Taking your mood for a walk

It was a pleasant Spring morning in Somerset during a week-long silent retreat. We were being guided, very capably, through exercises based on the four ways of grounding mindfulness by paying attention to: body, feeling tone, mooded mind, dhammas. This particular morning we had been invited to ‘take our mood for a walk’. Initially as I walked I felt quite shaky but this unsteadiness eased when walking barefoot and soon gave way to an inquisitiveness and quiet reflective state. At least on one occasion I felt sad, perhaps even lonely, and it was at this point that the temptation was strongest to race ahead in my thoughts, as if to cheer myself up, imagining and planning, distractions designed to gladden the mind. In the midst of this new-found confidence, time and again, I so easily lose connection with the present, embodied moment. Then in the distance there existed the most beautiful vista – bright yellow rape against big bold trees on the hillside. I saw some children running, chasing each other through the tall meadow and in this moment I remembered so clearly the fun (embodied fun) we all once had as children, thoughts no more of distant thunder.

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