I try to walk each day round one of our local parks; it is a good break and helpful thinking time.
It also gives me time to watch the dogs. I grew up always having a dog in the house. Since I left my parents’ home, it has never been possible to have a dog, and I miss the presence very much. And I get great delight from watching dogs in the park, and seeing how much they enjoy the walks!
Today, just in front of me, there was a white dog, on a lead (apparently) walking beside a man. I watched them, as we all processed round the path. It became clear that the dog was playing with the lead, and indeed actually had the lead in its mouth. After about 3 or 4 minutes of walking behind them, the dog let go of the lead and ran off. I realised why it had looked so funny; there was a slight confusion about who was taking who for a walk, who was actually controlling the lead.
It occurred to me I could have all sorts of serious and deep meditations about the ways in which I may think I am in charge of my life, but actually my hidden self, or unspoken process – or even, if I am being highly spiritual, the Spirit of God, is leading me. I could think hard about – and speak profoundly about – the way in which our sense of being in control is illusory, and actually leads to an oddity that others may see without knowing what they are seeing.
I could do all of that. What I actually did was laugh, and delight in the delight of the man and his dog, enjoying the sunshine, the park and each other. As I set off back to my desk, it is with a lighter heart. Which seems even more meaningful than any so-called “big” thoughts.