After a few minutes, a man was walking in my direction. When we were a few feet from one another, he gave me a kind smile and a gentle hello. I echoed his friendly gestures. As I walked past him I felt good. I didn’t feel my peace was disrupted. It was a natural connection.
A little further down the path I encountered a woman with her dog. She and the dog were smiling. I asked if I could pet her dog. She said yes and that her dog’s name was Bear. So I pet Bear. He was a very loving dog. After I moved on, I noticed how good I felt. I got the sense that instead of being private time, this was going to be a hike of friendly hellos.
The next greeting came from a row of bushes along the path. I got the distinct impression that these bushes were smiling to me. In their way, they were communicating their hellos. I got the same feeling of love that I got with the two people and the dog.
I received a similar series of hellos from the trees I encountered. And even the wind. They were definitely affectionate greetings and were a great delight to me.
The next interesting connection was footprints in mud. They were dog, horse, and human footprints. I was enamored by the feeling of life in those impressions. This was soon followed by the affection I felt from the charm of a mystical array of tree shadows dancing across the path.
For a moment these feelings of affinity were disrupted by an experience of back pain. I felt disappointed that this ache was taking away from the rapport I was feeling from the procession of the hellos. But then the thought came, “What if this pain was another hello?” I was certain it wasn’t, but I gave it a try. What I was surprised to find was that my resistance to the pain fell away and the pain greatly diminished.
I got the sense that there’s an opportunity for connection with anything. Not just people. There’s life in everything as there is in me. The shared life allows the connection.