I was out walking today along a beautiful river we have in the town where I live. It’s fall here, and the leaves are changing to beautiful shades of red and gold and orange. The sun was shining, and I was very grateful for the beauty all around me.
I slowed down my pace to really connect with my surroundings. I was reminded of a time several years ago when I attended a ten day retreat in central France at Plum Village with the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
One of the things Thich teaches is a walking meditation. As a group, we went walking through the fields, down country roads and through apple orchards at an extremely slow pace, in silence, lead by Thich. The idea was to slow down enough so that we were totally present and aware in the moment. We were to experience the feeling of our feet touching the ground, our breath moving in and out of our body, and touch of the wind on our skin. That kind of presence is rare in our day-to-day lives.
So, I took the time today to really slow down my pace, to connect with the Earth, to be grateful for so many things in my life, and for the abundance all around me.
If the pace of your life has become very hectic, I highly recommend a walking meditation. Try slowing down to a snail’s pace, and becoming fully present to your life. Slow down to the speed of life. You can’t help but be joyful and grateful from that place.
Here’s a video of Thich teaching the walking meditation. He’s been such an inspiration for me in modelling presence and attention.