We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

I expected nothing today but a walk. My mind had been deeply troubled. I awoke early with these troubles, at first prodding me out of slumber, then pulling me out of my meditation. Suddenly the image of a monk came into my mind. As I looked closer it was Thich Nhat Hanh.

I felt the power of his gentle Presence, and it beckoned me to be present myself. It filled my mind and my breath. I felt him take my hand in the forest. As we walked together a peace settled into my mind, heart, and belly. This vision was so strong that I could feel the morning dew and the shift in my physical body.

I felt so grateful for his visit. I was going to his walking meditation this morning, but I knew I would not meet him there as he would be surrounded by 2,000 adoring fans. It did not matter. He took the time and energy to connect with me this morning, as he no doubt did with the others coming today. That is a feat of Presence.

Thich Nhat Hanh at Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, CA

Thich Nhat Hanh at Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, CA

Later, when I went to the walking meditation it was more of a spectacle than a spiritual moment. There was a great deal of uphill walking just to get to the walking meditation. It was difficult to quiet my mind in the sea of seekers, adherents, and the curious.

Going reminded me more of how I, like so many of us, practice mind-less-ness in the endless scurrying that has become modern life. The genesis of this scurrying is the belief in the illusion as reality. The truth is I connected with Thich Nhat Hanh more deeply in that vision than in participating in an event. In chasing the illusion how often do I skip over the reality?

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