The Knowledge of the feet

20140207-130406.jpgHave you ever looked back in life and been in awe of how you’ve gotten to where you are? Isn’t it amazing how life turns out to be how it is? We wonder how we can meet so and so, arrive at certain places, and end up doing such and such.

We call it by numerous names: Luck, intuition, gifts, chances, blessings, serendipities, coincidences, etc. But I’d like to think that life is what it is meant to be. There is something that has purposefully led us to be where we are.

Recently, I was told, it is our feet.

Your legs may not know where they are going. Your head — as you know much too well — can swirl anywhere. Your intuition of the heart may feel a bit hazy. But the feet always know. A friend said so to me the other day. We were conversing over the knowledge of the feet as written by Sheikh Ibn Arabi in his book “The Wisdom of the Prophets”.

We go about our lives mostly with our head. We plan, calculate, anticipate, get suspicious, and make some more plans. We review our lives based on the parameters that we, or our society, set for us.

But if we look back in our lives, we would realize that things haven’t always been according to plan. We notice that life is not always what it seems. We thought we were going to one direction, but life has a course on its own. Most of the time, as we look back, we sort of know why we needed to go through what we have gone through.

Some time ago, I had this very experience with the feet. A friend asked what I would like to do the next day. I said, “Let’s just see what will happen tomorrow.” Rightly enough, the next day, I woke up and felt like going to the neighboring town. I looked at the map and found the town. I walked to the bus station and got on the bus.

As we entered the town, I saw a restaurant and was drawn to it. I went to that restaurant and saw a ping pong table. I ended up playing a game or two with the owner’s son while waiting for my lunch. After lunch, I walked around the town and let my feet do the walking, making some stops along the way. I came across breathtaking views. I bumped into a nice old lady and struck up a lovely conversation.

The day may not look much to everybody else. But to me, that day marked the time when I made a conscious decision to allow myself be moved, despite all the doubts and worries. That was a major conviction for a left-brainer like me.

This left-brainer learned something that day onwards: Our feet always conform to life. They seem to comprehend some secrets of life that we may not realize yet. They know when and where to walk, or to stay put. Our mind may question the steps, our heart may wonder, but the feet march on. Like a trusted mount, we get on them and let them transverse the path. They get us through our lives.

The feet know. If we start trusting and listening to them a bit more, perhaps we would know too. Walk on.

Keep walking,
though there’s no place to get to
Don’t try to see through the distances
That’s not for human beings
Move within,
but don’t move the way fear makes you move

– Rumi

The article was first published on The Jakarta Globe’s blogs.

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