It’s strange what you miss when you’re otherwise occupied. Caught up in worries, mind overloaded. You go for a walk by the river to try to relax, but still the mind is wondering and it’s hard to focus. You think to yourself, “Where are the signs of spring.” But as much as you look, you can’t see a single bud or a flower, just hear the water racing away as it’s rather loud. You don’t even hear the birds singing.
You walk for a while and the sounds of the water take over everything else. You find a bench and rest and just look. Gradually the mind stills. Then walking back along the path you suddenly spot a bud on a tree, then you notice the trees are actually covered in them. As you stroll on you see the celandine in bud and blooming. Small birds flit from branch to branch and you hear them sing, perfect music, soothing your soul. Spring was there all along. It’s just that you were so preoccupied you couldn’t see it. Your mind wouldn’t allow you to see it. This is indeed what happened to me.
And so our worries, anxieties and negativities, stop us from actually seeing what we should be seeing. They prevent us from focusing – from resting the mind even for a few minutes a day.
So out on walks, just like in meditation, you need to empty your mind and this can take much effort. It’s the same with journeying, your mind needs to be focused, not occupied with everyday worries. If we can’t relax and focus out of doors, then we will find it hard to do this during journeying and our journeying will be unsuccessful. Practicing emptying the mind, and just seeing, listening, feeling, sensing, seems to be rather important then. Not just because we need to focus, but because of all the wonderful things we are missing when our minds are preoccupied.