look up, look down, all around

In Inspiration

Walking for me has always been a spiritual practice of sorts — a way to be outside in nature, feeling the sun (or fog, or rain) on my face, getting fresh air, and sometimes working out issues that have been on my mind. Also, of course, to see the world around me and stop from time to time to take photographs.

I recently read a little book on mediation that talked about walking meditation.  In it, you focus on the act of walking, the feeling of your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your stride, and the in and out of your breath as you clear your mind of thoughts and daily concerns. You experience the world around you without getting sidetracked by it.

I have to say that this focus on the act of walking and breathing and clearing my mind doesn’t seem to work for me.  My mind is busy and alive when I walk, and that is part of the wonder of it.  My mind is busy in a way that is very different from the kind of thinking I do when I’m worried or concerned — it never feels burdensome, and I always return from these walks refreshed and renewed.

I think part of it is that I go on these walks knowing I am going to SEE, and that is my main focus.  When I experience the little bits of magic around me, I know that my mind is resting and refreshing itself, taken up only with the simple act of seeing.

But I admit that I can get bogged down in all the seeing.  So I set my own sort of mantra for walking meditation.  As the lyrics of the Dave Matthews Band song Satellite say, I just “look up, look down, all around…” and I discover a rhythm and pace that allows me to see only that which is right where I’m looking.  I discovered by doing this, I’m not going out expecting to see anything particular, but instead seeing exactly what I was meant to see in that moment.

So, I invite you to join me in my version of walking meditation.  Look up:

Look down:

All around:

Look up:

Look down:

All around:

Look up:

Look down:

All around:

And repeat.  Look up, look down, all around…

Happy walking!   –lucy

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