I've been feeling increasingly cranky lately, like the world is rubbing at the edges of my awareness with an increasingly coarse grade of sandpaper. Tis the season, in the cold and dark, to go inward, but it's been feeling more and cramped in my awareness. It feels like every block of time is filled, and even meditation is taking up place on a schedule that seems to have less and less air.
A friend and mentor says it sounds like I need to do some aimless wandering.
And that sounded like another scheduling challenge. How do I fit in aimless wandering when the laundry still hasn't been folded?
Then I realized that what had dropped off my schedule was my lunchtime walk. It has been too cold or wet or icy for the last couple of weeks, and I've been sitting at my desk through lunch. At first I made sure to move away from the computer, to do something unrelated to work, but even that's slipped to the side.
Aside from the obvious benefits of a 2-mile walk, it also gave me time for mental aimless wandering. It was the free space where things open up and thoughts float without direction. I notice the sky, the clouds, the trees. My walk is not aimless, but my thoughts are. And that creates space. Without that, the world closes in.
Space is necessary. It's important to find it. It may seem contradictory to schedule in time to do nothing but be open to what arises, but it's vital.
NASA released a series of composite images of space, made by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. They are stunningly beautiful. You can get lost in them, right there at your desk Learn more here