Sunday, October 02, 2005

walking meditation


One of the disadvantages of touring is the lack of regular contact with a community. I would like to go to a weekly meditation group for example, and a yoga class. I am a disciplined person - you have to be as a musician - but I think I need other people around me for support when it comes to maintaining a practice, and I think I need a practice.

This summer I ordered the Insight Meditation book and accompanying cd from the internet, checked the voices weren't too honeyed and over-Californian on the cd (they weren't) and popped it on my ipod. I toured for five months with it and I meditated twice. Ouch. The silly thing is it felt great and it heightened my concentration on the cello......

Help, luckily, was to hand recently and I have been inspired by Dale and Jean to commit to 100 days of meditative practice. Since there were only 78 days left it felt less scary than committing to a lifetime. Through this floating e-community I may have found a way to ground myself in a practice I have been wanting to start for years. At least I have taken the first step.

I started on day 22 with a walking meditation. It was not that different from my normal walks except that I set myself the task of simply noticing sensations I am only now giving names to: The mistral freezing one earlobe whilst the hot sun burned into the opposite shoulder; the sound of two birds flirting in the sky; the feel of the pine needles under the cork of my shoes and through into the soles of my feet; the smell of fermenting fallen grapes; the sight of a piece of sky being framed by oak leaves and the crunch of ancient stones shifting as I paced. I tried to maintain what our sixteen year old guide in Nepal talked about and whose beauty and power I, practically a middle aged woman, am only just beginning to understand - the 'empty box'.

Empty mind.

I was prepared for calm and focus. What I was unprepared for was the joy which comes from simply being present. I was practically delirious!

It was not unlike how I feel after playing.

Towards the end of my walk, when I allowed my thoughts free reign again this is where they roamed: As I placed each foot down on the earth I felt a sense of respect for her. I would even go as far as to call it love. I thought with repugnance about the possibility of doing her harm. Then I thought about our cats and how, through my feelings for them, I have come to love all animals. Then I thought about children and imagined that, through loving a child of one's 'own', one surely could never harm another being......?

I wafted back to the house on my nirvanoid cloud of world peace to hear shouting. Julian's work day had been disturbed by a phone-call from our land-lady's daughter. She had, as far as we could see, stolen paintings from the studio and was holding them as ransom until we moved the last of our stuff out. She was lying about there having been a storm and the window having been open so that she had had to 'rescue' them. Julian was, understandably, furious.

I think that, just maybe, I got a miniscule amount less lost in and scared by a display of anger than I might have done previously and thus was able to be a little more loving towards J when he needed it....

If so, perhaps I'm on the right path.



Blogger Jonathan said...

A walk in the woods definitely sounds like my sort of yoga! Much better than trying to cross your legs twice...

10:50 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Ruth, I'm intrigued by the rock formations in the top photo. Do you know anything about them?

5:14 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

yes moose, the ochre sand is so soft here it has been worn away except where they have been protected by a layer of limestone. hence the name 'les demoiselles coiffees'. they are our back garden!

5:50 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Lucky you to have such belles demoiselles in your back garden!

6:00 PM  

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