Mindful Walking, Mindful Lent

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Today is Ash Wednesday, a time when people of the Christian faith begin a 40 day journey culminating in the events of Holy Week leading to the celebration of Easter. Lent is a time when some people give up something which most times has nothing to do with a spiritual discipline, but merely a way to justify a 40 day diet which may or may not drop a few pounds off our frame. Some people give up sugar, or Facebook, or some other thing which for each individual has attained some form of pleasure.

Within modern spiritual practice, individuals sometimes take on something which may include a book study, or donating time to a worthy charity. Some decide to take a few moments in the day to sit quietly and seek inner peace while others may take on a new health regimen, or look to Lent as a short term variance based upon a New Year’s resolution almost forgotten.

Walking Feb. 17 2015This week our Mindful Walking reflection came from Albert Einstein as he spoke about imagination, he wrote, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

I think these are appropriate words to kick off Lent as they challenge our notions of what reality is, and what’s contained within our private value system. Knowledge is relative to our personal experiences, but imagination suggests there is something more, a deeper and wider tomorrow promising a revelatory experience much more intense than first imagined.

Maybe a good Lenten practice might be to reacquaint oneself with our imagination, and see where it leads, and what our imagination says to our inner being. Maybe our imagination might spark new insights to truths we have refused to acknowledge because they may not fit into a tiny box we call reality.

Imagination allows our mind to soar, reaching new horizons, offering a momentary glimpse to see what’s at the end of the rainbow, or beyond the edge of the earth. Imagination allows a chance to open our spiritual door not only to acknowledge things seen, but things unseen as well.

Ted Kennedy’s eulogy for his slain brother Bobby quotes an adage which sums up the power of imagination:

“Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not.”

Walking Descanso

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Mindful Walking: February 3, 2015

Nicholas Sparks from At First Sight wrote:

“Does trust have to be earned, or is it simply a matter of faith?”

 I must be honest. To earn trust, at least for me, was a troubling thought because I could not recall setting up a criterion for trust? The more I walked, and pondered, I came to realize that trust is an outward growth from the experiential. Out of an on-going experience grows a sense of trust, and from a trust one can define a feeling which could be associated with faith.

During my walk I looked over to my right and discovered a path leading up a hill. There was a small fork allowing for two routes, one to an open tree spotted meadow with the other leading higher still. After a brief look at the open area where a tree had fallen (which seemed a sensible pictorial metaphor for the reflection question) I opted to walk the steeper path.

Midful Walking Feb. 3-15The path I took began to climb upward. Looking up I could see that    the trail would end at a fence. Once I reached the border of the garden I came across another sign with an arrow pointing to the right. The sign simply read “trail.” Curious, I walked this trail which was a bit more rugged at first. At one point I had to stoop very low to squeeze under a branch blocking my way. In time it turned out to be a beautiful simple trail arching to a small ridge overlooking the gardens, allowing me to scope out the hillside below. As I looked up I could see the glorious Angeles Crest Mountain Range; the blue sky accentuating the mountains in the distance. Below I could view the green flora, alone amongst a blanket of coastal oak shrubs.

My question was answered.

Trust, indeed, grows from experience. When I got up the hill and found the sign pointing in the direction of a new trail, I had to trust that the persons who planned the walking path knew what they were doing, and that it would lead me back to where I could continue my walking experience unfettered, back into the body of the gardens. Yes, the walk brought a few slight twists and turns with minor difficulties, but nothing I could not handle, yet the effort presented a stunning view, and garnished a new insight; trust feeds faith, if we are willing to risk.

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