Some days are better than others. That’s life. But when you’re busy with a career and kids, and cooking dinner and mowing the lawn and the kids’ soccer practice, even a good day may seem formulaic. It’s a challenge to keep perspective and stay centered. But staying centered means different things to different people. However, there is a common thread for everyone who is aware that keeping our mind and body in harmony takes some work.
Physics calculates that work = force x distance. Suppose you use the laws of physics to help you find your center. It’s as easy as taking a walk. Your muscles provide the force necessary to move your body mass over any distance. As long as primitive man has hunted and gathered on this earth, he has walked the land. Back then, the land may have been uncluttered with billboards and office buildings, but there were things out there that could eat you, so there’s a trade-off in that. But man has walked, by necessity, for thousands of years.
Today, most of us drive to nearly our every destination. Too bad. Walking, especially for those of us who can’t sit still, is a great way for us keep perspective. Using a good walk to give our minds a little moving meditation time has high value. The exercise benefits are an added bonus.
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If you’re walking with friends, or even walking your dog, finding the mental quiet time during a walk is not going to happen. Find some time and set out alone for a walk (if you can safely). Walking has a certain tedious nature to it. The rhythm of your body as it moves will open your thoughts exponentially if you let it.
Allow your senses to receive
With your first step out the door, have intent to let your body’s senses receive the input you normally dismiss. The eyes and ears will want to overwhelm your sensual input, but don’t focus only on what you see and hear. Feel the warmth on your skin and wind against your face. Let those sensations wash over you. Your body will feel the stresses of walking uphill or too fast. Find a good pace that isn’t a strain. Although walking is wonderful exercise, that’s not our focus here, just a side benefit. Take notice of the beauty and texture of nature and form. A blooming flower can be just as interesting as the carvings in an old building.
Think hard, or not so hard
The mind wanders as it pleases. But, you can chose to clear it of clutter, or focus it with a purpose. Moving your body and having your mind clear itself as you take in the input of the walk is an excellent way to come off a busy work day. But, sometimes walking and thinking points us in a different direction. Sometimes, we are hyper-focused on solving a relationship issue or even creating a story board for the next book chapter. This moving meditation time can be really helpful when we are creating solutions. This is a great time to sort through mental roadblocks in a thoughtful way, which requires time.
Rinse and Repeat
Carving out just fifteen minutes every couple of days is a great way to rinse off the day’s overstimulation. The moving meditation of walking with our thoughts relieves stress and can return us to a more centered state. If you’re one of those people that doesn’t like to sit still, try going for a walk with nothing but your mind…and a good pair of shoes.