One of the things I enjoy the most is walking. For me, its the closest thing I have to a meditative state. I’ve tried the various other aspects of meditation – sitting still, sitting in the “meditation” position (with legs crossed and arms down by your side), and even Tai Chi. Yet, none of these has ever brought me close enough to be in a relaxed meditative state. But walking has.
When I get stuck in a particular section of one of my research papers – I’ll reach for a pair of shorts and my sneakers – load up my iPod with a podcast or some music – and then hit the sidewalk in my neighborhood for a stroll. My usual distance is just a touch under five miles total – and I average about 75-80 minutes of walking time. The music works to block out the sounds of the cars driving past me (I walk along two of the busiest streets in my area because it is the longest stretch of sidewalk with no breaks) – and I find it relaxing enough to focus my mind on the single problem I left behind at the house. Instead of looking around and seeing chores that need to be completed or having other distractions that pull my mind off-track – the walking allows me to put the body on auto-pilot and bring my mind on to a single topic.
While it provides a degree of exercise that my diabetic body needs to undertake – it also provides me with a touch of the outdoors as well. I walk past trees, cows, geese, horses and yards filled with dogs/kids/both. I take in the wonderful feeling of the sun’s warmth (which gets pretty damn warm here in Texas since we’re only a few layers away from the core of the Nine Hells), and while the air isn’t that fresh (living fairly close to the interstate, the smell of diesel fumes can sometimes be strong – depending on which way the wind is blowing) – its better than sitting on my rump the entire day inside the house.
I thrive on the outdoors. I like being outside. And sometimes, I have to break my daily routine and not take that walk. Sometimes for work considerations, sometimes for weather issues. And when I miss those times – I can feel the difference in myself. I become less attentive to my work/research – I find myself spending time staring out the window instead of getting things completed. Its as if a part of me continues to pull at my hand, tugging me towards the outside – like a little kid pulling an adult along towards the carnival rides at the midway. In fact, I can feel that tug right now…so I had better take heed to that….
Just my own thoughts of the moment…it all makes sense for me…