An immersion is a deep mental involvement in something. Our walking is an immersion.
When you are practising the sacrament of immersion, you must only be thinking about walking for the first fifteen minutes. Move all other thoughts to one side. Set a course and listen to your body. The muscular strains of your age, the strength of the quadricep and the calf, the clothes adorning your body. Concentrate on your body’s movement, this will facilitate a gentle and full immersion into your walk. You are human and you belong to the earth. Your feet are your connection to the earth. Do not fear the blister, it reminds you of your human frailty.
Like a strong meditation, there is no clear entry gate. You will know.
When you are practising the sacrament of immersion, you must do it alone. Whilst any time of day will suffice, a dawn or dusk experience will excite the senses. When you walk, you must look at your surroundings in detail. The cracks in the path, the bark on the trees, the clouds in the sky. You must look like you are seeing something new for the very first time. You will see awe in the ordinary.
When you walk, do so as a professional listener. Allow time for the kookaburra to complete her song, or the train to pass. Listen for the bass sounds of your landscape. The time of day will dictate what you are allowed to hear, so walk at different times.
When you walk, do so with your nose. Allow the fragrance of plants and the landscape to excite your sense of smell. A fire’s smoke hitching a ride on a northerly breeze. The lemon scented gum drawing halt to your march as you triangulate its location. The smell of summer and the smell of winter are meant to be different so that we can mark time. Treasure all the seasonal aromas. Separate them out in your mind and line them up for reflection.
Your walk is a meditation. It is a gift to bring you into the present. Find your meter and lose yourself. When you walk you will realise that you are part of the landscape. You are a mammal making your way on the earth.
When you walk, walk in silence. Whilst it is permissible to listen to manufactured noise or chat, to gain insight and refreshment from immersion, you must come to silence at a time of your doing. Take your time. This can be difficult. Resist the urge to mutter. Hush your monkey mind, pay heed to your meter, listen to your breath. If someone on the track greets you, give them a wave. There is no need to break silence. You are both moving towards a light.
Your breath and your perambulation is what binds you to the track. It propels you forward, it is the seed of exhaustion and thus the ability to be idle. Being idle is sacrosanct. How can you honour immersion if you lack the ability to be idle? Practise idleness.
A stick can be used as an aid for immersion. It measures the stride and provides distraction for the hand.
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”– Lao Tzu