Introspection

No blog post last week because no computer.

No blog post this week because my words are all jumbled up. There is too much going on to synthesize.

I Have Learned
So much from God
That I can no longer
Call Myself 
A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
A Buddhist, a Jew.

Hafiz, from The Gift

pathcuplantations

Be kind to one another. Listen to the other person’s story, don’t tell them what story to live. We are all walking our own path.

“People take different roads
seeking fulfillment and happiness.
Just because they are not on your road
doesn’t mean they’ve
gotten lost.”
Dalai Lama

Hope you’ll check back next week.

Ten Steps

path2edit(photo by me)

There is a path I walk often. It is near my house. It goes through the woods, wanders along a babbling creek and is just about 2 miles long. On any given day there are joggers and runners, dog walkers and regular walkers, talkers, bicyclists and others. There is lots of wildlife scampering around. Bird song never stops. The wild raspberry is blooming, scattering bright splotches of magenta everywhere. It’s usually busy on this path.

Today as I walked I realized there was no one else on the path. I had never experienced that before. It had been raining, and while not hot, it was humid.

As I came to the one mile mark, also the point where I turn around, I decided I was going to turn the rest of the walk into a walking meditation. I had been reading about walking meditation, with bowing, and it seemed the time had arrived for me to do it. I was alone. It was quiet.

There are many formal ways to do a walking meditation with bowing. But, I am not really one who likes to do things so formally. I made the walk my own.

Why do a walking meditation? Why seek time for reflection, introspection? Because life is so full of being fast and busy, of things and people being important. Daily life is about time, the clock, appointments, obligations. There are schedules and deadlines. There is a sense of needing to move and produce faster. Our minds get lost in thoughts of hopes, dreams, desires and wants. We live off lists of things to do, things to remember, things to get, things to experience..things. We dwell in emotions of sadness, disappointment, happiness, excitement, anger, frustration, joy, anticipation, envy and love. Things happen to us and we take them personally when they don’t have anything to do with us. There is noise and activity.

I get lost in that stuff.

So now, here I was. In the midst of nature. Alone. It seemed the time had arrived.

At first I just stood. In yoga this pose is called tadasana. Tadasana grounds you. Helps you to be focused. It helps you to become aware and present.

Then I walked 10 steps and stopped. I put my hands together and bowed slightly, expressing out loud my gratitude for something. 10 more steps. Bow.  Express gratitude. For 3/4 of a mile I did this. The final quarter mile I replaced gratitude with the Metta (Loving Kindness ) prayer.

During one of my bowing pauses I spoke out loud of being grateful for the practice of “right thinking”. This is the idea that what we think impacts our heart and mind as well as our physical being. If we think bad thoughts that is reflected in our actions and well being. If we engage in right thinking we are uplifted, healthy in body, heart and mind. Either “bad/wrong thinking” or “right thinking” spreads out from us, affecting the world around us, and the well being of others too.

For a mile I took 10 steps, paused, bowed and felt gratefulness for a variety of things. I named a lot of people and things…. And there are hundreds and hundreds more to acknowledge. I removed myself from superficial things. I found on this quiet, empty path, a mile long interlude to refocus, reconnect, re-evaluate, rediscover, reinstate what is important. To name gratitude and honor all there is in life and the world to be thankful for. For a mile I gave up wallowing in busy-ness, desires, hopes, emotions, time, responsibility, division and separateness and gave life to slowness, softness, mindfulness, appreciation, recognition. To gratitude.

Ten steps at a time.

metta2

(Metta, also called the Loving Kindness Prayer.
There are several interpretations.
You begin with your self, then name others.)

 

“Dwell on the Beauty of Life, Watch the Stars”

“Dwell on the beauty of life.
Watch the stars,
and see yourself running with them.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

hubble2

(credit: NASA ans ESA)

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth,
the iron in our blood,
the carbon in our apple pies were made in
the interiors of collapsing stars.
We are made of starstuff.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

It can be hard to find a place at night, free from light and clouds, where you can look up and understand the magnificent wonder of the Milky Way, other galaxies, and the universe.

It can be difficult to wrap your brain around the size of the universe. Of the numbers of stars, galaxies, planets, black holes, comets, asteroids, quasars…..out there. Or, that we are made of starstuff.

It can be humbling, in a good way, to think about our planet, our galaxy and the universe. To help us pause as we go through life caught up in all kinds of things. Feeling all kinds of emotions. And believing the stories we make up and tell ourselves about all kinds of things.

This post is kind of interactive. I hope you’ll take the time to listen and watch all the links.

“Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven
and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human.
Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe.”
~Douglas Adams

Yo Yo Ma plays Bach’s “Sarabande”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1QzMNM94-s

or, Voices of Music playing Bach’s “Air”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzlw6fUux4o

Now that you’re in the mood, pictures of the Universe from Hubble, “Spectacular Cosmos”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St57hBxH_Fw

(If you’re up for it, you can open one of the music videos and also the Cosmos video in different tabs, should happen automatically, and mute the Spectacular Cosmos soundtrack and just listen to Bach to  understand what Douglas Adams meant in his quote.)

These celestial entities are no longer there. They died out millions of years ago but we can still see their light. The infinite vastness of the universe is difficult to understand. It helps us understand that our little Earth is just a pale blue dot. And while it gives us the perspective that life on Earth is a unique miracle, it reminds us it is also one of many millions, billions of miracles out there. We will never know the extent of those miracles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c3xuYs75IU

So,  while you “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” also contemplate this:

“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing
in the same way that a wave
is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.” 

~Alan Watts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_6oRZsYPm0