A Walking Meditation in San Francisco

Surprisingly, I didn’t wake up with any sore muscles today. It’s probably because I stretched out after I came back from my walking meditation. I decided to do a walking meditation because I realize that even with friends, as wonderful as they are, nobody will be there to help me when I’m down or cry over me, pat me on the shoulder when I’m down, or get me through anything. There’s only me, ultimately, but I will not reject help.

An e-mail came last night before I had dinner, leaving me a bit disenchanted. It was from a girl I had put a lot of effort into before who after months of no correspondence, sent me a cold e-mail, which also indicated a dismissal of any chance for friendship. So I made the decision to be a guy for the evening, then the next day (today) when I wake up, to be a man again, move forward and leave this behind me.

So after dinner, I walked down Geary boulevard to Ocean Beach, then to Taraval while stopping by the apartment I used to live in on Judah 7 years ago when I was here. I walked up to Dragon Lounge on 24th and Taraval to have a beer, talk to people, observe, then walked up to West Portal, then down to 19th and Taraval and headed towards Geary on 19th.

The most difficult part came when I was crossing Golden Gate Park’s outlying path when 19th becomes Park Presidio after a series of turns since there is no pedestrian path, and I entered the darkness of the woods. I recalled that stabbings occurred here late at night because of the homeless and drug addicts there. At one point I was ready to walk on the road as cars would have to dodge me while I was there. But I recited two mantras from Frank Herbert’s Dune:

1) It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

2) I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will allow it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Before I entered the darkness and unknown dirt paths, gnarled roots, fallen trees, and sinister unknown, I grit my teeth, sharpened my senses, and descended into the unknown, reciting the mantras to myself. If I die or something should happen to me, then I know I wasn’t a coward. If I survive, then I have conquered my fear.

So I crossed through the darkness of the forest and saw the animals that were dangerous, from skunks to wild dogs to vermin. I made effort to not disturb them and continued on my way, and finally out. The first trial was finished.

At Geary and Park Presidio, a bus came that would have made the way back easier. I chose to not get on, and walked up Geary eastward bound. Tired, weary, and weak, I stopped to rest for a few minutes at a bus stop, and continued towards Van Ness and Geary. I then headed towards Francisco, and a random voice from behind asked me for the time, which I gave, only to then be followed by a homeless drug addict who began to throw rocks at me while screaming racial slurs and accusing me of yelling at him. I continued walking and decided to avoid conflict, because I didn’t want to waste my efforts and energy on the weak and unworthy, for living my life to succeed is the greatest victory there is, above any match or battle. The second trial was finished as I realized that.

As I finally came back to Polk and Francisco, the third trial finished because I finished my walk and was satisfied with my accomplishment, for I set a goal for myself and I never once backed down from completing it even in the face of adversity.

What did I learn from this? I have conquered my own fears. I strengthened my own resolve and realized the relativity of the term “walking distance” because EVERYWHERE can be walking distance, even if people use it more with reference to time as opposed to physical distance. In the face of adversity, if I set my mind to doing something, I can do it because I have strength of will and determination.

If I can do it, so can anyone else. Everyone can, but they must choose. I have walked through the darkness and come out with a stronger mind and heart. Who knows what more I can be?

Arriving back at the apartment, I brushed my teeth, drank three glasses of water, stretched out, and went to bed. As I lay there at night, I knew I had had my catharsis, and the insights and revelations that came about only increase my awareness, wisdom, and will power. Well, that and my leg strength too, considering how hilly San Francisco is.

Today is a brand new day, and it is going to be beautiful.

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