Sunday, April 3, 2011

Walking Meditation

So I have something of a confession to make: I played hooky from church today. I did have a headache, but if I stopped every time I had a headache I would never get anything done. I work part-time for my church as a volunteer in addition to my full-time job, and today I desperately needed a different kind of sabbath. 'Nuff said.

So, I walked about 8 miles, down to the Tidal Basin, around the Tidal Basin, and back again... which means, yes, I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival. I took my time, and stopped to sit in lovely places like the one where I took the picture above.

My longest stop was under a very large, not-cherry tree which had a little nook at the base just the size of my booty and sloped up in a perfect 130 degree angle: my own naturally-occurring lounge chair. I sat there for quite a while and after a bit I picked up where I'd left off reading Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh. I've felt fairly "meh" about the book up until this point, but I hit a couple of sections today that I thought were just amazing. I won't go into any more detail about that here, but I probably will in a later post.

One of the things that Thich Nhat Hanh mentioned over and over again in these sections is the discipline of walking meditation as a spiritual practice. I don't know precisely what he means by that, but I know that I did this long walk specifically because I find that walks over 5 miles have a very clarifying effect on me. So I wrote a poem about that.

Walking Meditation

I'm just different than you,
and there's nothing wrong with that.
A solo walker on the trail,
passed by runners, bikers,
and passing by couples, hand in hand.

We are all travelling.
No need to make distinctions.
No need to judge me or you
by how, or with whom, we travel.

We are all passing by
these same green spaces,
breathing prayers of thanksgiving
for green, living things
in our many tongues and methods.

It is enough that we are grateful.
It is enough that I am with others on the trail.
It is enough that we are alive.

The joy is in the movement.
We can, and are moving.
The joy is in the breathing,
and the sweating,
and the motion of these two feet,
mile after mile,
as if anything were possible.

Anything is possible.
All we have to do
is put one foot
in front of
the other.

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