I was walking this morning. Not for fitness. Not to think things over. Not to do anything, actually.
I was walking to experience the walk and all that encompassed.
When we walk mindfully we try not to think, and we try not to have a big aim in mind. Rather we just open our senses fully and experience whatever comes our way moment by moment.
What we see is about 80% of all we experience, so it’s obvious that the trees, the sky, the clouds, the path, and the local Cadzow Burn, will be what I mostly experience, and these can be simply and effortlessly enjoyed as the eyes view them.
Sounds act like a beautiful intrusion into what we are seeing. The sound of birds singing is a gorgeous experience but one we so often miss because our mind is in thinking or worrying mode rather than being open to all experiences.
Sometimes what we see and what we hear complement one another perfectly, like when I view the lovely local waterfall and hear the rush and roar of the water tumbling down.
We can also hear more uncommon sounds, like the sound of my wellies sinking into then pulling out of a muddy part of the path. If we are listening while that happens we simply gain much more from the walk than if we walk moaning about the path being muddy.
One of my favourite experiences when walking mindfully is to notice the fresh air on my face, whether the sunshine is making it warm, or the rain makes it wet, or the chill factor makes it feel cold. Each of these is a wake-up call to remember that you’re alive, and to experience life fully and richly.
A great joy of doing the same walk every day is that you notice how the weather changes what you see, hear and feel. You also notice the subtle, tiny shifts that indicate how a season is developing or fading away, with the new season slowly taking its place. You really do start to get a feel for the rhythms of nature, in a way that I imagine most people in centuries gone by would have experienced all of their lives, but is something generally lost to us. Now we can reclaim our connection to the never-ending flow and change of nature, just as we flow and change ourselves, as we too are part of nature.