“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
― John Muir
Hiking & walking in nature, for me, is blissful. And each season brings it’s own bit of wonder and wisdom to the hike. I never really sat down and wondered why I love to hike so much. I mean, yeah I love nature and getting any exercise is a pure endocrine giving burst while getting my body in better shape. But I knew it was more than that, something deeper, almost spiritual in form. I found a sense of peace as my footsteps hit the earth and my mind would wander to, wow, to nowhere, and yet everywhere all at the same time. But not in a rushed getting through the day mode, or not in the chaotic work essence. No, it was within a place of complete release. Complete mental relaxation. And that was when I realized, without knowing it, I was meditating by accident.
Having done meditation in a seated position in my home, and on the beach, I knew exactly what meditation was. But this was different, almost a purer meditation. I realized that my eyes drinking in the trees, the beaches, or the streams was guiding my meditation deeper within.
You don’t even have to believe in meditation for meditation to have effect. Meditation is nothing much more than allowing your mind to be still, and then, once still to allow it to wander to places of peace and zero stress. And nature is a remedy in itself for stress. Why do you think major white collar corporations do retreats to the wilderness camps?
In our hectic world of technology and as we rush from job to second job, or from work to making dinner for the family. Or when we have to study relentlessly into the wee hours of night just to get up to go take the test and a full day of classes. We forget to take time to really turn off. Many people turn to the TV to do that, when in fact it may distract, but it doesn’t help your brain find peace. It’s just living someone else’s fictional life instead of your own.
Meditation is hard on some. They don’t know the first steps, or just can’t do it automatically, can’t shut out the world outside. It takes practice. And patience. I think walking meditation is in some ways an easier starting point at meditating 101 because your body is still being allowed to move, while quieting the racket in your mind. I highly recommend being in nature though, not on a busy street where you have to watch for traffic, lights and hear blaring sirens and car honks. A peaceful little park will do.