Meditation while walking gives us true inspiration
As I write this, the sun is shining and the day is beautifully warm. Of course, by the time you read this it'll probably be raining. But take heart, spring is here and the sun will return.
Your mission is to practice mindfulness out-of-doors. Walking meditation is one of the classic Japanese practices that I was encouraged to do by my teacher when I lived in that country, and it's one that I still practice to this day. The idea is extremely simple. As you walk, do your best to be fully present in the experience.
That may mean focusing on the movements of your physical body. Or you can be mindful of what's beyond yourself: sounds, smells and sights. Whatever you decide to be mindful of, as much as possible, stay in the moment.
In addition to receiving all the benefits that mindfulness has to offer, walking meditation brings extra pleasures. First, exercise has been shown over and over again to lift one's mood.
Secondly, it gives one the opportunity to experience awe.
This is a word that can be overused, however, the mundane doesn't usually inspire awe. This emotion only occurs when you encounter something so vast that it overwhelms you. Guess what? Nature does exactly that.
It's easy to forget your problems when you're bathed by the golden light of sunset or gazing at the ocean. Awe slows down time and makes you feel part of something bigger.
In addition to the health advantages that exposure to sunlight brings, you also get a chance to meet your neighbours and strengthen a sense of community. You get an opportunity to belong.
Speaking of opportunity, consider the opportunity costs. In other words, what will you lose? Well, you'll lose your Couch Potato Award. You'll lose an hour of being enslaved to the internet. Finally, you'll lose weight. It's a bum deal, I know, but nothing's free.
Mindfulness is about being in the present. Present can mean 'now' or it can mean 'gift'. Being mindful outside at this time of year is the best gift you can give yourself now.
- Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at https://www.facebook.com/Belfast Hypnosis/ ?ref=hl/?ref=hl