My brother dropped me off at the train station this morning, showed me a special rate on the automatic ticket dispenser which allows me to travel in a large region all day long, as long as I take slow trains. That’s more than I need: all I want is to get to where the Rhein and Mosel Rivers meet, at Koblenz. The Rhein is a major traffic artery that runs from its source in Switzerland, diagonally across Germany East to West, and eventually runs into the Atlantic in the Netherlands. The Mosel, in contrast is a slow-moving, gracious waterway; rarely deeper than 3 metres, with dozens of locks to raise the water level and allow freight and tourist boats to travel from France, through Luxembourg, into Germany. Near here it winds its way among vine-covered slopes, with Disney-pretty villages and castles. Walking trails meander through vineyards, up and down steep hills. The air is cool and fresh; light mist, 12°C.
The moment I settled in the train I noticed the absence of a little black shoulder bag. Where did I leave it — at brother’s home, on a station bench, or ? What’s in it? Notebook with ideas for future blogs, addresses, and the topographical map for this walk, what else? Not money or ID. So, relax. It’s gone. Let go: gone.
Experience is simply what happens. If I try to choose and say This is good, this is bad; this I like and that I don’t; my trip should unfold this way and not any other, I’m separating myself from What Is. To rest with What is and Where I am, A.H. Almaas writes,
is a form of surrender to whatever is happening. And that surrender is an awareness that embraces whatever our experience is. If I am feeling something and I don’t like it, then I embrace that I am feeling something and I embrace the fact that I don’t like it.
Good advice for travellers everywhere! If I check email and a message I was hoping for is not there, a habitual response might be disappointment, even sadness. So I note both: no mail, feeling sad. I listen and I embrace. I face what is — and add nothing.
This approach requires a certain trust and confidence in our true nature, that all is well, that nobody means to harm me, that the world is just as it is, neither a bad place nor a good one. I simply surrender to what presents itself. Surrender means non-doing, wu wei in Taoist parlance: no pushing, no interfering, no projecting, simply noting.
Ooops, coins are running out and this computer is about shut down. Time to saddle up and find a trail out of the city. May all beings be at ease.
source: Almaas, A.H. (2008). The unfolding now: realizing your true nature through the practice of presence. Boston: Shambhala, p. 25-26.