June 2000 - Walking the Path

This month try a walking meditation. If you can, try it outside, barefoot, on a grassy lawn, a stone path, a beach, even on a sidewalk, early in the morning. Just one morning this month, perhaps the day of the summer solstice, rise early and go barefoot outside. Walk slowly back and forth, as many paces as you choose. Pay attention to the breath, feel your foot on the path, whatever it may be. Feel the foot as it rises and steps and makes contact with the ground. Walk slowly, enjoying every step, feeling the touch of your foot on the ground. Know, as you walk in this way, that it is possible to move in the world step by step, feeling your way, knowing the path as you walk it. There is a knowing beyond words. As your foot knows the ground beneath it, there is that in you which knows your path. There is that in you which carries you forward.

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Go out one evening, just as the sun is setting, perhaps again on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Walk in the twilight, the time between light and dark, feel the stillness and the space. Hear how the sounds of summer recede into the distance. Feel that as you walk alone on this path you are supported by the earth and sky. Find a wide open space, a field, and walk a spiral. Begin in a clockwise direction, from the outer point of the spiral, circle around to the center, feel yourself move towards the center of all that is, the stillpoint. Then walk back, spiraling outward from the center.

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Know that as you spiral outward, you do not leave the center. The experience of being in the center, at the stillpoint, goes with you Repeat the process, go in, go out. Notice that the rhythm of life itself is expansion and contraction, inward, outward. Feel that rhythm. Lie down on the earth for a little while, watch the sky go dark.

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In the morning you walk the straight line, in the evening you walk the spiral. During the day the mind has to move from point to point, to think, make decisions, follow linear sequence. In the evening, it likes to spiral, to move freely in a different realm. One day this month, see if you can take this walk.

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May all beings be happy, peaceful and free of suffering.

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