A completely ordinary traffic light in Buenos Aires. But everything ordinary can be used to do an inner journey. And sometimes when you are dissatisfied with your outer walk in life, perhaps it is better to stop and take an inner walk instead. This is what I did today.
Picture taken by me, 2013-03-08, as is the youtube/iPhone video below.
Sometimes when I am out to take a walk, and I am about to come home, I feel dissatisfied. I don't feel as refreshed as I hoped I would be feeling by then. My body or my mind is still out of balanced in one way or another, and I don't feel fresh and sharp - ready for action. In other words, the walk has not yet given me what I hoped it would give me. In such cases, I may get the urge to take a longer walk. To not go home, but instead take a detour, and go somewhere else first. However, it has become my experience over the years, that it is often enough - often even better - to instead start to walk slower. To become more present in the moment. To really be there in my body and in the surroundings for the walk I am already on. To be so present that there is not any space in my mind for any other thoughts. After just a short time with such walking - just slightly slower and slightly more conscious walking - I feel that I have started to move on the road I have been looking for. My mind starts to feel clearer, my energies are cleaning up, and pretty soon my body is starting to feel more and more refreshed as well. In other words: the outer walk is only there to stimulate the inner journey - which is the journey I usually am really after.
Today, I had a sort of similar experience, but here in Buenos Aires. I was sitting in a restaurant, and I wasn't feeling very well. Earlier during the day, I had gotten stuck in traffick, and hadn't gotten off to Montevideo as I had hoped. My body was feeling stiff and tensed. And most of all: I felt that I had been wasting my time here. I had been here almost a week, but I hadn't really seen anything - I had just been spending my time in a small hotel room, or in a very small vicinity outside of it, or in the university area. I was about to leave, and I hadn't really been here yet.
I left the restaurant in a similar shape, not hungry, but still dissatisifed. The way from the restaurant to my new home (a nice little youth hostel) was short, but I had to cross the road, and this time that meant that I had to stand and wait for the traffic lights to change - the lights that are depicted in the picture above. As the light was about to change to green, I was reminded of a game I sometimes play with myself; to make use of small breaks; to not get annoyed by the red lights in my life, but instead use them as mini-breaks that allows me to get back to the feeling of "ahhh, I have time to spare". And it was probably this habit that gave me the impulse to do what I did: when the green light came, I didn't go, but stayed. And this was the start of an inner journey.
In this inner journey, in this inner walk, I didn't really do anything special. I was just standing and looking around me. In the beginning I was in exactly the same state as before: stressed, annoyed with everything, and generally dissatisfied with the situation. But...after just a little while, I started to get a little bit more present. To get a little bit more there, and a little bit less in my thoughts. But that was enough for me to recognize and sense what had started, and to let the process continue. First just to slightly less dissatisfied states. But since I knew what had started, I pretty soon started to get hopeful for more, and I knew that this was a good thing. And I started to feel the magic build up. Everybody else around me was moving, but I was standing still - I was choosing to stand still. But not completely still. I was starting to stretch my back a little bit. And a little bit more. I was starting to feel present in my body - and to feel the touch of the warm wonderfully humid and slightly cool evening air against my skin. And it was not only me that was changing: my surroundings was changing as well. In the beginning I had been looking at a sign of some play that was running, and had been annoyed about the thin story it seemed to pervey. But, now, in this new state, the thinness of the story was instead an inspiration - it was something I could change. I was here, I am here, to tell a new story. To write new books, and plays, which are based on a new vibration. My own presence, and my own beingness was starting to emerge more and more to the center of my attention. And I was present. I was there. And it was beautiful. Wow, I am in Buenos Aires. This is wonderful! I am here at last!
And it had taken less than 15 minutes. The only thing I had needed was to realize what was needed: an inner walk. And at the end of this walk, I had discovered at last that thing what had been all around me all the time.