Admit it: do you have a game on your phone you love unwinding with? Scrabble with friends? Chess? Candy Crush?
A few years ago- I can’t remember why- my son and I both downloaded Candy Crush, and became a little competitive. Of course, he streaked ahead in levels, then quickly bored of it and never played again.
I stoically continued, and got myself slowly but surely up to Level 691.
Then 2 months ago, I had to get a new phone… and somehow, all my apps froze as I transferred the old info, so I found myself back at the beginning of the Candy Crush map again.
What’s all this got to do with a silent walk you wonder?
Well, last month I had the privilege of going on a 9-day Yatra, which is a Buddhist-based bushwalking adventure, filled with daily meditations, talks on Buddhist philosophies and practices, plus walks and meals in ‘noble silence’.
30 of us (mainly aged over 50) travelled to the South Coast of Sydney, which had been ravaged by bushfires last year- remember those scenes of whole townships huddled on the beach in eerie orange smoke? That’s where we went. The incredible Australian bush is reviving though, with green epicormic growth sprouting everywhere (it means ‘leaves growing from the trunk’,
and I’m just showing off ‘cos it’s a new word I’ve learnt).
We hiked along the coastline, through the National Park, camping for 2 nights in each spot- and the best part for me was that our heavy packs with tents were transported for us, so all we had to carry were our day packs with water and lunch!
We were woken at 6.30 with a bell, then meditated from 7-7.45. Brekky was porridge with multiple toppings, then either more meditating before the day’s walk, or packing up camp before we set off.
The walks varied from 10-20kms/day, and were always in silence.
So why am I posting pictures of a phone app, not glorious wild scenery?
Because I realised how often I tuned out of my surroundings at home, sitting on the couch or verandah, yet miles away from reality on Facebook or sometimes Candy Crush.
I don’t think I have a serious phone addiction at all, yet still it tugs me away from the Here and Now, every single day.
So I decided to REALLY try and curb my mindless use of it, which meant “See Ya Later CC”.
And I regret nothing. Which is the most important thing.
Six weeks later I am still happily meditating regularly, and can drop into ‘the zone’ more quickly than ever before. I feel like I expanded my brain muscle somehow, and my stamina for sitting quietly built up on the Yatra from 20 minutes to 45.
I wish I’d stuck to this when I first learnt it at age 25! I’d be levitating by now…
Anyway: at least I’m no longer wasting my life on a stupid phone game full of pretty moving shapes and quirky sounds…
How about you? Do you meditate? Have you tried, failed or succeeded? And are you a Candy Crusher?
My next post will contain more scenery photos I promise- here’s 3 to tempt you back:
With gratitude for the discipline of breathing, G xO