Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Look At Me When I'm Talking to You, Young Man!

During the work week, I break out of my office around 2pm to take a power walk. I used to run, many years ago. But I've been out of shape since shortly after moving to Seattle. I've tried before to jump right back into running, and every time it's proven to be murder. I've fallen back to walking - at least until my respiratory system recovers from years of Adult Swim and Hostess Fruit Pies.

Yesterday I went out about 1pm for a 50-minute hard stroll around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day - 65 and blue skies for miles. I was wrapped in natural splendor. All around me, the foliage was iridescent with the rebirth of spring.

And here I was, scuffling along madly, thinking about work and looking at my feet.

I realized early on that I wasnt focused on the beauty that enveloped me. I consciously fixed my gaze forward, paying more attention to nature and to my path than to my black Nikes. I found it hard to hold this. My eyes felt like they were burning from the sunlight, like I had plucked them from my skull and soaked them in acid.

I laughed and thought, What an apt metaphor. My eyes turned away naturally from the sun, not because it was uncommonly bright that day, but because I'm accustomed to looking downward like most people do. (No wonder sunglass manufacturers do such a booming business.) I had to will myself to look straight and soak up the beauty that erupted around me, pushing my way past the temporary inconvenience.

Likewise, my mind turns away from Truth, not because it's too hard to behold, but because it's trained to swaddle itself in the comforts of its fictions.

Nice modern day version of the cave allegory. = )

I try to not look below ~30 degrees from the horizon. I also try to look into the sky as I walk. I conceptualize the vastness that is behind the illusion of the domed sky.

I think this practice will help open my mind to vastness. Strengthen my ability at comprehension and awe. Who knows.
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