When I go for my usual walks (for now), I am sort of forced to use a path that goes around a local park since it is the only one that doesn’t close at dusk and it is mostly lit up. The outside track is 1.25 miles around with( about) 3% incline grades on each side. At this point in time I generally walk at least thrice around as well as up a separate hill with a VERY steep grade that is only 0.6 miles. It’s odd to me that while I walk my thoughts are flowing and( in my mind) I am able to clearly express what I would like to be able to communicate about it on my blog , only to find that by the time I sit to write hours later, I can’t even come close…I wish I had a tape recorder in my head! But, as I have been asked a few times about what I mean when I do a ‘walking meditation’ session, I will do my best here ( humor me, please ..lol).
Let me start by giving a few definitions of meditation:
- “A written or spoken discourse expressing considered thoughts on a subject”
- “To engage in contemplation or reflection”
- “To engage in a mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”
- “Taking charge of one’s mind”
- “Using a technique to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear , emotionally calm & stable state”
There are many different forms of meditation out there ( including prayer) and I believe the above descriptions can apply to just about all of them. I tend toward the last definition during my walking sessions. With that in mind, this is “my “ current process.
The first time around the track I start out just trying to acclimate to whatever the weather/current environment is. I walk at a pretty good clip and have gotten it down to about 18-20 minutes. I call this the ascent.
-“the act of rising”- in my case rising above any external forces that would impede my growth, progress and focus- such as physical discomfort, daily concerns, worries of any sort.
By the second round , my mind and body have “warmed up”. I slow my pace a bit. I am more able to listen to the sounds around me, the rhythm of my pace, to smell, see and take in the environment without the above distractions. I call this summiting or the summit:
-“to meet the apex”- As with any meditation , the apex to me is being at the height of my awareness, the peak of mindfulness, and a ‘clearing of the trees’( external issues) enabling me to see the highest views ( of myself/or the world around me) at that moment).
By the third round, I am connecting with any ongoing situations , emotions or mental blocks using my achieved state of clarity and I allow myself to come to a peace with whatever my final thoughts are for that day on each item. I call this the descent.
“moving to a lower position from a higher one” where in my thoughts are coming into a more grounded place in order to transition back into the material or “real” world.
This is just a basic description of the sort of “process” I use. It isn’t dependent on the actual # of times around the path or any set time frame or mileage. As my walks grow into actual hikes, on various trails and become longer, each stage has broadened and became longer with increasing emphasis on each stage, culminating in the fruition of more productive solutions each time.
I hope this wasn’t too “textbook” or boring…but it’s all I got at the moment. I do not use music or tones, ear buds , or even bring my phone along, etc. during my walks right now in order to stay in the moment and avoid distractions. I look forward to longer and even more enjoyable hikes as I gain strength( physically) as I anticipate the meditations to become more valuable in tandem.
Peace and hugs….