There are times when I am going out and about to coach a client, tutor or mentor someone, give Reiki or interpret in the deaf community or simply out to people watch. As I go to and from these various locations I often find myself walking for extended periods of times. Today I noticed an interesting tendency and decided that I wanted to share my realization with you (smile).
One of the things I have noticed was that people respond to me differently based upon what neighborhood I am walking through. Now know that this is a semi-generalization based upon what I have observed.
The reactions I experience in these neighborhoods ranges from being out right invisible per se to being intensely stared at!
For example, there are times when I am walking and I will smile and greet passing people with a “Hello, good morning, how are you?” and the reaction is one of silence and what appears to be a determined effort to not give eye contact. At other times, I may be in a store and again will speak to someone and while they still do not respond verbally, the eye contact is deliberate as they stare at me. And lastly, I may get the stare down and the puzzled look as if they are trying to figure me out or understand something.
When I have mentioned this to people to see if they have experienced something similar, I am often met with a racial response as people assume that the color of skin is what is affecting a response. When I inform them that I get similar reactions by people of various races, ethnicities, and colors, they disagree and assert that it is a race issue.
Now my realizations…
When I am “just walking” and I get the above reactions from people despite my pleasant greeting, smile, etc, I find myself annoyed, insulted, unjustly judged by them versus when I am “mindfully walking” and get the exact same responses (often times by the same people when I am in the same place frequently) I feel compassion towards them and I sense the missing connection that humanity so longs for. People seem to be starving for love, kindness and contact but deeply fear being vulnerable to injury or attack. How many Ted Bundys have smiled and been nice to women only to rape and kill them? How many men have smiled and struck up a conversation only to be beaten robbed and killed by an attacker? As a race, we fear looking into another’s eyes, we fear making contact, because we fear being hurt…. And yet the very act of shutting ourselves off is hurting us!
Have we distanced ourselves via the virtual world that we no longer know how to connect face to face?
How many of us while out with family or friends spend more time looking at our phone than one another?
How many of us send an e-card or email versus a handwritten letter to a loved one?
How often do we allow the stereotypical labels color the filter by which we see and interact with the world?
Today as I walked mindfully I realized the energetic difference between when I just walk, absent of the now, breathing in a shallow manner, in a hurry to arrive somewhere, and seeing empty faces of others who are separate from myself and easy to judge and dislike. The counter to this is to be in the present, to breathe, to see each person as they truly are, divine, whole perfect and complete (even if they do not know this for themselves), compassionately holding only love and unity in my heart and mind for them regardless of how they respond to me. The energy of this state is one of Oneness and Love and that is where change and healing occur!
Something as “simple” as walking can be a source of such intense emotional connection!
My challenge is to practice this more often so that I may take the sacred sangha with me wherever I go and to whomever I meet.
Mindfully walking… who would have thought!? (smile)
Give it a go and feel free to share with me your observations and realizations. I’d love to hear about it!
Be calm and Walk on!