Consecutive Days Riding: 38 Consecutive Days Blogging: 39
Today’s Mileage: 8 Total Trip Mileage: 329
As I ride the bike this morning a number of topics swirl about in my mind. I have enjoyed our week in the Miami area. Next time I visit the area in person I’ll make a personal pilgrimage to the Holocaust site as I was struck by the images which still haunt me with their poignancy. I am looking forward to hitting the “open road” as we head west I hope to see more gorgeous nature scenes.
I’ve been investigating pilgrimage sites down the road. We will swing south for a day’s ride before heading west across the northern part of the Everglades and into Big Cypress National Preserve. Then it’s on to Naples, where we’ll visit a controversial religious site: a religious city which some people view as the epitome of American freedom, while others view it as a sign of growing intolerance and the fragmentation of our nation’s religious fabric. As we head up the coast toward Fort Myers we will visit two sites: an ancient Native American site and a place which is a failed tribute to the human desire to create “Paradise in the Wilderness.”
One of my viewers asked the question, concerning yesterday’s postings, if meditating was so profound then why did I stop after seven years? There are probably several potential postings embedded within this question. Let me just give a brief answer for now.
Any good habit such as exercise or diet can fall prey to changing circumstances. In addition, there is always the danger that we can become so complacent about the positive efforts that we forget the source of these effects. My life took on many challenges as I married, entered graduate school, moved about the country. My meditative practice suffered as I took on the roles of Professor, therapist, and father! However, the ability and knowledge is there, and at particularly stressful times I return to it to steady my nerves and calm my mind. Why have I not fully reimmersed myself in the meditative practice? In a way I have, but in a different way!
In general there are two forms of meditation. Concentration meditation, the form recognized by most people, where the mediator sits quietly and turns inward using a mantra (sound) as a meditative device. The goal is to quiet your mind to the point of “no thoughts.” Transcendental Meditation is one such technique. The second form of meditation is called Mindful Meditation, and is practiced by several branches of Buddhism. It involves focusing on and being mindful of whatever one is doing at the moment. Mindfulness of walking, breathing, studying a flower, the breeze on one’s skin can all be part of a walk through a garden. It is found to promote deeper insights into how our minds work to “create” the world around us and how to control our attention and focus.
As my artistic interests grew over the last twenty years, especially my poetry, I found myself naturally and effortlessly using this technique. I would state that I still meditate but in a different form.
Here is a poem and one of my drawings, both are products of a mindful walk:
Nature’s to Blame
Checked my watch
It happened again!
Half an hour pasted,
I barely moved.
I’ll blame the flowers,
Their beauty impeded my progress:
And the bird call,
The humming insects,
The inviting cool shadows,
And the still air.
Don’t forget the fragrances,
There were way too many.
If I missed something important
Please accept my apology.
Enjoy your day and be mindful of your journey!