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  1. #1
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    Default Hike for the experience, not for the destination.

    Day 11 Ė The Way of Zen
    Iím writing from the Rathskeller Coffee and Pub in Franklin, NC. 110 miles in.



    Yesterday I hiked 7 miles to get to a road and catch a ride into town. I stayed at the Gooder Grove hostel. Itís a really eclectic place filled with eastern art, Taoist literature, and two old dogs.

    The owner of the hostel, Zen, is a Tai Chi master and has studied the martial art for 23 years. Heís a super laid back guy and has very interesting stories.

    Not someone you expect to meet in a tiny town in North Carolina. The trail has been teaching me to discard all expectations and take things as they come.

    Near death experience
    IMG_20160518_141821

    There are 7 of us staying at the hostel and we had fascinating conversations. Pops, a 62 year old widower shared his near death experience. He had flat lined twice a year before and went to a place that he described as all loving and all peaceful.

    Zen shared his experience of dissolving his ego with meditation and the crazy visions that he received as a consequence.

    Hiking with the Tao
    IMG_20160519_071210

    I found ďThe Way of ZenĒ by Alan Watts in a hiker box in Haiwasee. The book delves into Buddhism and Taoism as the foundation of Zen.

    Iím finding many parallels between the ideas in Taoism and this hike. It makes sense. Taoists learned everything by observing nature.

    Iíve had several people ask me if I was worried about making Katadhin since I had started later than usual.

    Before I started hiking my answer would have been yes. Now, I couldnít care less. Already the trail has taught me that itís not the final destination that matters, itís the adventure of the journey.

    Happiness is being in flow with nature. Walking big miles when you feel moved to walk big miles and taking it easy when the world tells you to slow down.

    Happiness is on not sticking to an artificial self imposed schedule. Or even worse sticking to a schedule imposed by others because your egos are in competition.

    I met two 19 year olds a week back. They were pushing 20 miles a day because that was what they had to do in order to finish the trail before school started. They were miserable. Barely spoke to anyone. One had huge blisters. They were clearly not enjoying themselves and they were the perpetrators of their own suffering. I havenít seen them for 3 days. I think they dropped out at Haiwasee.

    If they were less concerned with miles they could have enjoyed three magical months in the woods. Instead theyíre probably headed home dejected and depressed.

    So Iíve decided that I will hike with the Tao and make it to Katadhin when I make it to Katadhin.

    http://www.thejourney.co/day-11-the-way-of-zen/

  2. #2

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    "I’m finding many parallels between the ideas in Taoism and this hike. It makes sense. Taoists learned everything by observing nature.

    I’ve had several people ask me if I was worried about making Katadhin since I had started later than usual.

    Already the trail has taught me that it’s not the final destination that matters, it’s the adventure of the journey.

    Happiness is being in flow with nature. Walking big miles when you feel moved to walk big miles and taking it easy when the world tells you to slow down.

    Happiness is on not sticking to an artificial self imposed schedule. Or even worse sticking to a schedule imposed by others because your egos are in competition."

    Ah soo young a grass hopper, you a learn a much. Have a better time a hiking embracing oneness with ah da all that is, no?

    There have been copies of “The Way of Zen” by Alan Watts floating around the AT at hostels, lean-tos, in hiker boxes, etc for at least a decade. I carried this for about a month meditating on it. Meditation on The Tao and The Way of Zen helped me too experience life/trail life no longer out of ego. It makes one aware that a hike does not have to be a self absorbed self centered affair. No longer was it me moving through the Universe through nature on a 30" wide swath but moving more as one with it flowing as part of Nature not above or separate from Nature. The primary reason to hike can be to no longer be subjected to the desires of unbridled ego...human hubris.

    When one can hike /run in the Zen Zone energy flows, the hike/run magically unfolds, and deeper awarenesses present themselves. From that state in that awareness hiking isn't the arduous entirely emotional, physical, and mental ordeal that it's made out to be. Backpacking becomes a flowing, a gliding along with much less effort. You're no longer fighting, no longer in conflict.

    For further consideration you might explore Druid and Native American Indian culture.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Long distance hiking, to me, is not about the ground covered by my feet. It's about the ground covered in my mind... while on my feet. If you're not right with yourself at the beginning of a long distance hike you will be forced to confront those demons. It can get very uncomfortable at times. It seems to be easy to lie to yourself in the day to day grind of normal life. Much harder to lie to yourself when it's you, your thoughts, and 12 hours of walking to dwell. Of course ymmv. Hiking every year re-centers my soul and gives me a chance to start anew to be a better person than the year before.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  4. #4

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    Good post, SGT! You are correct, it is the journey not the destination.

    Says the guy who took 40 years to finish the AT... my journey was rich beyond expectations. The destination was not important.

  5. #5
    imscotty's Avatar
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    Default

    Well said SJTJones, amen.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 0utlier View Post
    Long distance hiking, to me, is not about the ground covered by my feet. It's about the ground covered in my mind... while on my feet. If you're not right with yourself at the beginning of a long distance hike you will be forced to confront those demons. It can get very uncomfortable at times. It seems to be easy to lie to yourself in the day to day grind of normal life. Much harder to lie to yourself when it's you, your thoughts, and 12 hours of walking to dwell. Of course ymmv. Hiking every year re-centers my soul and gives me a chance to start anew to be a better person than the year before.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk


    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    I lived for ten years in a small mountain community on the eastern flank of the Blue Ridge , adjacent to Shenandoah National Park. The local hunt club sponsored an annual horse show as a fundraiser, and despite being neither a hunter or a dedicated horse enthusiast, I would regularly attend this event.
    There was a category in the judging that always struck me as a beautiful turn of phrase "way of going". I have no idea if this is a standard horse thing or a local tradition, but I have tried my best to be mindful of this ever since. I believe climbers call this "style".
    For some, the heaviest weight they carry is in their heart or head.

  8. #8
    Registered User -Rush-'s Avatar
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    Default

    Zen? Seems like common sense to me, but then again I'm not in my 20s.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    "I’m finding many parallels between the ideas in Taoism and this hike. It makes sense. Taoists learned everything by observing nature.

    I’ve had several people ask me if I was worried about making Katadhin since I had started later than usual.

    Already the trail has taught me that it’s not the final destination that matters, it’s the adventure of the journey.

    Happiness is being in flow with nature. Walking big miles when you feel moved to walk big miles and taking it easy when the world tells you to slow down.

    Happiness is on not sticking to an artificial self imposed schedule. Or even worse sticking to a schedule imposed by others because your egos are in competition."

    Ah soo young a grass hopper, you a learn a much. Have a better time a hiking embracing oneness with ah da all that is, no?

    There have been copies of “The Way of Zen” by Alan Watts floating around the AT at hostels, lean-tos, in hiker boxes, etc for at least a decade. I carried this for about a month meditating on it. Meditation on The Tao and The Way of Zen helped me too experience life/trail life no longer out of ego. It makes one aware that a hike does not have to be a self absorbed self centered affair. No longer was it me moving through the Universe through nature on a 30" wide swath but moving more as one with it flowing as part of Nature not above or separate from Nature. The primary reason to hike can be to no longer be subjected to the desires of unbridled ego...human hubris.

    When one can hike /run in the Zen Zone energy flows, the hike/run magically unfolds, and deeper awarenesses present themselves. From that state in that awareness hiking isn't the arduous entirely emotional, physical, and mental ordeal that it's made out to be. Backpacking becomes a flowing, a gliding along with much less effort. You're no longer fighting, no longer in conflict.

    For further consideration you might explore Druid and Native American Indian culture.
    refreshing...you get it!

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