Walking meditation was unexpectedly profound. It was just walking on the grass, 12 paces forwards, 12 back, but so much came from it! I immediately remembered silly exercises at school, worried about how I looked, felt terribly self-conscious and then had a flash in my head of how I see myself. I got overwhelmed by a feeling of being less than the others, that they were doing it right – was I? Shame, fear, triggering all these familiar thoughts off.
All of this wasn’t coming up in sitting practice. It was the added physicality, but also the normality of it which brought these feelings into focus. Walking outside is very normal, and I wryly welcomed the sadness and anxiety with a chuckle. In just twenty minutes I finally learned where they place in my body.
A lunch of sweet potato soup and salad now done, it’s time to reflect on the interesting but uncomfortable learning about subtle thought.
That was a looong day, and a long way home. But to continue, we finished with an interesting, and well-timed repeat of the mindfulness practice of September – what do I feel about how I feel? It was the final meditation of the day and I was feeling irritable and impatient, feelings which were making me drowsy. Going through that cycle three times and getting nowhere, I suddenly remembered that sleepiness and ‘zoning out’, impatience even, were signs of aversion. And that was when the real feelings underneath – what I was feeling about what I was feeling – emerged. Just as the final gong went…