bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spiritual Awakening in the Desert

It was a long hard run into the arid region of far West Texas. We ran a consistent pace along the Rio Grande for hundreds of miles. Three rows of barbed wire separated us on both sides from scrubby mesquite and cacti as we thundered West on two cylinder steeds with rubber hooves.

“West” always makes me think of adventure and survival and Josey Wales. In my mind, “West” is where there is newness and hope of something better. It’s where the daring (and sometimes crazy) go to escape preformed existence. “New” lives out West. “Old” is wherever you’ve been long enough to exhaust all of your resources and have explored all of the contemporary modes of advancement.

As long as you’re travelling West you know what lies to the East. You know which towns to the East show promise of fuel and which are ghostly reminders of lives long since departed. You know where the “road dragons” are to the East (road dragons—long curled chunks of tire tread that mark spots in the road where someone has blown a tire). “Been there Done that” is to the East. You’ve already conquered the East. You’ve already absorbed the scenic pleasures it has to offer and have survived the hazards it has thrown at you. Even the sun loses interest in the East and is constantly trying to escape it to no avail.

I’ve been writing, researching, and cajoling people to embrace the spiritual West for half a decade now. At first, I thought I was the only one spending my evenings with a glass of whiskey meticulously reviewing roughly-drawn prospector’s maps of the spiritual West. I kind of thought I was the only one foolish enough to point my horse in that direction. I remember at one point thinking I might have to turn around because all I was finding the further West I went was miles and miles of barbed wire and seemingly uninhabitable land.

But something has happened.

Something has changed.

Others have felt the call of the spiritual West and have been heading that direction. You run into them the further you go into the unknown West. The spiritual pioneers are out West seeking, exploring, finding, and sharing. You see them up ahead and you quicken your pace to catch up. You are invited to ride in formation with them because there is protection, power, and energy in numbers. You share each other’s resources. You learn from each other’s stories. You build confidence in knowing that your desire to discover the spiritual West hasn’t been about escaping the East—it’s been a call TO something instead of AWAY from the past.

When we discover what lies West we discover a new level of potential. We discover a new perspective and we realize that although the old perspective works fine to the East, the new perspective of the West requires a different set of eyes to see and ears to hear. Not everyone is ready for it. Not everyone is capable of making the journey. Not everyone is bold enough to reject the cautionary tales of Easterners and quietly travel West. And to be honest, not EVERYONE is being called to travel West.

But if you hear the call of the spiritual West (and you know it if you do), you need to heed that call. You need to pack as little as you can into your saddlebags, backpacks, carts, or buggies and start following the Son.

We need you out here. We’ve begun to establish some communities out here. We’ve discovered water and food sources and we’re beginning to figure out how to use these new eyes and ears.

The stars are much brighter and not an inch of the sky isn’t owned by one. Those stars were always over your head, but you couldn’t see them. You needed a new perspective.

Resources are harder to find out here, but you appreciate them so much more than ever before. Succulent tiny quail hiding under the very same mesquite that you use to cook them with—powerful winds that bring the promise of rain—mountains to look up at and valleys to view from above.

Changes in perspective require movement.

New ideas, dreams, challenges, and hope require effort and time and loss and sincerity.

We don’t go to tame the spiritual West! We go to learn how to be a part of it!

That’s why we pack so little. It’s because with every bit of spiritual baggage we bring along, we risk missing out on the full scope of a REAL perspective change. If we bring our old eyes and ears with us then we cannot survive out here. It’s a place that requires adaptability, freedom, and most of all it is a place that requires faith.

My recent 1,000 mile roundtrip out West recharged my faith in new sunsets, ghost towns, prickly pear, and that a new tire may be hard to find, but somebody’s out there with just what you need. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s okay. If you DO know what I’m talking about then you GET IT. Sometimes spiritual changes at our core occur because we’re standing somewhere we’ve never been before. We can be dramatically changed by our surroundings. We almost always are.

As I relived three days’ worth of riding to my wife it sparked a thought—we depart home with the excitement of visually experiencing a new environment, but we arrive back home telling all our stories about the people we met along the way.

I’m not exactly sure what that thought means just yet, but it’s definitely fermenting in my brain.

I couldn’t wait to clean all the dead bugs off my Harley. I couldn’t wait to check all my fluid levels, air pressures, and snug up all the loose bolts. I couldn’t wait to ready everything for the next opportunity to ride West. I couldn’t wait because once you begin to satisfy the yearning in your soul to travel West you become addicted.

Yes, it’s about riding the Hog. Yes, it’s about finding those long stretches of rode where you can run 115 mph before you crest the next hill. Yes, it’s about challenging your ability to adapt and problem-solve. But most significantly, it’s about the subtle change in vision and the noticing of embedded sounds you’d never noticed before.

It’s called living.

It’s called joy.

It’s called peace.

It’s called faith.