Today I went back to listening to Life, the Keith Richards autobiography. It seemed hypocritical of me to criticise his book for moving too slowly, when I am struggling to make two knots. And today I was much more in the mood for it. On an otherwise undistinguished day (I am still languishing in that meteorological no-man’s land of negligible winds) the book passed the time well, and even inspired a little musing on the nature of spirituality.
The following is purely my view. You’re free to agree, or disagree, or not to care. But I offer it up in the hope that it might make you think about your own definition of what is spiritual.
Spirituality, for me, is the recognition of that shared living spark that resides in every living thing. Scientists haven’t yet managed to explain what makes us alive, or in what part of our anatomy our “aliveness” resides, and yet it is there, connecting us with everything else that is alive.
If you’re alive, then you’re spiritual, whether you acknowledge it or not. You have life, therefore you have spirit. What else animates you, prevents you from being just a lump of skin and bone? It is your spirit.
When we say someone “has spirit”, what we really mean is that their spirit shines brighter than the average. Often this equates to them having a purpose, which endows them with energy and drive, and we unwittingly respond to this on a spiritual level. It isn’t something we see or hear or feel – we just sense it and are drawn to it.
Looking up at the stars tonight, it occurs to me that this is why we call some people “stars” – of music, or acting, or whatever. There are billions of stars in the sky, but some of them shine brighter than others. Human stars are like that. Their spirits shine brighter, illuminating more planets and visible from further away than the rest. They touch more lives.
To be spiritual involves feeding your spirit, shining brighter, touching more lives. You don’t have to focus on touching more lives as an end in itself – it just happens as a by-product of your spiritual growth. A star doesn’t have to try and shine brighter in the night sky. It just does.
To be a human star, you feed your spirit by finding a purpose, and having the courage to pursue it. As Viktor Frankl says, purposes vary from human to human, and from moment to moment. For Laurey and Rochelle (members of this blog’s community and now also friends of mine) it might be their respective battles with cancer. For Timothy Ray it might have been his passion for ocean science. For Richard in DFW it might be the sharing of his life story through a film.
And for Keith Richards it is his music. Hmmm, who would have thought that a raddled old rock star would inspire such contemplations?!
Does anybody know why the narration of “Life” suddenly switches from Johnny Depp to somebody else at the start of Chapter 5? Did he quit? Or have to depart to be a pirate of the Caribbean? Or did he just get tired of mis-pronouncing English place names?! (Sorry, that was a cheap shot. It’s just plain rude to make fun of Americans for getting the pronunciation wrong, when in fact their versions are much more rational than the strange but time-honoured pronunciations that Brits use.)
As aforementioned, the pursuit of more favourable winds continues. But they continue to elude me. Looks like tomorrow will be another day of chasing, but I’m not too concerned. Progress may be slow, but conditions are comfortable and life aboard the Purplest Boat in the World continues in an entirely satisfactory manner.
Photo: the flip-side of yesterday’s dawn rainbow – what was going on in the east while the rainbow adorned the west
Sponsored Miles: Joe Dominguez. Michael Dunn, Martin Hawke – and some unsponsored.