KATHMANDU, JUNE 30
Feeling bored? Don't worry! Head out for a walk. Nothing quite calms the mind and energises the body like a mindful walk. Walking is a sort of tiny treat, a treat that is full of joy yet free of cost. Allowing us time to explore the astonishing beauty of nature, and connect mind and body, walking is not just an adventure, it is an overwhelming spiritual experience as well.
Adventure is a process that requires a first step, a step in the direction we want to go. It doesn't matter whether it is incredibly small or significantly big, what matters is to keep going.
And once we dive into this joyful journey, we push ourselves further until the adventure becomes a habit. And what could be more interesting than cultivating the culture of a walk!
The radiant river, beautiful birds, magnificent mountain, shining sun, these glorious gifts of nature have their charm. So do the creations of human beings – the historic buildings, crowded streets, broken walls and bridges under construction.
As we come across these twists and turns, we may be distracted, but not discouraged.
Walking becomes wonderful when we consciously bring ourselves fully into the present moment.
In today's information-overloaded world, solitude has become a lost art. The best way to restore this artistry is by walking alone, also considered walking meditation. Such meditation is called Kinhin in the Zen tradition. It involves focusing on the body's movements and feeling the physical sensations – the smell, sight and sound – with every step. In other words, it is about achieving a high level of consciousness. Walking is, thus, also a spiritual journey, a journey of self-discovery and self-mastery.
The freedom that comes by walking also permits time to romance with thoughts. French philosopher Frederic Gros beautifully quotes, "Think while walking, walk while thinking, and let writing be but the light pause, as the body on a walk rests in contemplation of wide-open spaces." It's fascinating that some of the greatest thinkers in history were also passionate walkers – Henry David Thoreau, Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to name a few.
Everyone experiences the world differently. As we walk along, we start to generalise things from our perspective. We also begin to recognise and realise that it is not the event or environment that causes us suffering, but rather the way we respond to it.
To walk is to take care of our body and soul. Our body deserves utmost care and kindness no matter how many challenges we face. Let's take a moment to cherish every step we take along the journey and celebrate the sheer joy of being alive!
A version of this article appears in the print on July 1 2021, of The Himalayan Times.