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Meditating while you Walk

The last time I really needed some uninterrupted time to think about a personal problem, I went out for a walk. I walked from my house to the lake in my neighborhood, paused for a little while there, and then continued on my way. I walked all the way to the opposite end of town before settling in at a friend’s house. All I really remember from that walk out in the cold was feeling peaceful. I wore a short-sleeve shirt and jeans in below freezing weather, but I wasn’t cold. I could hardly see because my contacts were irritating me, but that didn’t bother me. Instead, I found that I could think clearly during the time in which I needed to the most.

From my own experience, walking is a very useful meditation method because exercise helps a person focus. If you can focus, you can concentrate on what you need to think about, and you can actually make progress towards solving whatever your current dilemma is. In my case, I needed more than one walk to finally sort things out in my head (and these were long walks, mind you), but in the end, I managed to figure out what I needed to do to save a few people from a great deal of pain. Any you know what? I owe it all to that first walk I took, because without that, I never would have been able to calm down and focus on what needed to be done.

What do you think of when you see the word “meditation?” You probably think of someone sitting cross-legged in an empty room with his eyes closed and a serene, motionless expression fixed on his face. You can also be moving while meditating, and the expression on your face doesn’t have to be serene, and you certainly shouldn’t close your eyes while walking outdoors. The only thing that truly makes meditation meditation is what’s going on in your head. If you’re focused on what you’re trying to solve, then it doesn’t matter who’s talking around you, how fast you are moving, or what kind of feces you just stepped in. It’s all in your head.

Meditation has many forms, yes, but all of them involve some period of time in which you are all to yourself. You do not want distractions interfering with your meditation whether you’re walking or sitting still, so you should try to walk in an area in which you will not be bothered by other people. If you think that you might run into someone you know on a walk, then you have a legitimate reason to find another place to walk. I highly advise against walking through a crowded street, as any number of things could break your concentration there, which will only frustrate you when you may already be frustrated (hence the meditation).

So, why not walk and meditate at the same time? You don’t need to limit yourself to sitting on the floor with your palms facing the ceiling to achieve a state of peaceful, deep thought. If you like walking and can’t seem to get much privacy at home, then tell your parents, siblings, spouse, or whomever you live with that you’re going for a walk and leave the house for a better thought-provoking environment. I wholeheartedly recommend walking as a form of meditation; after all, anything that involves at least a little bit of exercise can’t be that bad for you!