Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Gong of Walking

My “personal growth” schedule is filled to the max. I have way more opportunities than I do time to take advantage of them. But somewhere between the loftier goals of martial competence and glimpses of enlightenment, it pays to slow down and enjoy the moment. Indeed, it is my belief that the moment itself is the goal. It ironically gets lost in the steps to fulfillment.

Last week I went out on a Monday morning to do Taiji in the park. It was cold and a national holiday, so I was the only one who showed up. That’s not a totally unusual occurrence since there are only 3-4 of us who do this regularly anyway. So I took advantage of the opportunity and worked on a couple of forms and Qi Gong by myself. It was a nice morning, even if it was cold. So I decided to further my opportunity and walk a while. The city park where we practice has a nice walking trail and is adjacent to a greenway along a creek. In short, it is a great place for walking in the city.

Walking is a great practice for rejuvenation and focus. I’m not talking here of Zen walking, or Qi Gong walking, great practices in their own right. Nor am I talking about anaerobic walking, also a great practice. Rather, there is much to be gained from good old fashioned walking at one’s own pace.

Here I am walking with no destination in mind, no time limits, and no goal outside the act of walking itself. I slow down and notice the birds, the sound of the creek, the colors that are still available in the full gray of winter. My mind is settled by the presence of the moment. My body is energized by the activity. The demands of life fall away, at least for the moment. The only demand I recognize is the fact that I do have to go back to my car and the rest of the world eventually. But in the meantime….

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