Thursday, February 15, 2024

And Back Again

A while ago I posted a piece about walking meditation that included this "going without arriving" reflection from Thich Nhat Hanh:
"In our daily lives, we usually feel pressured to move ahead. We have to hurry. We seldom ask ourselves where it is that we must hurry to. When you practice walking meditation, you go for a stroll. You have no purpose or direction in space or time. The purpose of walking meditation is walking meditation itself. Going is important, not arriving. Walking meditation is not a means to an end; it is an end. Each step is life; each step is peace and joy. That is why we don’t have to hurry. That is why we slow down. We seem to move forward, but we don’t go anywhere; we are not drawn by a goal. Thus we smile while we are walking."
I was sitting with the idea of walking and how I used to walk and how somewhere along the way I no longer walk and I was thinking about how that happened and what it means for now. I stopped the habit of walking in September 2020, not because of the pandemic (I had kept my walk from March - September) when I moved from my lovely pandemic house in Durham, NC, to an apartment I didn't love and a town that felt hostile and uncaring. Shortly after that move, I had a full on existential crisis (along with a massive PTSD/ retraumatizing event), and I effectively shut down. It took several weeks to get my head on straight enough to even realize that I had fallen into a trauma-hole, and I set myself on a thousand-day journey to come back. Walking wasn't really part of that, and not-walking became the habit, even though I would have fits and starts of walknig-again.

Back in November, I crossed that imaginary thousand-day line, and set myself on a "And Back Again" thousand-day journey. I'd like to make "going without arriving" a meaningful piece of this journey even moreso than the walking.  Each step is life; each step is peace and joy.  This is the way back again. 

This is the Way.