In Ancient China, Buddhist Temples are often protected by enormous statues of warriors with empty eyes and permanent scowls.  These monsters of the Id are often stocked with weaponry and are intimidating beyond reproach.  The stone guardians are intended to ward off evil spirits and protect the monks.  While these figures keep demons at bay, they often serve another purpose, and that is to remind those who enter the temple to leave their fear behind.

When a visitor comes face to face with the statue they are reminded that fears greater than themselves will rise up within them, and they are to look at those fears directly.  Much like the stone that these warriors are made from these fears can be unrelenting, and to ignore them is foolery.  They are not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon.

So travelers near and far are confronted with a very sobering fact: the only way to overcome a fear is to look directly at it and accept it.  The statue is a test. Will you stare at your fear, acknowledge it and then leave it behind or will you allow it to stop you in your tracks?  Will you go past the doorway of your fears and enter the unknown of the temple?


The ocean often offers guardian statues of its’ own.  For surfers, those way-layers of demons and fear come in the form of waves that are a little larger than anticipated.  Sometimes the keeper of the shoreline stands before us as a nagging injury or a powerful rip-tide.  At other moments it is laziness or procrastination- or maybe it is an unwillingness to try.

These demons that circle around us are often no more than figments of our overly active imagination.  What if a shark is looming off of the jetty?  What if I go out there and make a fool of myself, or even worse, what if I go out and give it my all and fail?

From session to session surfing is an excellent tool to push personal boundaries.  Many people equate surfing to a religious experience; and in that it requires devotion to be done well, I suppose that it is.  The ocean is a temple for so many surfers.  So when you come to the shoreline literally, or when you reach that place in your own thoughts- think of those before you who soldiered on, and push out past yourself.

Remember, it always better in the walls of that sacred place, than it is standing at the door with you fears.

  1. mike says:

    Good Stuff. Very introspective.

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