I’ve seen mindful walking done by monks and have concluded that the way we do it at the Walkinginspirit, mindful walking retreat is not like that. Maybe it’s because we are out in the wild forests and mountains of Asturias rather than in cloistered, monastery grounds or maybe it’s because we don’t put so much focus on the act of placing one foot in front of the other, I’m not sure but let’s see if I can tease out the differences.
For starters, most of the people who come to Walkinginspirit are not very monkish or earnest I suppose. Not that they can’t be serious or deep when those moments arise, it’s just that they don’t tend to waft around in white, namasteing, (not a word apparently), in hushed tones. So, another thing you can certainly say is that Walkinginspirit groups tend to be quite down to earth. They may or may not practice meditation, they may or may not be overtly spiritual but if they are, they don’t tend to wear it like a badge. They are looking for a walking holiday with a difference, they also often enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner or a cold beer after a long walk or if they don’t, they don’t mind others doing so.
More than anything they love nature… and they want the opportunity to get right out into the beautiful wild places where the real peace, and tranquillity still exists and be there without the distractions of superficial chatter and noise. They want the space to focus away from daily life and just BE in nature with others who are doing likewise and for their own reasons. There tends to be this kind of understanding between people in the Walkinginspirit mindful walking groups.
Our walking style is relaxed and casual with all the emphasis put on showing up in the here and now and staying with the felt experience of the present moment via the senses. So the mindfulness we practice is very sensory based and embodied… breathing, listening, feeling and being and allowing nature’s soothing, healing action to get right into you bones. What we do is not so much “mindful walking” as it is mindfulness while walking.