Monday, October 17, 2011

along the trail

Yesterday we went up into the Sangre de Cristos Mts. Probably the last journey up till June, when the snow has melted...unless i am brave enuf to snowshoe up the mt...which is not likely!  It turned out to be a perfect day to see the "aspen glow."  Parts of the trail were dry, but other sections were like a riverbedm, complete with trickling water, or muddy, slushy or icy from the shade of the tall pines and the feet of many hikers.

taos mt out my east window

  The trail was a great reminder of mindful walking, and the importance and joy of staying in the present. As in - BE HERE NOW!
        Note: Mindful walking is relaxed walking where one is connected to  each footstep and how our body and movement relate to gravity and to the surfaces of the earth.
    I have been reading about the "mind" again recently, according to Buddhist perspective. How random thoughts are floating through just about constantly, not good or bad, but taking us away from being in the moment. Being in the present moment. What exactly is that, how does it "feel" and how do we know when we have slipped out of the present and into the past or future.

The book I am reading refers to fantasies, which i find a very helpful description. As long as I was simply walking, sun on my face, the sweet and sharp scent of the pines, my step on the slippery slopes and rocks, all was well.

But if for a moment I stopped  receiving the experience I was having and began, instead, to plan how i would write this blog! :) or what great metaphors I was observing, or if i entered into a "conversation" I would have later about all this, then swoosh! i would lose my footing. I did not fall, but each short slide demanded that i regain my balance and alerted me to the fact that i was fantasizing and not being present. This may sound obvious, noticing moments of not being present, the moments of fantasizing, but try it for yourself . Walk somewhere that takes attention and see what happens!

All in all it was a glorious day. Its about 3/4 of a mile to the trailhead, and then another 2 miles uphill to Lake Williams, at 11,000 feet. Lake Williams sits in a bowl beneath snow covered Wheeler Peak, 13,000 ft. and the highest point in New Mexico. At the Lake, wind blows through the tall pine trees and marmots shout warnings about visitors, while gray jays seeking food will fly to an open palm and delicately snatch a piece of cracker or cheese.

I have been feeling alot of physical tension lately...but this walk and a 4 mile walk on an easier trail the day before, have left me feeling wonderful today. No tension in my neck or shoulders, no pain anywhere. Why...Partly from being in nature, partly enjoying the changes in the trail, the increasing amount of snow among the trees, the surprising beauty when slants of sunlight came through, stripes of deep golden light among the dark wet trees, but perhaps above all, the hours of silently watching the trail and watching my mind! Maybe the attraction to "risky sports" is that they call us to be mindful, fully aware and alive, using all the senses and capacities we were made with and designed to use.

Thich Nhat Hahn says, "present moment, perfect moment. " Some diagree, after all the moment might hold pain or any number of "imperfections" and unwanted aspects. But perhaps, in a way, no matter what the moment "holds" it may be that it is the act of being present - of being in the moment with all our senses, that is the perfection, the perfect moment of our life.

No comments:

Post a Comment