A daily record of a ten-week walk through Japan
(more about my Aki Meguri)

The Journal

[On this page, I explained the rationale of the journal entries.]

Shodo set

If you've done much solo walking, this may sound familiar.

At first, you think about the walk itself. You check your body—especially your feet—for potential trouble spots. You think about your walking goal for the day, your route, the landmarks to watch out for. You think about lunch, dinner, and lodging.

When these concerns are put to rest—surfacing occasionally as necessary—you start to think about your daily life. A situation at work, an upcoming family event, an issue with a friend. These are the sorts of things that occupy our usual waking minds, and cause our mundane dreams.

But after a while, you run out of material. You've pretty much hashed over everything, come up with solutions for all "the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to." The mind becomes a blank slate. You find yourself counting your steps, or reciting a mantra, or just breathing.

The religious know about this. It's the basis of many kinds of meditation.

But soon, the mind starts working again, on another level. Instead of thinking about your life, you find yourself thinking about life itself, the sacred instead of the mundane, what the Japanese call anoyo—that world—instead of konoyo—this world. Even the thoughts that do relate to your daily life are now deeper, more philosophical. You even find yourself—as in this essay—thinking about thinking.

The Journal will record this kind of thinking, my own "deep thoughts," the lessons that I glean as I walk, my thoughts on life, the journey, Japan, religion, and all the things the mind turns to when it's freed from the tyranny of the everyday.

See the navigation section at right to find the Journal entries.

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