A walk to remember
The lush greenery in and outside our condo have been a real solace and life saver. A while back, when I was struggling with burnouts, I started making many life changes. Usually I would drop my daughter to the school bus, and walk right back home and feel depressed, remembering real problems, and racing to create imaginary ones. One particular day, after dropping my daughter, I just decided I would step out of the gate and take a longer walk outside. Though in hindsight it appears so obvious, to me, it was like a metaphorical gate too. I did not know what was holding me back until then — probably my own mind that was fearful of being my full true self, leaning far too much on the opinions of others, and resorting to the deeply conditioned nature of my mind. Maybe that is how it is for everyone? Once floodgates of the mind are unleashed, we come to realize that it could have been done a while ago, and more simply than one thought.
During my walks, I realized with amazement how lucky I was to be able to live in this beautiful environment, and have the freedom to enjoy it. I loved looking at the trees, observing the different colours, and formations of their leaves and flowers. I used to give myself a quiz, of finding 3 things that amazed me on these walks. Though the route taken was exactly the same, I could catch so many new things that had not caught my eye the previous day. Be it a lone flower atop a tree, signaling a bee, perhaps. Or an orchid that was a bud yesterday, had bloomed now, and might be at its deathbed tomorrow. Slight differences in a thicket that led to entirely different species of plants growing together. These walks highlighted my own changing eyes (both literally and figuratively), and the preciousness of the ephemeral. I would feel grateful that I had not studied plants formally. For I am sure my knowledge would have interrupted the wonder and appreciation of beauty that would course through me in my walks.
Even to this day, there are segments in the condo park where, when I walk, I feel the energy of the universe. I am reminded of the words of Ekhart Tolle, that there is one awareness, one life that flows through every one and every being. The closest I have come to realize this is by walking slowly in the garden path, and sensing this awareness as a ripple within me. This has been the biggest motivator for me to continue my walks. My walk is my temple, and my battery charger. I am more able to tell my mind, “no, not now”, than at any other time. Sometimes I count the number of times I come back to simply seeing, hearing and smelling, after straying from the awe. I need to remember not to condemn the stray, simply come back to the moment, and cherish that victory.
Sometimes I wonder, is this experience real, or a figment of my imagination. Such has become the addictive power of the mind, that it doubts the higher, and drags to the lower.
If it makes me more joyful, feel a higher presence, and connected, I conclude, it must be more real, than any objection that my mind can possibly come up with. For that budding awareness, I am deeply grateful.