“ Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished ” -Lao Tzu
Today, leaving the grocery store, we found ourselves facing a cold, wet, twenty minute walk home in the rain. The natural tendency of the mind is to say let’s protect ourselves, hunker down, hunch over, and walk home at a rushed pace, then enjoy the sound of the rain from inside the cozy apartment. So I decided this was the perfect opportunity for a walking meditation.
The path to our house from the store is removed from cars, with a nice sidewalk and some trees, so this helped to make things a bit more quiet – a nice start. I turned my attention first to my breath, and it’s now natural for me to lengthen my breaths as soon as I turn my attention to it.
Next, I turned to looking at my mind from beyond my mind, seeing my mind as just a tool in my body that can be used however I want, in a way, a conscious decision to not let it “protect” me from the rain… and whenever I take this step, I usually realize that my mind isn’t really needed at the moment, then thoughts just slip away. A sense of calm came over me, and an awareness of reality, awareness seen from beyond my mind, from the “consciousness beyond name and form” as Eckhart Tolle would say. And this is when things got great…
Sensing the present moment became crisp and immediate. Everything entered my awareness at once. One step and then another, my shoes touching the damp ground. The drops of rain hitting my head, the rain gradually soaking through my clothes and causing a damp sensation, the pavement almost alive in its shimmering, the sound of the drops hitting trees, grass, pavement, the sound of a child splashing in a puddle, the smell of dampness, the sensation of the grocery bag handles pushing into my fingers… it was all so immediate, so alive, so present. I was connected to everything. I was walking tall in the cold rain, floating along the ground like a bird floating through the clouds.
Once you make the shift, it becomes so much easier to live in the present moment, so much easier than rushing to the future. Occasionally I still catch myself trying to get somewhere, but it has become habit to quickly realize that’s not needed. It’s much more rewarding to slow down when going from one place to another, perhaps make it a walking meditation, and more often than not this leads to making life itself one big meditation, which is the way to live at ease.
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