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Partly cloudy days can provide beautiful lighting for outdoor walks. When the partly cloudy day happens to be the first day of autumn with a distinct chill in the morning air, one has the distinct feeling that there is a different calling for the weekly forest walk that day.

And so it was that I accepted the inner invitation to visit with the local bird reservation this Friday – a visit that I hadn’t made since the spring! All the familiar locations looked a bit different. A new water fountain in the pond, near the entrance where my favorite bridge is located, brought a welcoming freshness to the water and a delightful hum that warmed the ears. New signs in several trails educating visitors about the mission and the support needed for the good health of the reservation. And much more.

The trail itself had very few leaves on the ground yet, so the sun rising slowly through the forest created beautiful light and colors on the leaves still on the trees. Nature’s morning and evening light patterns can help create a beautiful inner condition of stillness and peace.

A visit with a favorite book or movie or podcast, an actual conversation with a good friend, a greeting card in the mail, a wave from a neighbor walking by as you sit on the porch — one or all of these ‘things’ can instantly brighten our inner condition.

Some of us may also have daily, intentional, spiritual practices which, over time, help us build resilience into our inner condition. Why build resilience? Such a condition can serve us well in moments where a random text message, a tweet, a news item, a harsh word or any such intervention by the outside world can instantly disrupt our condition. The higher the degree of resilience of our inner condition, the more quickly and easily we can find ourselves back in our state of equanimity after our mind’s surface has been insta-stormed by the world.

By asking and observing ‘what is it that disproportionately disrupts my inner condition?’, we can get heart-smart about the actions we take to decrease the frequency such disruptions of our condition. As we adjust our practices to decrease our sensitivity to the disruptors, we can improve our inner condition, and then do more of those practices which works for us. A positive feedback loop can thus be established within, and over time, the heart-mind-body system becomes less and less ‘allergic’ to our ‘irritants’.

If we want to establish, maintain and enhance a condition that is active but not reactive, a daily walk of self-observation of our condition is essential.

Yes, it takes ‘extra’ work, but what if it is perhaps the best work we will do on a daily basis? Start with a small daily commitment and bring a joyous attitude to the walk. Journal what happens daily. Watch the changes in your condition over ninety days.

Consider. If you start a new walk today, you may have a brand new ‘gift of inner condition’ for yourself by the end of the year.


P.S. Join us for our weekly chat with the #SpiritChat community on twitter, Sunday Sep 25 at 9amET / 1pmGMT. We will take stock of our inner conditions as we gather over tea and quotes! How to start that new walk? Ask me if you need suggestions. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Sunflowers in various stages and conditions as autumn arrives…