I met a man once who said the key to a fulfilled life was to have no expectations or desires from anyone or anything. He said the art to meaning was to simply be with whatever the moment happened to present. He didn’t come by this through hours of meditation, prayer or contemplation. Instead he found the key to this through walking.
I haven’t thought about him in a while, but while walking with the four-footed in the squall that felt more like autumn than summer, he popped back into my head. It may be that I thought of him because I had put on shoes with very thin soles through which I could feel every small pebble as if I weren’t wearing shoes. After all he told me that if you walk far enough and long enough your feet won’t hurt anymore because they will be numb. If you walk enough hills, uneven and hard ground eventually the ache in your calves drift away for they too a numb. And the heaviness in your legs? You guessed it, your legs go numb.
The art to walking until you are numb, he assured me was to start when there was a cool wind whipping small burst of cold rain across your path. This way you’d soon enough be wet and cold to the point where you couldn’t feel either any more. He walked in the dark so his eyes has less to be distracted by and let the sun’s heat burn him until he could no longer feel it.
I guess if you experienced nature in a way that was more tactile you’d soon find yourself no longer distracted by the colours, smells and touch. After you were no longer distracted you could simply be with the beauty of nature as it was with no expectations or desires to hold or tame it.
He reckoned that the further you walked, especially with heavy steps, the quicker you’d fix your broken heart. Not that it would heal, rather it would shatter and grind the broken pieces to dust. Once it was dust it would eventually shake from your being with each step you took.
If you did his right, when you stopped walking you’d still be numb. You wouldn’t know what to do with yourself at a standstill, but you would be numb and prepared to simply be.
Now while I was wearing my thin soled shoes while walking with the four-footed one I wished to have numb feet so as to no longer feel the sharp edge or bite of a stone. While I admire those who simply can be in the moment with no distractions I’m not so sure I’m ready to go to that extreme. I want to smell the freshness of spring when everything is green and unfurling. I wish to feel the summer wind upon my face and watch the golden grasses form waves as if they were an ocean.