Thoughts on Meditation and Walking

Anthony walking through a park in Autumn

I met someone last year who shook his head in disbelief that anyone would want to go for a walk without a destination or purpose in mind. The idea of getting exercise or a refreshing change of scene simply never crossed his mind, and it reminded me that ever since I was a child I have always enjoyed walking – whether it be for pleasure or purpose.

When my children were younger we regularly walked, whatever the weather. We were well known for our ‘wet walks’ – we even had all the kit.

Walking through London

Over the past couple of years, I’ve got in the habit of never walking at the same time as using my phone, even when I’m going about my day to day business in London, attending appointments. It’s a sad fact that phone snatches are on the increase in the city, and I’ve witnessed several of them. The victim is walking along, completely absorbed in their phone, and then very abruptly jolted out of their trance and left shocked and bewildered. Not pleasant to observe, or indeed to experience.

Safety and security issues aside though, it is the disconnect with my surroundings that I don’t like. As a meditator, I take two daily sessions to put the world and its incessant demands to one side and spend twenty minutes connecting with myself. It’s a common mis-conception that meditators want to float away, get into some sort of zone, and stay there. This certainly is not the case with Vedic Meditation.

As meditators we are not concerned with the content of our meditation. We don’t try to meditate, and we don’t have an agenda – neither encouraging nor dismissing thoughts. We just want Nature to run our meditation, submitting to whatever arises. The most important part of meditation is what is going on for the other 23 hours and 20 minutes of our day: how we integrate and react with all that is around us.

Enhancing your walking experience

Walking is just one of the many activities which I’ve found to be enhanced by regular meditation. Our senses are stimulated; we see things slightly differently, we notice things we have not seen before, and we delight in much that the people around us do not see or think to engage with.

Many of us have a regular route to work or to our favourite destinations, and the familiarity of that known route can deaden our senses. I often suggest to my meditation students that they vary their walking route at the beginning and end of the working day; or take the same route but walk on the other side of the street; or instead of looking down look up. Disrupting your daily walking routine in a way that encourages you to notice new things can have a hugely positive impact on creativity, alertness, and inspiration.

This Friday (6th April) is Walk to Work Day. If you don’t usually walk to work, this presents a wonderful opportunity to try it. If you’re too far away, how about getting off the bus or tube a few stops early? If you drive, perhaps introduce a walk into your lunch break instead.  

Walking to work whenever you’re able will not only have benefits for your health and the environment, but you might just see something for the first time which will get you thinking in a different way. You never know, you could even meet someone who changes the way you think about the world and yourself.

Want to find out more about the MindMojo Vedic Meditation courses? Come along to one of our free, no-obligation introductory talks which are held regularly in London and Brighton. Book your free place online here

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Anthony Thompson