miracle medicine

Although my eye feels better, my body has not been filled with light lately. An emotional healing process and all the pressures of daily modern life had taken their toll. As I set off on my walk, with Spiritualized’s muted, beautiful, new album on my headphones, it started to rain. I was planning a six-mile walk, and this was no way to begin. But I pulled up my hoodie, kept my had down, and after a few short minutes, the skies began to clear just enough, and I could see streaks of sun behind the grey clouds. I actually took my headphones off so I could hear the birds singing. Sometimes one walk can change everything. I am reminded this morning of a brochure I picked up in he lobby of the Adventist hospital where my son was born almost eight years ago. It was called “Walking: The Miracle Medicine.” It advocated walking as the best form of exercise, as well as a vegetarian diet, and abstaining from smoking, alcohol, and caffeine. There was a religious message as well, and although I do remember the word “God” used a few times, I can’t say the message was overly preachy. This small tract basically advocated living a pure life, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I don’t know where that little pamphlet is today (I managed to keep it for at least a few years) but I am always reminded of its message whenever I go for a walk. Walking isn’t just good for the body. It’s good for the spirit. On a walk, you can let you mind off its leash. I started a book today called Eat Sleep Sit by Kaoru Nonomura. It’s about the author’s yearlong experience training as a Zen Buddhist monk at Japan’s most rigorous Zen temple, Eiheiji. founded by Dogen in the 13th century. His experience begins with a walk to the temple gates. After a meal and a night’s sleep, “I turned and looked back. Yes-that was where I’d stood so long the previous day…In the end I’d shed my sandals and crossed the threshold. The place was the same as yesterday, but I myself was changed. During the single night I’d spent behind that door, everything that had made me me had disappeared.” The person that leaves the house in the morning with raindrops falling on her head is not the same person that returns to the house two hours later with sunshine on her face. Likewise, the person that goes to sleep at night is not the same person that wakes up in the morning . This process continues our entire life. In fact, it is our entire life. Thankfully.

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