There are times in life where we all have issues or circumstances that weigh on us heavily. Sometimes it is not even that, instead our brains just lead us to believe that what we are thinking about is a bigger deal than it really is. Now when ever I feel even a little anxious or some anxiety coming on I have a sure fire cure. I go for a walk and it works every time. Walking for me is like meditation is for some, it eventually brings me to a very peaceful, blissful and creative state.
While I am walking there are several things I do My first step is to think about what is on my mind; where the anxiety is stemming from. In this part of the walk I just let my mind wander and then I let my imagination concoct any crazy story it wants. Then I look at the story and begin to discard those fanciful ideas, because I know they are just stories my mind has invented. I let them go. No matter how outlandish the idea or story I concoct I let it enter my consciousness and then I determine if it has any thread of reality or validity in it. If it doesn’t I either just let it go or I examine it further and break it into pieces that are small enough that I can let them go. So far it works every time for me.
Then my mind goes very calm, and I either notice my breathing or my footsteps and put myself into a peaceful state. Conversely I notice the sound of the waves or just look out over the mountains. After this my mind goes to much more pleasurable places. I think about those things that i enjoy and am thankful for. That makes me feel so much lighter. This gives me beginner’s mind because then I feel like there are endless possibilities and I keep my eyes and ears open to my world. This also allows me to accept those things I don’t necessarily like or agree with as they are. Some of the situations I can do something about, and yet others are outside of my control. I let go those outside of my control and decide how I should handle those I have some influence over. At the very least I decide what my reaction to the situation will be, I don’t leave it up to my “small” mind.
This generally leads me into a very creative phase. It is here I develop stories, poems, and reflect upon philosophies I have encountered and how I can apply them to my own life. Occasionally I even develop my own philosophies. This is the state of mind where I love to be. I go from anxious to chaos to peacefulness to lightness to creativity. It is a great journey and a wonderful transformation. After that nothing, or at least very little, feels daunting.
Once I am in this creative stage when I am walking I generally think of a range of three things. The first is that I make up stories. These stories can be about me, about those I know, about strangers I have just passed in the street. Sometimes I will be walking by a house and I will make up a story about the people in that house. I let those stories wander to whatever conclusion they wish. Other times i just ponder philosophies. These include my own, great thinkers, people I know, and things I’ve read. Finally sometimes I just think about the process of thought and consciousness. About how we are connected to everything and yet distinct from everything a the same time. How we have this unique ability to reason that can be both a blessing and a curse. It can override our basest feelings and emotions. It allows us to rationalize our actions even when we know they probably aren’t the correct decisions for ourselves.
Apparently walking meditation is something that is practiced by many. That makes sense. I just wasn’t aware of it, but I have been doing it for years. So if something is taxing your mind and there seems to be no viable solution go out for a walk and work through it. You would be surprised how helpful that really is.