I forgot to charge up my iPod.
My daughter had just sent me a note asking me to get her two new binders for her second semester. I always enjoyed going into the business supply store to buy new stuff for school. For me, it meant starting over and how having new supplies might allow me to do better in school because all of my stuff was pristine and perfect.
I decided that despite the freezing cold weather outside, I would bundle up and walk to the store to get her binders. Under warmer circumstances, the walk would be a piece of cake. Today, while the sidewalk was bone dry, there was a nasty chill in the air…and I didn’t have my music!
I proceeded to walk briskly as a way of staying warm and to get me to my destination faster. But, as I began walking I became very aware of all the different sounds going on around me.
It was just before 9:00 am and the normal rush hour was at its peak…even almost beginning to slow down a little. I began to tune into the sound of my walking shoes making contact with the cold cement sidewalk. Each step I heard and followed as it reverberated through my legs up into my hips. I dialed into my breath which I was able to hear really well as the hat I was wearing had flaps pulled down over my ears so I could hear my own breathing even more crystal clear than normal.
I looked at the plume of white condensation that escaped from my mouth with each exhale, the tears rolling down my cheeks from the wind having its dreaded effect on my eyes.
I shifted my focus to the sound of the traffic passing by me. The sound of tires making contact with asphalt, the sound the cars made as they were going over bumps or potholes, the sound of idling engines as cars were stacked waiting for the light to change color. Overhead, I heard the sound of an airplane and the freaky sound of it deploying its landing gear. I remember thinking how amazing it was to be able to hear something like that coming from something so incredibly high up in the air.
I had just passed under a railway bridge when all of a sudden a train passed by. Aside from the racket of the steel wheels making contact with the tracks, I felt the weight of the train and that “bottom-end” sound as it reverberated through my body…just like the experience I have when I go to a rock concert and feel the bass and lower registered instruments through the PA system and how that sound makes my chest rumble.
I witnessed trades people standing out on the sidewalk, sipping their morning coffee and puffing on their morning cigarette as they began to start their day on the home renovation or construction project they were working on. The sound of van doors shutting and heavy equipment being shifted around inside their trucks..not really caring how much noise they were making.
I heard all of this stuff and more while on my 30 minute walk to the business supply store.
“Walking meditation”. In the same way that traditional meditation teaches to be mindful as you observe thoughts that come in and out of your mind, or to focus on a mantra and to be as present as possible, I kind of feel that my walk had the same desired effect.
I was focused on what was going on around me…not what thoughts were floating around my mind. I wasn’t worried, afraid, happy, sad or thinking about anything in particular. I was hot, mind you…as the heat from my hat had me perspiring so much that little beads of sweat dripped down onto my sunglasses.
Some people love the sound of silence…they like the tranquility that comes with it.
All of the different sounds I experienced today reminded me that I am alive in the world.
Meditation allows you to pause, to stop the hurried pace of your daily experiences and to re-focus.
I am glad my iPod was out of juice.
I am looking forward to my next walk.