Zen Spot #185 — Mindfulness, meditation and accepting change and solitude June 25, 2018 00:00
The first time I set foot on the island of Manhattan I walked from 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue to Canal Street — and back. The jaunt included brief stops at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, Tiffany’s, the 52nd Street Library and many other destinations. I was eighteen. If necessary, I had another five miles left in my legs.
New York is a walking city. Much of what can be discovered requires pedestrian effort. Too, the vibe is intoxicating and intense at street level. Miles passed easily under my feet — and did so for the next thirty-two years.
Miles no longer pass easily due to a rare and permanent foot disorder. Rides and scooters must suffice.
In my mind’s eye, I see my eighteen year-old self. While I know my beard is white and my eyesight has changed, I still believe I could run a marathon with the appropriate training. I can barely walk but still believe I could run. The mind sometimes provides what the soul requires regardless of the truth.
When I plan trips to Manhattan, I expect to walk from 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue to Canal Street. Then, I hobble off the bus and panic, realizing that I must find a way to navigate through the sea of humanity.
Gratitude and hope
During my most recent trip, I was able to accomplish most of the things I did as a young man — it just required more time and planning. I witnessed a poetry slam, saw great art and ate at some wonderful diners. I love diners. Also, I stayed at a amazing hotel that offers the tiniest rooms in New York City — intimate, warm and comfortable — the kind that eighteen year-old wanderers occupy when traveling anywhere. While in the room, I was eighteen again.
My mindfulness practice focuses on being present — not looking back or looking forward. Those times when I can look backward with gratitude and look forward with hope allow me to be present. Without the past and the future there is no present, and the present is a gift.
Find your present.
The image above was taken from the fifth or sixth-floor balcony of the Whitney Museum of American Art, looking eastward. The sun was brilliant and warm on an otherwise brisk day. Take note that, within my purview, perhaps 100,000 people were going about their business — none of which can be seen.
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What are The Four Noble Truths?
- The truth of suffering
- The truth of the origin of suffering
- The truth of the cessation of suffering
- The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering
What is The Noble Eightfold Path?
- Right view
- Right intention
- Right action
- Right speech
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
What is a Dharma Wheel?