I find that the mantram is a wonderful outdoor
traveling companion for many reasons.
There are its wonderful calming effects that
Easwaran so often pointed to. “The rhythm of your footsteps, the rhythm of the
mantram, and the rhythm of your breathing,” he writes, “all harmonize to soothe
and invigorate the body and mind.”
Through many adventures on the land, I’ve learned
that my body was built for long, steady, rhythmic motion – as I believe all
human bodies are – and that swinging my feet over a trail, pumping my legs on a
bike, or thrusting my paddle into the water thousands of times a day is one of
the greatest and cheapest and safest medicines around. It’s just so good for the body, mind and spirit.
I find that inviting the mantram into such
naturally resonant experiences makes them all the sweeter. When my mind is quietly
engaged with the mantram, I tend to see and appreciate more detail in nature –
the unique serrations of a leaf, the graceful curve of a raven’s wing.
The same goes for all my other senses which are
somehow enlivened in the company of the mantram – the tang of a wild cranberry,
the flutelike song of a thrush.
Occasionally, when assaulted by an undiluted
blast of nature’s beauty – the ghostly swirl of the aurora borealis, the
blinding radiance of sunlight dancing on the sea, the stillness of a snow-filled
woods – when I am almost overcome by feelings of wonder and joy sparked by such
experiences, I again lean on the mantram. Somehow it helps me appreciate such
experiences more fully, more clearly, while adding what I can only describe as
a glimmer of grace.
mani padme hum… Om mani padme hum…