Most of us Canadians have been on a hike or two (or two hundred). It’s a pleasurable way to see our beautiful country.
A traditional Buddhist meditation is the walking meditation, and this can be applied while in action. So get out your hiking boots, your walking stick and become even more enamoured with nature.
As with most meditations, this is simple in theory but sometimes difficult in practice. You want to become aware of your experience while hiking. If you are traditionally a mover and a shaker, this will feel like a continuation of your experience, rather than sitting still and moving to a different plane entirely. As an added bonus, nature is great for your head, heart and health.
As you begin your mindful hike, don’t worry about changing the way you walk. Simply start to feel your walking with new awareness – the pressure on each foot as you place it in front of the other, the feeling of the fabric of your socks, the feeling of the inside of your shoes.
Notice how your stride is affected as you step onto different types of ground…
See if you can relax more as you continue to hike. Let the legs and ankles be relaxed.
Relax your knees, your hips, and the base of your spine. Relax your face. Be aware of the temperature of your skin.
Now notice the external environment. Notice the sound of your feet within a quieter environment. Notice the sound of birds and the feeling of the breeze on your skin.
Notice if your eyes have a tendency to drift or if they are fixated ahead. Is your mind busy, or bored? Are you engaged?
Keep checking in with yourself, your mood and your full experience. Even if you like hiking, this may help you to love hiking.
When the hike is finished, stand still for a moment. Seal your hiking meditation practice by taking in a deep breath.