The JOY of Meditative Walking
As a longtime proponent of daily meditative walking (not one to sit still!), I want to suggest it as one of the most effective ways to cope with the stressors of the pandemic. Walking as a form of meditation can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Buddhist monks. Henry Thoreau introduced the benefits of meditative walking in nature to modern society in his seminal Atlantic article, “Walking.” Psychiatrists abroad are known to “prescribe“ walking in nature as an antidote to anxiety and depression. The simple truth is walking elicits JOY and we all need more of that these days.
A multitude of interesting and diverse philosophical meditations on the benefits of walking on the mind, body and soul:
“A certain Zen proverb goes something like this: "A five year old can understand it, but an 80 year old cannot do it." The subject of this riddle-like saying has been described as "mindfulness"---or being absorbed in the moment, free from routine mental habits. In many Eastern meditative traditions, one can achieve such a state by walking just as well as by sitting still—and many a poet and teacher has preferred the ambulatory method.”
”This is equally so in the West, where we have an entire school of ancient philosophy—the "peripatetic"—that derives from Aristotle and his contemporaries' penchant for doing their best work while in leisurely motion. Friedrich Nietzsche, an almost fanatical walker, once wrote, "all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking." Nietzsche's mountain walks were athletic, but walking---Frédéric Gros maintains in his A Philosophy of Walking---is not a sport; it is "the best way to go more slowly than any other method that has ever been found."
“More generally, writes Ferris Jabr in The New Yorker, "the way we move our bodies further changes the nature of our thoughts, and vice versa." Applying modern research methods to ancient wisdom has allowed psychologists to quantify the ways in which this happens, and to begin to explain why. Jabr summarizes the experiments of two Stanford walking researchers, Marily Oppezzo and her mentor Daniel Schwartz, who found that almost two hundred students tested showed markedly heightened creative abilities while walking. Walking, Jabr writes in poetic terms, works by "setting the mind adrift on a frothing sea of thought." (Hear Dr. Oppezzo discuss her study in a Minnesota public radio interview above.)”
http://www.openculture.com/.../how-walking-fosters... (Philosophy, creativity and walking)
https://www.theatlantic.com/.../1862/06/walking/304674/ (Thoreau’s “Walking”)
https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/walking-meditation-public/ (Buddhist walking abridged version)
https://www.brainpickings.org/.../walking-meditation.../ (Peripatetic walking as an Eastern tradition)
https://www.brainpickings.org/.../flaneuse-lauren-elkin/... (Literary walking)
https://www.headspace.com/meditation/walking-meditation (Introductory meditative walk)