Mindfulness – A Journey of “One Inch”

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.” ― Wendell Berry

When I read this quote, I imagine that Wendell Berry is asking me to take it literally.

Similar to the practice of Feeling my Breath, arriving at the ground at my own feet is an experiential practice. When I notice through out my day that my attention and mind are someplace else, I come back to the feeling of my breath and the feeling of my feet in my shoes, on the earth.

Berry is correct in saying that most times this journey of one inch is very arduous and quite humbling. To get back to the feeling of my breath and the feeling of my feet, I sometimes have to move through a thick fog of worry, judgement, anger or sadness. And sometimes this journey of one inch is quite joyful, peaceful and expansive. Every time, the journey is one through the sticky chatter of my own mind and back into the alive openness of the here and now.

I’m quite certain that Berry is speaking the truth when he reminds me that the world cannot be discovered in miles. That the mystery, the miracle, the aliveness of the world is only experienced when I make the arduous journey of one inch back to the present moment, back to the actual feeling of the ground beneath my feet and learn to be at home.

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