Monday, April 02, 2007

Yesterday I went to the grocery store, but not to shop -- just to walk very slowly. I sometimes love walking as unhurriedly as possible, almost barely moving, because it forces me to slow my mind down, and I find that a grocery store is a perfect place to do this. The other busy shoppers don't any pay attention to an older man slowly pushing a cart along, and so I can do my quiet meditation in peace and privacy. My feet move very slowly, and so does my mind, enabling me to better appreciate each present moment as it arrives and unfolds itself. Yesterday I went up and down the aisles many times, little by little, lifting my feet and putting them down and moving the cart along. I was attentive to the small phenomena that I've never really noticed before -- the squeak of the turning wheels, the jiggling of my hands on the cart as it bumped along the floor, the fluorescent lights overhead, and the smiles on the faces passing shoppers. I didn't shop, or think about things I had to do today, or worry about the future; I simply walked and experienced the walking. It was a wonderful event for me, one I plan to repeat often. I don't think the store owners would mind, or even notice, a bald, hoary-bearded old fellow puttering along behind his cart. Who knows, I may become a "fixture" there, a legendary personage -- the peculiar old geezer who walks almost without moving, and never buys a thing.

All of this reminds me of a favorite poem by Wordsworth:

A Sketch

The little hedgerow birds,
That peck along the road, regard him not.
He travels on, and in his face, his step,
His gait, is one expression; every limb,
His look and bending figure, all bespeak
A man who does not move with pain, but moves
With thought. -He is insensibly subdued
To settled quiet: he is one by whom
All effort seems forgotten; one to whom
Long patience hath such mild composure given
That patience now doth seem a thing of which
He hath no need. He is by nature led
To peace so perfect, that the young behold
With envy what the Old Man hardly feels.

No comments: