What a blessing today's dependent co-arising was! Another long, cold, tiresome, and rainy day, but these factors were the foundation for a time of great reflection/meditation/struggle/and insight.
I stepped outside at 9:31 pm, took a deep breath, and begin walking as slowly (AWKWARDLY!) as possible. At first I had to fight myself to take one mindful step at a time. My whole physiological self was determined to fall lock-step into its habitual pace. Into the rushed numbness/narcissism that is modern life. But I wouldn't have it. Not tonight. I focused on my breath, allowed it to enter and exit, and lifted one foot after another, over and over again, with more intention than I've ever given the act of walking.
It was cold and wet, but these facts never became nuisances. At such a slow and mindful pace I was able to appreciate everything more fully. The Dale Chihuly blown-glass quality of the leaves piled nonchalantly across the grass and sidewalk, a day's worth of water lending them a healthy sheen. The pit-pat of raindrops falling miles and miles into bare branches where they waited, remained, and gathered mass until gravity pulled them downward, big collective drops bursting upon my shoulders.
I felt myself falling into a natural rhythm, walking in and out of different dimensions of time. There were, of course, the cars, carrying their passengers quickly across the city streets, trails of mist thrust up off the road from their spinning tires. There were the pedestrians, walking to and fro, shoes scraping the pavement, high heels click-clacking, a polyrhythmic crescendo dopplering its way all around me. The leaves, the bushes, the subtle star-like sparkle of streetlights reflected in the sidewalk. Stillness in the margins, lurking in shadows, always ready to present itself, yet always passed by in haste. Always traded for other destinations. Always victim to our insufficient ability to be here, now, moment to moment, mindful of these different dimensions of time always already dependently co-arising around us.
My heart softened, and my walk began feeling like a vigil. An attempt to spread, with each step, some measure of compassion or lovingkindness. To send a prayer to each square inch of earth, cement, brick, and shingle. To each inhabitant, each unknown neighbor, hoping their hearts might know peace and love. That they might find a place of rest where breathing is good and sweet, where energy is restored.
This walking action/meditation was healthy for me. It brought me face to face with myself. With my insecurities, with familiar patterns I've failed to question. Taking things so slowly shocked me, in a way, into a deeper awareness of my neighborhood and of myself. I was able to look deeply at the healthy and unhealthy ways I relate to this place I call home. And most importantly, I was able to find a deep thankfulness and appreciation for all the loved ones in my life, for their unconditional positive regard toward me, for their joyful spirits, for their selfless hearts, and for their absolute infinite et cetera of good greatness!!!
An hour later, arriving in front of my apartment building, craning my head upwards toward the warm light leaking through our windowshades, I gave thanks. Big thanks. To God. To family. To friends. To rain. To trees. To you. And you. And you as well.
What a blessing, friends.