“The miracle is not to walk on the water; the miracle is to walk on mother earth.”
Thich Nhat Hanh.
Today the walk was special. The group walked together, we walk together every time we meet however today we flowed like a river.
When we practice mindfulness our practice generates an energy of mindfulness that can nourish us. Sometimes it can be difficult to practice alone. When a group of practitioners practice together we can generate that energy of mindfulness collectively. This collective energy of mindfulness generated by the group can be very strong, very profound and very nourishing for all who practice together. Even onlookers who may notice the group practising may notice this energy of peace, the energy of stillness, this energy of mindfulness.
The sun was warm today. The countryside was fragrant, the breeze was cool and fresh. We walked together, mindful of our steps and of our breath. Breathing in…..I have arrived. Breathing out…..I am home. With each step I arrived home. On every walk we pause for a short while to enjoy the beautiful scenery at least once. We stop to enjoy our breath together in silence smiling to the trees, smiling to the flowers, smiling to the passers by. Today we stopped and we sat down on the sun lit sides of the ancient henge known as the Giants ring. We watched a dog running between it two owners. The dog was so happy, running with joy. The sun was warm on our faces, the breeze cooling. Today I felt nourished by the group walking together, flowing like a river.
“Our minds may go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path may we walk in peace.
With every step a flower blooms.
With every step a cool breeze blows.”
Thich Nhat Hanh.
The miracle is not to walk on the water; the miracle is to walk on mother earth.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Today we walked along the roof of Belfast. We ventured high to West Belfast, on the winding trails of the National Trust’s Divis Mountain. It felt like we were in the rural countryside. When I stepped out of the car, the sun was dancing in and out from behind the clouds, fluctuating from warm to cool and breezy all the time. Walking boots on and a few extra layers than normal I stopped. I listened. The sky larks were singing there long complex song. The landscape was huge. Wide and expansive, green and brown tufted grasses, heather with very few trees. The few trees present were bent permanently, all in the same direction by the prevailing stormy wind.
Today we were joined by Graham’s young son Conor. Conor is five years old. For myself and the others walking this morning Conor acted a bell of mindfulness. Conor was an example of how we could all practice mindfulness. Like most children of his age he was totally engaged with what he was doing in this the present moment. When we started our mindful walk Conor was at the front of the group. He remained there for most of the morning. He took each step in silence, solidly and with his full attention, just walking on the path. He occasionally would turn to give the thumbs up to his Dad who was also enjoying his steps and this magical landscape.
As we reached the summit of the Black Mountain we stopped. From here the City of Belfast was spread out before us. North, South, East and West. You could see Belfast Lough, the ships coming and going. Strangford Lough, the Mourne Mountains and behind us Lough Neagh and the Sperrins. We could even see the Isle of Man. We stopped and sat down and returned to our breath. We smiled at the city of Belfast, smiled to the blue sky, the sun and each other. Smiled to Conor, our little inspiration.
On the return leg of the walk, Conor, his Father and I walked together. Our pace matched, in silence but together. Completely aware of each other and this vast landscape. The flowers, the birds, the sunshine. This made me smile. Solid in the practice, mindfully together. This was Brotherhood.