|Cork is ahead of me on trail during our daily walk|
Bills, regulations, deadlines, worries, regrets. You just can't stop thinking about such matters.
This is why a fishing trip is so soul-soothing. When you are out on the lake, those things seem a million miles away and your mind and body have a chance to rejuvenate. But most people might only be able to make such a trip one or two weeks a year. What do you do the rest of the time?
Every week, it seems, there is an item in the news about the health benefits of walking -- not jogging, not running -- just walking.
Human beings, it seems to me, were made for walking. We can do it for long periods almost effortlessly. Study after study show that this simple activity keeps our bodies in really good shape.
Joints, bones, muscles, heart -- every part of us, it seems, responds positively.
But the greatest benefit of all may be to our minds. Just like our bodies need rest each night, our minds need a regular break from the multitude of thoughts and conversations that continually run through them. This is why some people meditate, to calm down their minds and give their brains a rest. It's a difficult skill for most people to master but for some reason, it seems much, much easier to do when walking. In fact, there is a discipline called walking meditation.
However, even if you knew nothing about the formalities of this practice, you just naturally do it every time you walk outdoors. It might go something like this: as you walk down a path you become alert to the songs and calls of birds; you feel with your feet the texture and contours of the ground; the wind blows against your face and you feel the sun against your skin; leaves rustle; the snow swirls and drifts; squirrels scurry up trees. Your body warms to your movement. You feel the pull of gravity as you walk uphill and the exhilaration of its release as you walk down. You become conscious of the world, of life, and how you are moving through it, how you are a part of it.
You are experiencing life in the moment, not reliving the past, not worrying about the future. It is, literally, a wonderful feeling.
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