That mind wants to know a lot: how far the next town is, which is the most agreeable route – and many times a day it asks for a progress report. I’d be walking along quite happily, then get an urge to look at the map.
Then the organizing mind would come in with estimates of how long it was going to take, or what state I’d be in, or how I could lessen the weight of this backpack … and so compound suffering out of a pleasantly mild day walking through the byways of rural England free from responsibilities.
The response was about the same as I gave to the woman in Gloucester Cathedral: ‘Right now, it’s OK; the rest is unknown.’ Or at least unplannable. Because the body knew how to walk. So the wisest way was to check the map now and then, and then just come back into the body moving along a step at a time. You can’t help but get somewhere that way.
This is pretty much lesson one of walking meditation, but with the stakes raised the lesson etches itself more deeply. And most important, one learns more about working with the organizing mind rather than being controlled by it.
This reflection by Ajahn Sucitto is from The Forest Sangha Newsletter (FSN 89), January 2010, pp. 6-7.