the fullest, I have no beef with my fellow-men, there is no wreckage from my past that has not been cleaned up, there is nothing that I haven’t done that I have wanted to do to this point. Everything I dream up I attempt it no matter how crazy it sounds, I never live with regret or say some bullshit like: “someday I will” or “Ill try,” I only dream and them get to turning that shit in to a reality for me as quickly as possible. This has allowed me to see and experience things I never could have imagined to be possible, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Never let fear dictate your life, if you can dream it, than it’s possible, so never give up hope and continue seeking truth.

See you back on the other side of the World ☺

-Steve

Me at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Me at Angkor Wat in Cambodia