Worry Walking

There has been a retreat here at Shasta for the last four or so days which I’ve been involved with. Thus little time to write here. I’ve not so much been leading it as walking beside or perhaps walking along behind! However, it has been an intense time, with morn to night activity.

One evening instead of sitting talking together we went outside and wandered around. (Not normal retreat activity by the way.) The instruction was to refrain from naming what entered our eyes and to simply allow the sight to enter in. Remembering at the same time that it is at the back of the head, the visual cortex, where vision registers. Refraining from naming and labelling, no like/dislike just simply allowing what is there to be there. Refraining from staring or fixing on objects. Just wondering about with no destination, no place to go, nothing to do. Twenty minutes later we came back together and many found this an interesting exercise. Try it yourself why not.

When going from one place to another its all too easy to worry walk. And worry walking tends to bring one’s eyes down onto the ground. To look down rather than look ahead, or up, to where one is going. Looking down coupled with mentally being ahead of where one is physically is surely no way to live. Is it?

This sweet pug can no longer see and gets about with the assistance of a wheeled cart. Walking and then coming up against an object is its way of navigating space. Bump, turn, bump, turn. With opened and flowing eyes we need not bump into objects, and our minds perhaps, in order to navigate.



Spare a thought for Muji who is in declining health and for Jim and Nancy too who are looking after him. Intense times.

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4 thoughts on “Worry Walking”

  1. It was great to see you Rev. Master Mugo on Wesak Eve. Sorry I had to leave earlier than expected the next day and we didn’t get to talk more.

    Offering merit for dear Muji and his people…

  2. I’ve been away for a week so only saw this post today. Great reinforcement for my practice. I try when walking alone to do what you’ve suggested; just let each object enter in and then move on. But I’d never thought about the naming/not naming approach. I’m going to try it! Thanks for this.

  3. This aspect of training, the non labeling, which includes the sifting ones experience into like, don’t like or don’t care seems not to be taught that much. On my very first retreat I was sent into the garden with the instruction to watch, as I worked, the naming and labeling habit as well as the habit of measuring up ones experience against ones preferences. So glad that you picked up on this Rob.

  4. Dear Jeannine. Yes, so sorry not to have spent more time speaking with you. A lost opportunity which I’m rather sad about. Another time hopefully.

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