As a priest, I consider spirituality a noble pursuit. But one of the drawbacks of spirituality is that it’s ephemeral. It is an invisible, internal thing. It can be can be hard to know whether you are having a profound breakthrough, or just comforting yourself, or even imagining things. Like a mist, it’s hard to grab hold.
Martial arts are much more tangible. Every day you know if you made progress, because you can see the difference. You can feel how much easier it is to execute a technique, or how much more aware you are. The changes in your body and behavior are self-evident. Like meditation, it sets a physical standard for a profoundly spiritual achievement.
This is why I listen to my teacher’s opinion not only on matters of physical training, but on matters of the spirit. Thus, I paid close attention as he commented on the upcoming adventure:
“What you’re doing is hard. It’s going to take a lot of effort to walk to Brazil. It would be a shame if you expended all that effort for no reason.”
I wanted to object. I have a reason! To meet the gods! It’s a spiritual quest! But wait…. remember that stuff about spirituality being misty?
Meeting the gods (or failing) is my personal reason for going. It’s hard to define and hard to describe, an act of self-discovery. At best, people understand why it’s important to me—but it doesn’t feed hungry children or silence the cannons of war.
My teacher reminded me that my journey must serve a greater purpose. I’ve been considering this for a while. It raises questions:
- What kind of cause could I support with a long walk through Latin America?
- Should I use my walk to fundraise, and if so, how?
- Besides fundraising, is there some better way to leverage it—perhaps developing educational materials?
- Should I create a nonprofit of my own, or work with an existing one?
The nonprofit management part of my brain asks these questions, and they are important questions. Another part of me asks a deeper question:
Can I even decide on a purpose for the journey before I go?
I know what I hope to contribute to humanity in my short life. I want to develop a new way for people to engage their spirituality, by living the Heroic Life. I want to inspire people to take action and stand up for those who need it. And I want to encourage people, especially young people, to use travel as a way to find their purpose in life and live passionately. But how can I best use this trip to make these things happen?
I trust your opinions, fellow rogues. I’d like to ask you to throw your ideas in the ring. What do you think of the questions above?