S: There’s something about walking that connects to the earth. You’re not so much up in your head. You’re down in your feet. You’re down on the pathway. You’re getting connected to your body and your passage through whatever you’re walking with, or you’re walking on.
K: I love the idea that we’re feeling the earth. When my daughter got married this last weekend, the judge who did the service asked me, who supports this marriage? I thought, it wasn’t just people—it was everything. In the same way we can walk on the earth as if we are the most important thing and the earth is just this receptacle, or we can walk as equal partner, or we can walk as if the earth is the most important thing, kind of like a Chinese landscape painting and we’re just getting a favor from it for a short time
S: Like a blessing or a gift.
S: Something that struck me when you were talking about the wedding is that walking is part of the ceremony. People walk down the aisle. They walk out of the church. Walking is a sacred element of the marriage ceremony. Also there have been times when people circumambulate something that’s sacred. Walking—it’s not just in Zen—but walking is a sacred act.
Part of it is taking walking on and making it sacred. You take your breath on when you sit. There’s these basic things you do. Like you eat, and that can be communion or it can be mindful when you eat. And you walk. And you breathe. For me, opening a door, putting my hand on a door knob, is sacred and I often come to myself when I do that because I associate that with walking in the door for dokusan. So you’ve taken an ordinary basic part of your being that you do a hundred thousand times and you make it sacred.
K: It’s one of the things we do that we’ve probably done from our beginning.
K: A lot of things we do, like talking into a tape recorder, are not things we have done from the beginning. In another era we would have either remembered what we said or someone would remember it.
S: Not only in the beginning like walking out of Africa and coming through the rest of the continents, but also from the beginning as people. When a kid stands up and takes that first step, they’re becoming a person.
K: I remember when my son was taking his first steps and I was on the phone with my parents, and I said, “he’s done one step! he’s done two steps! he’s done three steps!” And I think we got up to five.
About Kim Mosley | Sarah Webb