Walking Meditation

I sometimes walk on the beach for up to eight or nine hours in one stretch.

Although I definitely have a "purpose" in being on the beach-- beach combing for rocks and other interesting objects-- these long wanderings are as much a "walking meditation" as anything else. Walking on the beach-- with no other sounds but those of waves breaking and an occasional seagull-- feels incredibly healing and cathartic.

I have heard it said that you can't really call something "meditation" unless you adhere to a structured practice, but I am not sure how much I agree with that. As a species, it sometimes feels like we humans are far too concerned with "describing" and "classifying" what we do... rather than simply doing what we do.

At times, my mind goes completely silent, and all I am aware of is the sound of the water, and the feeling of my feet on the sand. Everything else vanishes. Time seems to become very fluid. Sometimes I look at my watch and 45 minutes will have passed, even though it feels like a moment. At other times, only a couple of minutes will pass, but it feels like I have been "drifting around" for hours.

On many occasions, the walks are a way for me to solve problems in my head, carrying on dialogues with myself about how to address some issue, or develop some idea I've had in mind, for a while. When I come off the beach at the end of the day, I typically have much more clarity than when I started.

Of course, my memory isn't what it once was, so I always carry scraps of paper and a pencil so I can jot down a few words, should a moment of brilliant insight strike me!

It may not be "meditation" in accordance with certain classic definitions, but to me, it certainly is.

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