I once read an article on the dangers of meditation. Traditional ascetic practices, by their nature, have the potential to become powerful, recursive thought patterns. Unlike an established religious order where coercive behaviours are extrinsic the embrace of Eastern philosophies exposes the practitioner to constant internal surveillance. Transcending the material world is supposed to free the practitioner from the constraints of the mundane physical realm and facilitate spiritual evolution. This world view creates a heirarchy that elevates the Platonic abstract above the fallen world our bodies traditionally occupy. In the article people spoke of an obsessive need to meditate and diminished pleasure in the beauty of the natural world. One man used the metaphor of a beautiful meal turning to dust to describe his inability to enjoy everyday life because meditation had taken precedence.
If you replaced the word "meditation" with "surfing" it would be a reasonable description of my life today. Discovering surfing in my thirties was like being seduced by a cult. Or perhaps being infected by one of those parasites that change how insects think and force them to go to water. Nothing compares to the bliss of standing on a wave, salt on my lips, puny muscles aching with sweet fatigue - freedom! Sweet baby Jesus - surfing rewired my whole body and radically altered my relationship to the capitalist economy by restructuring my work/life balance. For better or worse I now spend most of my waking hours working out how to earn enough Brownie points with my wife and children to justify doing an overnight trip to Noosa or Byron.
Yes. Surfing ruined my life. But sometimes you have to break things down so you can build them up better.