One of the big lessons that I've learnt through skateboarding is that as the years go by, your expression or interests can change, you might find a different way to skate or enjoy skating differently to when you first started out, yet your passion and enjoyment for it doesn't.
I've been pondering on this for a while and have had the realization that Skateboarding is a form of prayer and meditation. Skateboarders and Yogis may not think of these things being related or they may not consciously think of Skateboarding in this way.
I'd like to shred some light on some of these concepts.
Skateboarding as Prayer
I know this kind of philosophy can be applied to any other art form or sport, but Skateboarding, in my eyes, is so much more. It reaches into the realms of culture, lifestyle, a spiritual experience of it own kind.
I know that commonly, Prayers are thought of as an element of connecting with the Divine, commonly found in a religious kind of way. Prayer could also be defined as a powerful way to be in the present in the moment and a way of relating to the Divine, ourselves and others.
Prayer brings people together. Skateboarding brings people together. Those that pray together stay together. Those that play together stay together. You open each other up, you bond, you communicate, you raise the energy.
You find inspiration within and around you, you set out to learn something new or master it in your own way, you find a way to express this and you celebrate your successes, as do others.
You connect with history and become a part of paving and co-creating history. You draw on your inspiration from those who came before you and you become inspiration for those after you. The Skateboard experience is such a visual journey and so the representation of it found in artifacts such as photos and videos play such an important role in helping to connect Skateboarders across time and space.
As you roll further along on this path, Skateboarding opens you up to other people and other interests, yet the mindset that you can experience from it stays with you for life.
This then leads us into the Meditative aspect of Skateboarding.
When you go into the zone to do your own thing, you transcend your own limits. You go beyond your doubts and fears. You might accomplish something that you look at differently when you are off your Skateboard.
I know that a lot of Skateboarders can relate to the feeling and process of learning and trying a trick.
From my experience, there are a lot of questions and a lot of factors to consider when Skateboarding.
- what do your feet need to do?
- How should you position your body and body weight?
- What's happening in your surroundings?
- Are there other Skaters to look out for?
- What speed do I need to approach at?
- Are there any cracks? Are there oncoming pedestrians or traffic?
- Is there someone at the spot that will try to prevent you from Skating?
- What angle do you need to ride up to the obstacle at?
- What are your options if you need to jump off?
- Is the tripod, person filming or shooting set up and ready?
- When I eject my board, are they safe?
- Do I have a person Board-saving in case my Board goes onto the road or into the direction of other people?
- Is there rain or wind affecting my ability to skate this spot?
When reflecting on this, there are so many questions that would be asked, so many factors that could create a lot of mental chatter, yet the focus that Skateboarders require to do their thing, astounds me.
hyper-focus! Transcending the mind, going into the body and making his skate ideas in his imagination becoming a reality!
(If you're interested, take the time to read this interview of my friend, Dane Burman, whom I feel, really puts all of this into practice in the video and words that follow.)
Skateboarders require this kind of dedicated attention, while being able to answer these questions, let go of the distractions and be very present and in the moment. It can be easy to fixate on some of these questions while Skateboarding and feel stuck or think that certain feats are not possible. However with practice, one reaps confidence and with confidence, there is intention and desire. It's the meditation and trance-like experience of Skateboarding that gets us beyond all of the questions.
You might start with these factors and questions in mind when you get to your spot and you start warming up for your trick. You might start doing a few practise moves or start flicking your board. You might try and visualize what to do. You might start rolling around, finding that line, trying and committing to landing and roll if you're feeling it, if it feels good. You go above, below and through. You carve, kick turn balance, grind, slide. You flip, catch, land. You roll away. The energy is high. You celebrate yourself. Your friends cheer you on. You replay the footage and see if it came out alright. You watch it again and again. You're on a high from your victory.
I know that there is a transformation of consciousness that takes place on a Skateboard.
To the uninitiated and outside onlookers, it might look like a wheeled, wooden toy. It might look like another "sport" choice. It might look like a dangerous, disruptive or juvenile activity that damages urban environments.
To the initiated, they are alchemists. They transform lead to gold. They transform their own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual limits. The alchemist tests their body, mind and spirit. They learn to let go, they learn to commit and trust themselves and their board. They experience what it feels like to roll away and to keep rolling along.
I know that these kinds of experiences evoke a sense of feeling high. They release a combination of feel-good brain chemicals such as Dopamine, Endorphins and Serotonin, which are great at leaving you feeling happy, sleeping better, releasing anxiety, stress and rolling into older age!
While medical research stipulates that the Pineal Gland calcifies in older age, leading to disrupted hormones, affecting things like sleep, moods and energy levels, amongst other things, research has also shown that meditative experiences contribute to healthy stimulation of the Pineal Gland.
Skate-Meditation is the Fountain of Youth!
The way they connect and be present in their bodies. The level of attention and focus to push themselves and open themselves up. They experience and traverse the world differently.
Skateboarding builds character. It connects one with their Soul. Though it can be seen as fast paced and noisy by some, it's meditation in movement. Skateboarders are pushed to be in their altered state quite quickly. This is how Skateboarding is enjoyed best - focussed and fun.
I recognize this when I see people skating and they're having fun. They're focussed and they're enjoying it because it's working for them. The days that it's not working, the day that boards get thrown around, deliberately broken, they're the days that there are distractions, other forms of interference getting in the way.
Skateboarding's message is simple.
Have fun. Find joy through play. Explore creativity through self-expression. Bond with others through sharing love. Focus on what you want rather than what you don't want. Become immersed in your inner and outer world. Meditate to appreciate. Appreciate to meditate. Go within. Share the feeling. Roll forever.
This is the essence of Skateboarding.
Blessings and love,
Nathan and Friends