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5. The practice of walking

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  • 5. The practice of walking

    ← 4. The Christian synthesis of the crossIndex6. The spiritual experience →

    After having said that everything becomes or, more humanly, walks, according to its own physiognomy, it becomes appropriate to examine what a person’s walking can be. In my experience, I consider it essential following a methodology of walking, if we really want to cultivate a spiritual experience, which also seeks the possibility of growing continuously and communicating with others. Certainly even living for the day allows for an experience; the choice of organizing a path or not may depend on the type of experience one wishes to pursue and on the vicissitudes that until now we have been able to appreciate more. In fact, a good path, before setting goals, simply takes note of the point where we are and the directions we are already moving toward.
    The methodology proposed here should in any case serve only as a suggestion, as a stimulus for everyone to acquire his own personal ability to design for himself not only a path, but also the best method to follow to draw up and continually rework a life project. Maybe those who, at the beginning, without experience, will feel lost, could follow step by step the indications presented here, but later personalization will always be necessary, otherwise the very meaning of these pages would be misunderstood. The exposition is explained here with a practical organizational hypothesis of a path.
    In this organizational hypothesis we start from a higher level of definition of a general sense for our life; this formulation will have to serve for a temporary start and therefore it will not have to require an excessive commitment; it will only start the work, to be able to be later revised more comfortably. So let us suppose that the imagined meaning is formulated in these terms: “I want to live to know the most beautiful things”. At this point we have already occupied a first part of a written sheet, which will have to function as an orientation, it will have to be the project on paper, as happens when a building needs to be constructed. I consider essential for this work to use pen and paper (or computer), because only this way it is possible to have a term with which to be faced, without falling into the problems of forgetfulness or too vague memories. The writing of a sheet could obviously arouse the concern of being read by prying eyes; for this problem it is necessary to get organized: we will think about solutions to make what we write not too explicit: abbreviations, symbols, custom words, etc.; at the same time, the sheet should not be so protected and coded as to make it difficult for us to understand it quickly: it must necessarily be simple and clear enough to make an assessment possible at a glance, to favor the formation of simple ideas about our path and about ourselves.
    Returning therefore to our hypothetical test, we have drawn a first section of the sheet:

    I want to live to know the most beautiful things.

    A subsequent section may contain a phrase that in this period of my life is serving as my orientation, perhaps based on some important situations that have arisen; here too we make a simple example:

    I want to live to know the most beautiful things
    Treat others with affection

    We have therefore determined in our paper some basic criteria on how we want to live, precisely one general and another one related to the most immediate period of life; the content of the sentences itself shows that the first has a more general value, while the second draws attention to a more particular aspect of existence that, once imprinted in our behavior or in our mind for a certain period, or once another sentence is thought to be more effective and suitable for the moment, can be deleted from the sheet.
    We must now ask ourselves about doing: what do I want to do in my life? To discover our real possibilities we can use a method of exclusion, which will also require some patient but not useless work. We will put under our eyes a list of all the things that can be done in life; it will obviously be a list of a certain length. A brief example:

    eating, playing music, working, praying, having fun, studying, visiting, watching TV, going to meetings, celebrating, listening to music, thinking, repairing, walking, going to school, making phone calls, paying taxes, ordering, chatting, relaxing, doing politics, paperwork, writing, organizing the path, helping the children, talking with the children, playing, learning, getting informed, singing, and so on.

    Once this endless list is drawn up (but then we will notice, perhaps with regret, that it is not really infinite as we expected), we will have to form a ranking. To do this, we will begin with the first written term and will compare it with the second one: the one of the two that will be the most important, meaningful, achievable, will be compared with the third, and so on, until finally we will obtain the thing in our life that is the most important to do and therefore to put in the first place; the result can still be corrected if, in the meantime, we will remember another thing that is even more important. We may even face moments of perplexity due to balance issues: is it more important eating or working? To solve these problems, some criteria will be used regarding the work being done; we can decide, for example: since I am studying the things to do in relation to the meaning of my life, for now I choose to ignore the aspect of eating and I keep in mind only working; later I will have a lifetime to review and correct everything. For now, it is important to start. We are thus beginning to understand that the real work that in this method proves fruitful is that of continuous and patient revision and correction. Furthermore, someone might think of things that are too general, for example that the most important thing to do in life is loving; it should not be forgotten, however, that this type of important things had to be thought of for the first line of the sheet, that one about the meaning to be given to our life; in this third section we must instead leave apart the basic guidelines, since they have already been written, and think only of concrete things. We also sense now that often in our lives or in our discussions we make so much confusion because we confuse the basic orientations with the concrete things to do.
    Once we have identified the most important concrete activity to do, that is the one to put in the first place, we will do the same job to identify the one to put to the second place, having the patience to start again the comparisons, excluding only the term that has been put now in first place. Based on how the eliminatory work will proceed, we will evaluate how many degrees it is appropriate to consider: four, six, ten ... At the end we could find ourselves in front of such a ranking:

    Having moments of relaxation

    which will be inserted in the sheet:

    I want to live to know the most beautiful things
    Treat others with affection


    This list does not expose the only things we do; it will only serve as a reference point for when we need to think about how it will be better to use our time, or for other indicative purposes.
    At this point, we will be concerned about our self-formation, considering, in particular, what the school did not teach us. Since we cannot have, during all our life, teachers at our complete disposal, we need to resort to the most accessible means: first of all reading, then the media, then also meetings with the most different people, etc.
    Some things may come to coincide with the previous list of things to do, but for now we will neglect this problem, providing later to operate those choices and corrections that will serve to streamline and simplify the pathway.
    Since the time of life that we can devote to reading is very little, compared to all that in the whole world we would have to read, we will have to make a decisive, severe selection, with the same method used to determine the things to do.
    It should also be borne in mind that we cannot devote our life to keep ourselves up-to-date with everything important that others do or write about, eventually coming to no longer find the time to live a personal experience of ours ourselves. Information and communication, actually, cannot guarantee for themselves the originality of the experience to be lived; they must be programmed simply as components, among others, of the project of walking, dictated by experience, and not as absolute needs.
    We must therefore have the patience to draw up a list of all the things that in life is possible to study or deepen, to gradually acquire a certain competence about them, to build up a formation, including even those things on which one becomes an expert not only through reading, but especially with practice, for example sport, an art, a hobby. Compared to the list of things to be done, the latter differs because it is aimed rather at those activities that form; one could think that work also forms us, but here we are dealing with activities chosen precisely to form ourselves: would we ever have freely chosen our job for the sole purpose of providing us a formation? If the answer is no, then our job does not fall into this category. Furthermore, reading is of the utmost importance in this field. To draw up a list of all the disciplines that can be studied and the types of books or magazines that can be read, we can also help with similar lists found in certain dictionaries or encyclopedias, or we can even think of all the subjects that are studied in all types of schools; we will help ourselves by all means, putting everything together, for a list that must be as complete as possible. As usual, we know that the work can always be revised, improved even further. A brief example:

    history, geography, sciences, religion, architecture, sports, chemistry, engineering, zoology, botany, literature, music, arts, sociology, anthropology, Bible, etc.

    We will identify the usual ranking by exclusions and a scheme like the following one will come out:


    to be added to the sheet:
    I want to live to know the most beautiful things
    Treat others with affection
    Working News
    Relax Philosophy
    Visiting Religion
    Reading History

    This scheme reminds us that now being interested in other disciplines is useless for us; not because they are not important, but because we cannot read everything, due to the short time of our life, and therefore we must make decisive choices; this does not mean that we will feel authorized to hermetically close ourselves to any other aspect of culture, but only that we will not dedicate continuous time to it, like we will do instead for the other fields. Under each of the items concerning formation, it will be useful to write the concrete means with which we wish to cultivate it; for example, under the heading News we could add the magazines that we intend to read, or to which we want to subscribe; under the heading Philosophy we can write down the title of the book we are reading, writing also the date by which we think we can finish it, taking into account our possibilities. Next to the things to do, we can add the time to dedicate to them. Under the heading Meditating we can add the places where we can go to do it in nice ways, etc .:
    I want to live to know the most beautiful things
    Treat others with affection
    Working News
    TV news
    New York Times (1 x week at least)
    Relaxing Philosophy
    The Philosophers (begun on 3.02.2019; to read by 3.03.2020)
    Visiting (1 x week at least) Religion
    Reading (5 min. a day at least) History (next summer o years)
    Meditating (1 hr a week at least)
    (In my room - On Everest - among the trees of the equatorial forest - At the sea -In the blue Cave)

    Once this work is completed, we could finally add a weekly timetable, similar to the class schedule that students write in their school diary, to have under our eyes how we spend our time day by day; perhaps there will be a period in which we will feel the need to write down also the time we dedicate even to daily meals; then maybe that period will pass and we will only note our most important activities.
    A separate entry in this whole scheme could refer to the time to be devoted to the research itself about the methodology of walking, the paths for creativity and originality; like the way a manager can plan the search for ever new strategies, to keep up in the competitive market, for us it is a matter of keeping up with the need not to become stagnating.
    Once this work is done, all that remains is letting time pass and looking at the paper quite often. We will notice soon the improvements that can be made and we will need soon the patience to tear it up and rewrite it, revised and corrected. We will have to learn to never be discouraged by the fact of having to continually revise our path: this tearing and rewriting can also become, without any need to feel frustrated, a daily habit. On the contrary, often the feeling of impossibility we face when we run up a project can become a very important provocative tool, it can serve as a stimulus to look for other possibilities, other ways of seeing and doing.
    Later, perhaps, we will feel the need to use more than one sheet, but then we will realize that too many details prevent us from grasping the global design and then we will strive to streamline and synthesize. We will also realize that the sheet leads us to rethink the meaning of our life and therefore we will have to try, from time to time, to re-express it in better terms. The programmed reading will begin to bear its fruits and we will understand that we can see things in a lot of other different ways. Life will begin to be a fruitful pathway in which we will try to add our projecting collaboration to what God or life already gives us to live. We will realize that we can also help others to orient themselves in life and we will be able to teach them how to organize themselves a pathway, taking advantage of our experience. Then we will discuss something, basing on the path of each one, and we will enrich each other: this will be communicating. There will be no need to worry about a lot of things, because we will write on the paper that we cannot get to those and they are postponed, for example, to the following year; the written sheet guarantees us that we will not forget.
    A criterion to keep in mind in this work will be that the project thus organized must be the best mediation between simply taking note of what is already taking place in our life and what we instead would like to achieve; actually, walking is first of all listening to our own existence and then also attempting to introduce guidelines, works and see how they work.

    Last edited by Angelo Cannata; 17.11.2019, 15:55.

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