Having had a lot of time to myself this past summer, I spent much of it walking around our city. It’s not an unusual pastime for me. I’ve tread many city streets as an enthusiastic pedestrian and in effort to actually get somewhere. I’ve recently taken a different perspective on my walks. Instead of sightseeing or getting somewhere, I’ve undertaken walking as a form of meditation.
While I do meditate in the more standard form of sitting, I’m really bad at it. My legs get stiff, my back aches, and, if I’m at home, I can think of a million things I could do instead of sitting still trying to do nothing. I can think of a million more things to worry about and I can think of another million things to be angry about. Before I know it, I’m just sitting there, a bigger ball of anxiety than when I started.
It wasn’t a deliberate choice to meditate while walking about. It just kind of happened. I’d ramble on home after whatever errands were attended to, look up, and be home while not having a strong recollection of the journey back. I did momentarily suspect alien abduction, and while that would explain many things, it didn’t explain the deep relaxation and relief I would feel upon my return home.
I suppose the rhythm of walking and breathing naturally lends itself to a meditative state. The summer sunshine and greenery certainly help too. Once I realized what I was unconsciously doing and how good it felt, I went about walking mediation in a deliberate manner. Quiet residential streets and sunny days are the preference, but any day I can get my feet under me will do. I keep this in mind as we move into winter where walking becomes a hazard with icy sidewalks and cold temperatures. Given the benefits I have derived from all my journeys over the summer, I’m encouraged to try to continue over the winter. Given the shorter days and colder weather, I may be more in need of some meditative walking.
Keri lives and walks in Boyle Street.