Meditation and a Hike

For many, hiking is a form of meditation, getting in touch with nature.  This is certainly true for Terry, and I love hiking myself, but I need a little more.  That is what took me to the Tucson Community Meditation Center last night.  It came highly recommended to me by our friend Kevin.  A 30-minute Q&A, followed by a 45-minute sit and a Dharma talk about how to merge tranquility into your meditation practice rounded out the evening.

The speaker for the evening was Upasaka Culadasa, a lay-practitioner who has practiced Buddhist meditation for 35 years and is now devoted to helping students master meditation skills.  It was a very welcoming group that I spent the evening with and I felt blessed to have had the opportunity to sit in the presence of this revered teacher.  What I didn’t realize until this morning is how much his talk  on serenity spoke to me.

You see, for the most part, I tend to see myself as a tranquil person but I have discovered that I have been anything but serene for the past week or so.  What I have been is restless, with a somewhat uneasy feeling about me and not quite sure why.  I think I may have gotten to the crux of the matter.

When I retired and started this blog, it was with the intent of keeping family and friends informed of our travels throughout Mexico, but also with the thought that I would now have time to pursue my spirituality and write with a more philosophical bent as well. After all, the front page of my blog does say a ‘Journey of Self-Discovery and Adventure” and in my post on Ringing in 2012 I said to be true to yourself, so I guess it is time I do just that.

I enjoy writing about our travels and will continue to do so, as I want to share another great hike we did today in the Santa Catalina Mountains, for those who might like hiking and find themselves in the Tucson area.  Hopefully my occasional philosophical musings will not scare anyone off but if you think they might, hit the back button and get out while you can!  Otherwise, don’t say I didn’t  warn you.

The Santa Catalinas are so beautiful and so vast that we decided to do the Pima Canyon Trail, on the other side of the mountain.  We completed 8 of the 14 miles of this trail before turning back, and with an elevation gain just shy of 2000 feet, we said “good enough”.  Truthfully the literature warns that once beyond the 3-mile mark, the trail becomes noticeably more rugged and steep.  For me that means treacherous on the way down.  We did a lot of boulder-hopping after the 3-mile mark as well and had to stay alert to make sure we did not make a wrong turn, as the trail was not well-defined beyond this point.

I mastered the descent down the mountain, well almost.  We always carry a first-aid kit with us, mostly for the benefit of Terry, as the standing joke is that he seems to take any opportunity he can to injure himself in some way.  But today, this first-aid kit was to be all mine.  I got through the worst of the loose, steep descent, stepped onto a granite boulder, and slid down the other side, whacking my forearm on the way down.  I hit my funny bone (can someone remind me why they call it that?) and drew just enough blood to invoke sympathy from Terry, as he rounded the corner to see me laid out.  Thank goodness for an ice pack in our lunch sack, to reduce the knots that began to appear on my arm.  After a few minutes of easing the light-headedness I was feeling from where I hit the nerve in my elbow and my embarrassment, we were on our way once more.

Except for my minor mishap today, with enough trails under my belt, I think Terry may just make a hiker out of me after all.  Now, if he could just teach me how to pee in the wilderness without getting my boots wet!  Not happenin’.

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