A few days ago I shared with you how fearful I was about going into Manchester this week, and the meditation that I was using to help transform this fear (you can read the ‘What can mindfulness do for fear?’ blog here). Well yesterday I made the trip, and I am so glad that I did. As I made my way across the city I used a mindful walking meditation to help me connect with all that is solid, safe and happy here.
Mindful Walking Meditation
The words that I use are those taught by Thich Nhat Hanh:
I have arrived. I am home. In the here, and in the now.
I am solid. I am free. In the ultimate, I dwell.
I slow down my steps to bring them into the rhythm of my breathing (perhaps 3 steps for every in breath, 5 for every out breath) and gently repeat each short phrase to myself until I really feel the sense of the words in my body. So on the in breath I say “Arrived” and on the out breath “Home”, repeating it until I feel at home before moving on to the next phrase.
As my mind and body settle together, my thoughts become clearer and hence I arrive in the present moment, free of fears from the past or those projected into the future. I become more aware of all that is happening around me. People playing in the fountains in Piccadilly Gardens. The mixture of voices, accents and languages. Buskers on Market Street. Armed policemen talking to people. Smiles and laughter. Sadness too, and occasionally a tangible sense of heart wrenching grief and tears openly shed despite the media circus that parts of our city have become.
Manchester has always been a friendly city, and more than ever I was able to strike up conversations with complete strangers whose response was not only empathy and compassion for the people here, but also for other people around the world who experience this kind of horror on an almost daily basis. There was a sense that something must change, and that just talking about change is no longer enough. So as the fear settles, let us look forward with hope to the positive actions that I sense will follow. Manchester is a solid city, built on strong foundations: our symbol is the worker bee, with the city as our hive where we work in unity. From such strong, shared roots incredible things can grow.
May you walk in peace, today and always.