I wake up every morning around 8 am and after getting freshed, I go walking to the mess before attending that day’s classes. Every day when the alarm on phone is switched off, I see my beautiful parents on the phone’s wallpaper and I am reminded of how lucky I am to have them.
Walking exercises the whole person. It exercises the body– it gives the arms and legs a workout. It stimulates the flow of blood; expands the lungs. It is gentle and relaxing. It exercises the mind – it shakes up the brain cells. It fills them with oxygen; drives out the cobwebs. It reminds me of the saying that my father always repeated… “A famous scientist says he does his best thinking on the two miles of sidewalk between his home and office”.
The road to hostel and class is always acquainted with nice breeze that blows across one’s face, and makes one notice the dry weathered leaves being collected on one side of road and its own; and reducing the cleaning lady’s work. She bends everyday in little discomfort, which I assume is because of the back pain; and brooms away the dirt on roads.
Walking exercises the emotions. It gives you a chance to observe and enjoy the world. Open your eyes to beauty. See the homes, the trees, the gardens. See the shining faces of little children. Listen for the church chimes, singing birds and the laughter of happy people.
A lot of ideas go running in my mind like why the stray dogs in our campus are not provided proper shelter and care. The mess workers in the mess are not given enough respect by the students and are constantly being snapped upon. The guard who sits at the Parul door, and plays Sudoku game in the Telugu newspaper, only to kill her boredom or rather, control her emotions of missing family.
Above all do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill… if one keeps on walking everything will be alright.
One thing that you find out when you have been practicing mindfulness for a while is that nothing is quite as simple as it appears. This is as true for walking as it is for anything else.
For one thing, I carry my mind around with me when I walk, so I am usually absorbed in my own thoughts to one extent or another. We are hardly ever just walking, even when we are just going out for a walk. Walking meditation involves intentionally attending to the experience of walking itself. This brings your attention to the actual experience of walking as you are doing it, focusing on the sensations in your feet and legs, feeling your whole body moving. You can also integrate awareness of your breathing with the experience.
When I go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs including the brain. Walking at our own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state that I cannot experience as easily when we’re jogging at the gym, steering a car, biking, or during any other kind of locomotion.
When we choose a path through a city or forest, our brain must survey the surrounding environment, construct a mental map of the world, settle on a way forward, and translate that plan into a series of footsteps. Below is the mind map, explaining the same.