What to Look for in a Path or Route When Starting Your Meditative Walking
Mindfulness is a life-style, not an activity. I always tell people they can do meditative walking anywhere: walking up and down the hall in your house, going to the end of the driveway to get the mail, walking into and around the grocery store, walking to lunch, walking on an indoor track or on a lovely trail in a wooded area. It makes no difference in our overall outcome.
Walking meditation is a silent art form. Talking to our walking buddy or talking on the cell phone are off limits. I like to be in places that create a peaceful feeling within me. I love trails where there are few people. I love to walk by the water, be it a creek or the ocean. I love to walk in wooded areas, the more trees and the older the trees the better. A body of water has such positive, active energy that it is simultaneously energizing and relaxing. Almost any trail in a forest of old growth trees feels like walking through a living shrine…a beautiful, reverent feeling.
All of us have different personalities, different backgrounds and different inner needs. Energetically speaking walking in a place we like is more relaxing. If we grew up in a large city, then we might feel most relaxed walking on a sidewalk in the middle of town. If we grew up on a farm along a dirt road, we might find ourselves seeking a similar place for peaceful walking. There are no rules other than be as emotionally, physically and environmentally comfortable as you can.
Mindfulness is a life-style and walking meditation is a mindfulness skill. We train our body to breathe in a naturally deep way and fill our mind with affirmations or silence, rather than worry, our work or our families.
Janet – what a serene and lovely meditation practice. I love hiking and just listening to the sounds of nature, my footsteps, and my inner body. I try to clear the 'monkey mind' and tune into what my body is really saying.
I am grateful to have found your site and look forward to reading more.
Janet, I share your feelings about walking next to water and among old growth trees. I especially enjoy mountain streams…they have a wonderful cleansing effect. I also enjoy the ancient solidity of the mountains.