I look at the app on my phone right after I am done walking for the day. It tracks a multitude of things like sleep, exercise and mood. Occasionally there is a challenge of sorts. The latest one is mindfulness. Each day, it asks me if I have been mindful. I answer in the affirmative. I take stock of my day. Deep breathing? Check. Reflection? Check. Meditation? Not really.
Each morning as I walk, I chant. I imagine the words I say aloud form a protective barrier against all the evil in the world. I imagine my sanctuary, my home and everything it in safe, healthy, happy. It gives me peace, this thirty minute ritual. Most days, I am focused on the words I am saying wishing I knew the meaning. Some days, my mind wanders even as I chant. I think about broken relationships. I think about work deadlines. I think about the uncertainties that the future holds. I think about mortality. I think about paths not taken.
I notice that my chanting falters when my mind wanders. I self correct and walk on. In the half hour each morning, I try to be aware of everything around me. The light from the windows, the birds that light on the branches every now and then, the clacking of the keyboard as Saathi works, the smells of cooking as I turn around the kitchen island. These sounds and smells are soothing. They ground me to the present unlike anything else.
I think of meditation. I think of the ability to let feelings be. I think about cultivating equanimity. I think of being unaffected by outcomes. It feels like a steep hill to climb, for now. Then, I remember it is all about the small steps. It is about not looking at the top, instead, looking at my feet one step at a time as I make that climb.