Sunday, March 17, 2013

Forest Walking V

Walking the forest path can lead to enlightening experiences. One such occurrence happened today when strolling through the woods of Wat Pa Nanachat (the 'International Forest Monastery'). Ambling between the trees, the mind settled into a meditative, alert state. Wether this condition was the result of cultivating such mental states through regular meditation or the natural influence of the forest's atmosphere is debatable, although this author suspects a combination of the two. Whatever the case of its causes, a serenity pervaded experience as my legs moseyed along the dirt path.

This mental quietude was an empty canvas for whatever perceptions arose, the trees slowly moving through awareness and out of sight. Butterflies flitted in their beautiful meandering dances, catching attention for a second or two before vanishing into the green surroundings. But what was really noticeable was the cacophony of sound filling the forest. Unidentifiable insects made all kinds of noises, some almost weighing down the trees with their loudness. Birds could also be heard, singing through the tropical heat. And, accompanying this natural orchestra was the tap-tap of my flip-flops on the track.

Turning awareness around to recognize the one taking in the sights and sounds of the forest, nobody was found. Yes, consciousness played host to the sense data currently on display, but no thought process or sense of 'me' accompanied experience. Legs moved and feet pressed against the flip-flops as they touched the ground. There were the sensations of itches and running sweat on the face, but no-one experiencing them; just the naked awareness of the moment. And, if we attend to this present moment carefully enough, what will we find here, at the centre of our universe? A small, self-obsessed ego, or something much more mysterious & wonderful? All we need to do is look & listen...

For similar articles, please click the following: Buddha Ear, Forest Walking, Forest Walking II, Forest Walking III, & Forest Walking IV.

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