Friday, 30 July 2010

Pain and Desire

The way I've walked home has gradually changed over the past 6 months. When I first arrived in New York, in the midst of the cold winter, from the moment I left the subway I wanted to be home. I live near 86th street subway, and I have to walk 5 blocks north to 91st street and 4 blocks east to York Avenue. During my first few months here, whilst on my walk home, I always had a desired goal in mind: to be home. It caused me to walk hurriedly towards my destination, in the event of a bad mood, I'd find myself resisting the inevitable journey. The journey seemed a painful experience, it felt long and seemed an obstacle to be overcome.

Gradually that has fallen away. Now when I leave the subway, I no longer have a desire to be home. The journey is no longer an obstacle. I simply walk because walking home is the apparent course of action, it's a habitual action. As I'm walking I'm just conscious of walking, no goals or desires, I'm just feeling the energy of whichever moment of my journey I'm in. I feel one leg lift, and set down upon the ground. Then the other leg... My journey home is meditation. It feels timeless, instant. Then when I arrive home, it's almost a pleasant surprise. I was not conscious of a long journey. Sometimes now I do not even go home, I may dawdle in a shop, or go to the park and lie down upon the grass.

The journey is no longer a chore. The process is the same, I walk the same route everyday, but there is simply no desire to be home. I walk home, just because. I feel neutral about the journey, sometimes its really rather pleasant, other times less so, either way - I don't care.

Its a nice metaphor for how desire causes unnecessary suffering. I've never really intuitively believed in the idea that we have "a life purpose" that can be reduced down to a concept, let alone a career or set of activities. Eckhart Tolle says "our primary purpose is to be here, now". Is that true? I don't know, but I feel somehow that resonates with me. In what areas of your life do you fruitlessly desire for things to be other than they are?

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