Sunday, February 1, 2009

Walking Stick

Walking Stick

Every morning I sit in an old fashioned rocking chair and drink coffee while reading inspirational literature and getting my bearings for the day. This is a totally solitary procedure, and I like it that way. Solitude is healing.

But today, most unexpectedly, I thought some company would suit my meditations. So I brought the humble Vietnamese walking stick out of his bower of blackberry leaves and put it on the round Indian table where my current book usually sits.

This little creature was fascinating to watch. It seemed more than at peace with being someplace new, hardly moving except to sway a bit from side to side whenever I moved the coffee cup.

Over the course of an hour it gradually moved toward the edge of the table and put a couple legs onto the wall – a process so slow in occurring as to be nearly indiscernable.

Well sure, that is the walking stick’s survival mechanism. It looks and acts like a “stick,” and sticks don’t normally move around a lot.

But at the same time, the patience with which this insect was “in the moment” was very instructive.

People are usually not much like this at all. They are impatient to be elsewhere, and even when supposedly enjoying where they are – for instance on vacation – their minds are seldom at rest, completely satisfied and present with the experience currently in progress. There is “what will happen next, what should I do now, what will I do later, what about what happened yesterday, and omigod that movie I saw, and . . .” always going on non-stop in the echoing mindless mind.

Sometimes it seems there is maybe nothing more important a person can be doing, than putting that mental activity to bed. Maybe the pain that comes our way is to make it stand out in agonized relief, to make the mindless mind so unbearable that out of self-defense we choose to pull the plug on it.

Because even the smallest progress in this direction produces a noticeable change in one’s life. The inner dynamic shifts, a quietness and stillness begins to become noticeable as the preferred state of awareness. The seeking of entertainments and distractions lessens; the craving for inner Communion becomes steadily stronger.

My Vietnamese walking stick is not burdened with a sense of imposed obligation or concocted responsibility – there is nothing it needs to accomplish to be a success. At the same time, nothing could happen that would make it a failure. It has all that it needs. Food and shelter, yes - but far more than that.

It is exactly what it is, neither more nor less, than what it is. And therein lies peace.

1 comment:

  1. I love walking stick he is so cool!!!