The past few days have been quiet for me, weekends are like that when one is alone with no planned structure to fill the time. Like anyone else in the same situation, I am left to search for something to fill the hours, to fill the emptiness. Having turned to Buddhism, I find meditation creeping into my day when it is least expected filling those unexpected moments with deep peace. Having renewed a commitment to my body as a temple with prolonged walks as the approach to the care of my body, I find peace in those moments when “thinking” disappears and I become mindful of my steps, of the flowers, of the breezes, of the passing faces and the sounds – no thinking about them, just being aware of their presence. Meditation and walking have become my spiritual practice.
“We have become so spiritually dehydrated that we are now desperate to drink directly from the Divine Well itself and our thirst will no longer be slaked by drinking from a substitute or tainted source. We are awakening to a new spiritual age p one less dependent on an outer authority and more attuned to the God within. Conjecture is rife, but we cannot deny the statistics that point, on the one hand, to collapse, and on the other hand, to renewal. While the death of the old can be alarming, the birth of the new is always exciting. Something is undoubtedly ‘astir in the land’ and what we are witnessing is, perhaps, a collective emergence to a new spiritual reality directing our lives.” (Brierley, Camino de Santiago, p. 35)
Yesterday I went for a walk in the Canmore area. I began the walk with a short half kilometre from the parking lot down a wide and easy trail to reach a cutline that I then took for a distance of about two kilometres where I then found myself on a road as I crossed a bridge. I was looking for the entrance to the Grassi Lakes trail which I found seven hundred metres further down the trail. I then began the climb of almost two kilometres with an elevation gain of 250 metres while stopping to take photos along the way. I took the more difficult route to the top of the trail and stopped for a bit before going back to the start of the trail on the graveled path, the easy route. Once at the bottom I made the return trip retracing my steps while stopping at times for another photo opportunity of wildflowers as well as an osprey nest with mother and chicks. For this whole journey, I forgot to think about my life, about “issues” or past history or what I will be doing in the days, weeks and years to come. I somehow managed to find a spiritual centre in the act of being mindfully present, feeling the path under my shoes, feeling my body, hearing the insects and birds, feeling the light breezes and the heat rays of the sun, tasting the water from my bottles carried for the walk.
This is what I have been craving.