Inspired by today's Dharma Practice Day with Gil Fronsdal, on topic of 'right effort', I decided to go 'naked' on walk with Bailey. No audiodharma talk to keep me entertained. Only dog, and myself. I could feel vague unease. Best thing was to go and investigate. Right effort . . .
Boredom, feeling boredom. Maybe taking a different route will help. Bailey wonders what's up, wants to turn right, as usual. I pull at her leash, annoyed. Yep, there is frustration also. Boredom, frustration . . . and breath, and fast steps. Sound of quick breaths draws my attention, temporarily. And so does nature's call for Bailey. Trying to focus on the task of unknotting plastic bag from her leash. Almost welcoming the poop pickup. Anything to not feel the unpleasantness.
Wise mind intervenes, suggests mindfulness, instead of avoidance. Thought, I don't like this, turns into, I don't like being with myself. Oh! such an old feeling. I chronicled similar encounter on this blog, not too long ago. Something about self-love, talk with Gil about it. Importance of loving one self . . . Bailey, oblivious to the internal drama, turns back, and looks up, wanting to make sure I am still there. I mumble a feeble "Bailey", and reassure her with gentle tap on the head. Feeling summons me back, urgently. I get a clear sense of distinct physical presence. It's no longer just me and dog, but depressed, lonely, self also.
There is something comforting about the three of us taking a walk in the dawning darkness of this winter evening. It feels right, for one. Also, resistance has left me completely, and I am now willing to entertain my sad friend for as long as needed. Feeling the depression, completely with each breath, each step. Giving it room, as much as it needs. Not trying to understand where it's coming from. Breathing, walking, feeling the feeling. Until, I notice feeling gone. Only breath, walking, and dog pulling on her leash, wanting to go home.
Tonight, right effort was about honoring mindfulness vow, and favoring direct, mindful experience of unpleasantness, as opposed to escaping into false pretense of listening to dharma talk.