Another aspect of my day on retreat is walking meditation. The typical plan is to take a 20-foot span of lawn or floor and walk back and forth. I suppose that sounds pretty boring. The yogi is not looking around and saying, “Wow, that’s a great tree!” Instead they’re staying present with the rhythm of the footsteps and noticing the thoughts and feelings that come up.
There’s a walking room in one of the buildings. At the far end is a large statue of the Buddha. Many times, I’ve walked towards the Buddha, stopped in front of him, turned around and continued in the opposite direction. I see in this a rhythm of my life: moving closer to the man’s wisdom and then turning my back on it, over and over. This walking path is one of many examples in my life of taking something in the physical world and having it be a symbol of something larger.
Another favourite route of mine isn’t a straight line. Rather it’s a loop … the circular driveway in front of the center over to the edge of the front lawn near the road. My meditation is to walk down the very middle of the driveway, symbolizing the value of moderation. I glance up occasionally to see if anyone is coming. If they are, I move towards the side of the drive and let them continue on their path. Your needs first, without sacrificing mine. I need to be on the driveway, “on the path”. I don’t need to always be in the middle.
And then there’s my rock. It sits on the lawn, conveniently along my way. It’s rounded, about two feet high, and partially covered with lichens. Or is it moss? Guess I’ll find out on Saturday. I stop, lay my right hand on my solid friend, and pray for someone I love:
May you be free from danger
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live with ease
I don’t know what I’ll be like after three months of silence. I know I’ll be a good person. I already am. But some other version of a good person, hopefully with a heart ever opening, a touch for those who need it, a smile on my face.
Time appears to be marching on. And it’s time to stop writing … for 87 days. I love writing, and I’ll miss my blog and you readers. I hope my words have sometimes helped you in your life. I hope you’ve laughed. I hope you’ve cried. I have.
I’ll be home on December 7. I’ll write a blog post on December 8. I hope you remember me. Thank you for tuning in to my meanderings. It’s been a privilege to talk to you.