Thursday, March 3, 2016
Today is a kind of boring first among continuations. It is the first day I have walked my semi-regular morning path after a week of searing back pain. It is also the first day of Lent, a season that does seem to mark beginnings, but which in outward appearance is about killing things inside us to prepare us for "new" life we over and over celebrate.
Last week, a still unresolved problem in my back became so intense I could barely walk. After consulting good doctors and a few days of strong medication, I am able to get back to most of my routine. But to be fair, I have to say that the routine had fallen out of favor with my actual practice, so perhaps this is difficulty woke me up.
I had resolved to walk only on paved, level ground, and to be very careful. My usual route is about a mile, but I've only gone a quarter or half that the last couple of days. And only a little into this meditation, I felt the surge: like a glowing, growing brick between my spine and hip. I picture an ugly stone over the coals of demon furnace.
When I reached the grassy area where I intended to turn back the way I'd come, I continued, as if walking the slope of a ditch was a natural act. I can't say this was the right course, or that it produced a mystical experience. I can state (or maybe whisper) there was a moment or two when I thought I could breathe in the stars of the clear sky.