Take the first step to luminous wholeness.
If you truly want to upgrade your living, say “yes” more often to your inner life. It's here that you find wisdom, simplicity and strength that help you sail positively through a money-driven, conflict-ridden, status-conscious world.
The best and simplest way to get in touch with your inner life is to go for a walk that has no goal, no destination, no time limit. If you say, “I don't have the time”, well, it simply means you're giving in solely to your outer life run by the executive left side of your brain that confines you to the ticking minutes.
Ah, but there's also the god-given intuitive right side that can lead you to your inner life, into the timeless now, into liberty, authenticity and peace. It helps you go spaces rather than mere places. Science is paying attention to it with increasing respect. A recent neurological study says that the right side is continually ‘reading' your environment. That it guides you out of pitfalls into your trueness.
For example, the right side is the little voice that says, “Depression is bad for you.” Thanks to it, you know you shouldn't get depressed.
But, the left side of the brain that's been so much in the outer world snaps, “Shut up! Leave me alone. I want my depression.” And if you continue to ignore the right side, you sink lower psychologically and this doesn't just weaken your will, it weakens the immune system as well.
That's why I say, get an inner life. Go, experience what it is to be in a space where you can just let things be, just let things happen.
As the outer walk strengthens your physical heart, let the inner walk strengthen the heart of your mind, your spirit. Every time you take a physical step, and along with it a mental step, you go one more foot into a balanced life, into harmony. The 16th century Zen master Han Shan describes this experience beautifully, “I took a walk. Suddenly I stood still, filled with the realisation that I had no body or mind. All I could see was one great illuminating Whole.”
I have personally experienced this luminous wholeness, as if the process of walking itself has helped me shed all physical boundaries, all mental limits and made me aware of an inner self that's an energy expanding and being one with my surroundings.
I'm not just being, I'm giving my energy to the world until there's no ‘my' left. It's awesome. It's a point of no return. You can never go back to the ‘half' way of living. You can never be depressed. Your blood pressure, blood sugar levels become beautifully balanced. Inflammations in the body subside where you're no more plagued by headaches, joint aches, back pains. Cancer patients experience a healing.
When you experience such completeness, wholeness, you sincerely feel, “If I were to die now, I'd have no regrets.” But, in actual fact, you've just begin to live the way you're meant to live. There's no death in contentment as many ambitious people believe, there's continual living progress in harmony, with harmony. You feel you are in the vast pulsating embrace of peace, joy, love. There's a protective element to it, a steadfastness, a calm unhurriedness. Sometimes, there's a feeling of being led or guided, but it's much too subtle yet to be described in depth.
There is no greater physical thrill than a body walking as if it is born to walk. You don't have to practise walking. Even if you have been doing stationary cycling or exercises to improve your flexibility, you'll walk like a graceful panther. However you may appear to others, inside you'll feel the elegance of heart, mind and spirit moving in exquisite synchronicity. You need to wear comfortable clothes and light shoes that won't weigh you down. At first you ‘hear' the rhythm of your body, your breath. Then you feel the rhythm, ultimately you're lost in the rhythm, or as Zen masters say, “You are the rhythm.” You're all one unending, undulating flow…
Suddenly, like lightning, the mind lets go the troubling thoughts, angry dialogues, confusion of ideas, unhappy comments and magically relaxes, calms and becomes clear as pure, still water.
It's like watching a film in rewind where the pebble leaps out of the lake backwards and the whirling surface of the lake becomes still. This happens when the left brain working takes a back seat and the right brain dominates. From words to silence is a beautiful transition I wouldn't want anybody to miss.
Every two hours, our breathing pattern shifts from one nostril to another. Left-nostril breathing activates the right brain. At this time, an EEG shows maximum alpha waves. Alpha waves are restful. When you complete a task and relax, or take time off to reflect, meditate, walk, you encourage the brain to turn alpha.
Please walk. Take the first step…the second…third… Flow into greater possibilities. Into greater health. Into greater peace. Into greatness.
The writer is co-author of the book ‘Fitness for Life'.