Photo by Takuin Minamoto
I walk quite a bit. Perhaps, more than quite a bit. My rough estimation indicates a distance of 36 to 40 miles per week (or 58 to 64 kilometers). And those numbers continue to slowly grow over time.
These numbers are separate from the regular walking that takes place during one's normal activities.
Why So Much?
It is difficult to put this into words, but we'll see how close we can get.
Distance and time have no meaning for me. I understand the physical elements of those concepts, the reality of their usefulness and so on. But the idea of, how much time does it take, or how far will I go (or how much further is it?) never enters my mind.
It all happens in a very simple way. One wakes in the morning between 5:00am and 6:00am. Then, without much conversation, without much effort, without much anything, the walking begins. It goes on for roughly 1.5 hours. Then I return home.
Later in the evening, the same thing takes place.
Why Do It at All?
I enjoy taking these walks. It puts one out into the world, within the movements of others. You can see entire histories in their faces, the joy the loss, the love the hate, all of these things that go on within the mind.
While walking, one is surrounded by the constructs of thought completely (at least, in my neighborhood in Tokyo). Everything that surrounds Takuin is the complete creation of thought. All of the buildings, the cars, the roads, the bicycles, the glass in the windows. But the humans, oh these humans. Thought cannot touch them. Thought certainly tries. It says, "Japanese people are like this, American people are like that. White people are like this, black people are like that." Which is absolute nonsense. It may just be thought trying to control something that is beyond its comprehension.
What can you say when you see a person? What can you say? You can only give your ideas about them. But of what value is that? At the very most, all you can say is they are human. That is real. And that is all one can say. But even that is not necessary.
It is fascinating to see all of the constructs of thought during the walk; the things that thought can wrangle, control, build and destroy; inter-mingled with these beautiful creatures beyond the grasp of thought. Others cannot see this, or perhaps will not. But Takuin does. Sometimes I wonder why that is.
I invariably take the same, or similar, path each day. And although it rarely varies, it is always new.
I can see no path. The feet certainly need a surface to trod on, but that is not what I mean. It is not a path that one follows. These things just seem to happen. I may turn right at a certain corner, but that is not due to a center controlling the organism.
I wonder if others can look into themselves to see this? Everyone says "I am on a path. This is my path. You have your path. My path resonates with me," and so on. But what does that mean? We throw these things out in speech, but do we even know what we are saying?
Where is this path? Where does it lead? Is it within? Is this path going to free you, liberate you into a pristine life, or whatever you call it? You may say YES, but have you questioned this? Is there anything to be free from at all?
The path is created by the one that gives it a name. You may read this and think it is entirely reasonable. But who gave the name to the person giving the name to the path?
There is great energy when one walks in liberation. I find the word "Aliveness" particularly suitable. When the physical movement meets the endless flowing energy of liberation, something new happens. It is a meeting of two similar movements, creating something quite different. The human being becomes a living, breathing, moving work of art. This is aliveness.
Aliveness implies there is an endless movement. It is not stopped by stagnant conclusion, and cannot be chained by the shackles of belief. It is not fixed in any way, and the sameness of thought cannot hold it. Are we together here?
It may be similar to a star burning various gases. It burns and burns and burns until there is nothing left to burn. Aliveness burns, constantly moves, constantly producing and consuming energy.
The star cannot "try" to burn. just as the one walking in aliveness cannot "try" to be free.
Walking as Meditation
I would recommend walking to anyone with an interest in finding out what goes on in their mind. See the world as it is, move with the movements of life, and LISTEN as things seem to happen around you. And don't worry about "doing" something while you walk. None of this feel each footstep as it resonates within you kind of nonsense. Just walk and see where it takes you.
And please do not worry about trying to "get" something out of it. Just walk and greet whatever comes to you.
Greet it with a smile. ;)