I just couldn’t write. The frustration inside me grew larger as the text cursor kept prompting me to fill the empty page with words. Not a single word came to mind.

It’s been over a week since I’ve gotten back from walking the West Highland Way and I’ve had such a great time! Since I’d collected all sorts of beautiful images, thoughts and experiences during my hike, I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t appearing on paper. What’s going on!

Despite my fantastic adventure in Scotland, I returned with a knee injury that forced me to keep exercise to a minimum and remain very patient with myself. As I’ve got heaps of enery, I’m used to doing some form of exercise every single day. Not being able to move in ways I love to, left me frustrated and hurt.

How can I write about a truly wonderful experience when my mind is stuck in this place of frustration and pain? I couldn’t figure it out, and then I read the words of the Ikkyū, an apparently rather eccentric Zen Buddhist monk and poet from the fifteenth century:

This quote naturally allows for a multitude of interpretations, but to me it means the following: A clear or open heart is kind and compassionate heart, it’s heart that does not judge. An experience received by an open heart is neither labeled as a hurtful or enjoyable one; it is simply being experienced. Therefore, in a clear heart pleasure and pain are one and the same.

In Buddhism, the moon is a symbol of enlightenment. As Ikkyū says, it’s constantly there. No mountain could even hide the moon since it is always present, just as enlightenment is.

Ascending a mountain, receiving and embracing both pleasure and pain allows for a more whole experience – one that might further you on your path of spiritual growth.

Ikkyū’s words dissolved my inner struggle. My beautiful inspirations and thoughts, my feelings of frustration… they’re all part of the same truly wonderful adventure, I only have to practice receiving and embracing them as such.

Hope I can put all this into action and bring you some words about the West Highland Way soon!