I would like you to meet Nellie – Nellie Malone.
(I believe her to be Irish) is a 9.5-pound West Highland white terrier, aka, a Westie. It has been brought to my attention by a dear friend that I am “seriously smitten.” My beloved wife, Barbara, thinks I dote too much on Nellie. Why? Because I refer to Nellie as Canine Resplendent? Because I have suggested setting up a college fund for her?
I don’t understand these people….
Nevertheless, this is about walking with Nellie, specifically early morning around 5:30 or 6:00, when all is quiet and the light is just beginning to grace the day. Adyashanti, a teacher of meditation, speaks of our natural state as being the quiet mind that is able to simply be present to whatever IS at the moment. Barbara and I speak to our clients of “acceptance”, which has nothing to do with liking or condoning. It is awareness without judgment. This, I believe, is that same natural state.
Proof of this? I can only tell you what feels good, and a busy, judgmental mind, an assuming mind, a begrudging mind may seem familiar, but is it our natural and peaceful state? Does it close the heart? And how good does that feel?
When mind is led by consciousness, i.e. with intention and purpose, it is a wonderful thing. Yet we so often allow mind to go with whatever “comes to mind.” We become “lost in thought.” We forget that our aware and conscious Self needs to be driving the bus, rather than a mind on steroids.
And there is another aspect to our natural state that I believe to be crucial. It is the open heart. “The mind creates the abyss; the heart must cross it.” When our heart closes down in anger or hurt or shame or fear, it never feels good. It’s not natural. This is why forgiveness (another topic) feels good if it is true forgiveness. It’s the state in which I open my heart, because I no longer hold the other responsible for my happiness. It has nothing to do with agreeing or condoning or liking.
So back to Miss Nellie…
It is early morning. Nellie and I are walking the road that runs north along Seneca Lake, NY. Light is creeping through the trees. The air is cool, harbinger of autumn. My heart is open; no interference there. My mind, however, has me in a Harry Potter scene (do NOT ask how my brain gets there!). Then I remember I’m walking with Nellie…
Mind settles in on the sniffing and the whiteness of Nellie. Then I’m in a replica of a Godfather scene. Walking with Nellie…Mind shoots to the task of writing this blog before 11:00 A.M. Walking with Nellie…I wonder what’s on the agenda before my first client. Walking with Nellie…I’m glad I’m only drinking one glass of wine in the evenings. I feel clear. Walking with Nellie…My friend’s husband was in a motorcycle accident. Painful. My heart stretches. Walking with Nellie…
The walk is a patchwork of mind activity, returning to quiet mind and opened heart in the moment of walking with Nellie. The return feels natural, a homecoming. Peaceful. So I look forward to these days when noticing my breath, immersing my awareness in a sip of coffee, or gazing into the heart of a client is like walking with Nellie.
And it doesn’t get much better than that.