“As the world speeds up, we must slow down.” This was our mantra last week as we traversed the high country in Yosemite National Park. Whether climbing thousands of feet up out of the valley, or ambling along the high mountain terrain, we decided to simply put one foot in front of the other, to ‘walk it out.’ Mostly in silence, to let the busy mind slowly drain its constant chattering.
This was an interesting way to move through time and space. The slow methodical movement shifted attention from the act of ‘doing’ into an awareness of ‘being.’ A sense of awe and waves of joy arose from this experience. Gone was the agenda of moving fast, getting ‘somewhere,’ or racing past strangers on the path.
We were inspired by this beautiful quote by John Muir: “People ought to saunter in the mountains — not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, “A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”
To cap off our experience we went for what legendary climber Ron Kauk calls a ‘walk from the heart.’ We ascended a steep mountain path with a constant awareness of our heart center. We walked in such a way that when our heart rate increased, we would pause, connect, and feel into the space within and all around us. This practice initiated profound revelations, and a deep feeling of peace and connection.
Walking in this way may not satisfy the fitness enthusiast in us, or the inner competition to push ourselves to new levels of strength and power, however it does create space for healing and integration. It is a way to raise our bodies energy, create heart/brain coherence and rewire our nervous system. It becomes a form of moving meditation.
For those who struggle to meditate sitting, this ‘walk from the heart’ is a way to access a meditative state through interspersing movement with stillness. For those who have some success in seated meditation but seem to lose their zen once up and about in life, this offers an opportunity to practice bringing a meditative state into action.
I highly recommend you take time this week to walk in this way. Assign yourself the opportunity to saunter through your neighborhood or local park. Keep a steady attention at your heart center and allow moments of stillness where you become fully absorbed in your inner and outer experience. Watch how magic unfolds from this place.