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Walking meditation

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C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
From reading one article, now, I see that I do it all wrong when I walk! 🤣 :( I like to let my mind wander, but it seems that the objective of walking meditation is to stop letting it wander.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese 2018
(Camino Ingles 2019)
I've been shown walking mediation on retreats. You can walk up and back in a straight line, or in a circle of just aimlessly. I think you let go of the getting from a to b though. You can concentrate on your breath or a mantra, it's about awareness of now.

I do find Camino walking alone can be a type of walking mediation but less intense and over a longer timescale. I had no idea that would be how I would feel because I wasn't keen on the walking meditation's I'd tried! Now it is a big reason I want to walk another Camino :)
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Thank you both for replying. I have checked with medical device repeatedly that meditation drops blood pressure and heart rate (to me , I have not checked it to others. Could be placebo...) But..Is this possible while one walks? What if terrain is not flat? What if one goes uphills?
 
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nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Thank you both for replying. I have checked with medical device repeatedly that meditation drops blood pressure and heart rate (to me , I have not checked it to others. Could be placebo...) But..Is this possible while one walks? What if terrain is not flat? What if one goes uphills?
Then you have an uphill battle.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
meditation drops blood pressure and heart rate . Is this possible while one walks? What if terrain is not flat? What if one goes uphills?
The health benefits of walking, with or without deliberate meditation, are well studied. Here is one summary. When you go uphill, your heart rate will go up - that is how your body is supposed to work! An increase in that heart rate is not harmful, assuming you are healthy and don't go to extremes. In fact, I believe it is good - it is what cardiovascular conditioning is all about! (But I have no medical training.) The improvements in various measures occur as averages over weeks and months of regular walking.
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
The health benefits of walking, with or without deliberate meditation, are well studied. Here is one summary. When you go uphill, your heart rate will go up - that is how your body is supposed to work! An increase in that heart rate is not harmful, assuming you are healthy and don't go to extremes. In fact, I believe it is good - it is what cardiovascular conditioning is all about! (But I have no medical training.) The improvements in various measures occur as averages over weeks and months of regular walking.
Agree. But then , my question is : since meditation drops rythm of body functions , how is this possible when one demands from his body to maximize it's effort?
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Agree on benefits of walking. No question about it. My questions are : walking meditation offers something extra? How?
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Agree. But then , my question is : since meditation drops rythm of body functions , how is this possible when one demands from his body to maximize it's effort?
I don't really know. Likely, your heart rate goes up, but not as much as if you were not meditating.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Has anybody tried it?
Often.
And on the camino, when I'm walking alone and not distracted by surroundings and the rumblings of thought. It's a big part of the attraction.
There are various methods and intentions, but it's safe to say you can get out of breath powering up a hill and still be meditating. It's much more about mind and heart than body.;)
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Often.
And on the camino, when I'm walking alone and not distracted by surroundings and the rumblings of thought. It's a big part of the attraction.
There are various methods and intentions, but it's safe to say you can get out of breath powering up a hill and still be meditating. It's much more about mind and heart than body.;)
Thank you for sharing your experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese 2018
(Camino Ingles 2019)
Thank you both for replying. I have checked with medical device repeatedly that meditation drops blood pressure and heart rate (to me , I have not checked it to others. Could be placebo...) But..Is this possible while one walks? What if terrain is not flat? What if one goes uphills?
Not sure I can answer this. What I do know is that if I meditate shortly after waking (my preference) then my Fitbit counts it as sleep still 🙏😴 😅

When Camino walking I would probably not feel meditative if I was powering up a hill. The feeling is more likely to occur for me early morning in the pretty light when I am walking gently through countryside or woods and listening to birds singing. At that time I have all day ahead of me so I'm not concerned about getting somewhere and I'm not yet tired, I'm just really enjoying the moment, one step at a time.

Meditation is an inner thing so maybe we are all different. I sometimes micro-meditate; just one slow breath with awareness of the feeling within my body. That will calm and center me (usually 😉). There are lots of techniques and no firm rules. I have settled into some practices that feel helpful to me. It's good to try things out if it appeals to you.

Thank you for your questions, it's made me try and clarify my thoughts on this....excellent preparation for my coming Camino instead of weighing my clothing (I've done that a lot) 😂
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I meditate (when walking, but also when not walking). Of course it's very personal. Meditation can be beneficial to some and not to others. Then there's the question: which form of meditation would suit you? There are numerous ways to meditate. I couldn't possibly tell you which one would 'work' for you. Just try and see...

Meditation doesn't stop me from having thoughts. But it isn't supposed to do so. Being a human being means that I have a mind. It's impossible to stop your mind from doing what a mind does. But meditation does help me to 'put my mind at ease'. There could be said more about this (considering the amount of books written on the subject), but this kind of sums it up.

If you'd like some advice: look into it (maybe a bit more than just looking at a youtube video) and try it yourself. If it feels good: keep it up. If it doesn't: try something different or .... conclude that meditation just isn't for you (or you're not for meditation). :)
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
I've a busy mind, but I find walking to be the best way of returning to the here and now. That may or may not be meditation, but it works for me.

I particularly like this article.
Nice article. Sounds like Stoicism in some parts. Few technical informations, but much better from zero knowledge I have.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I think yes. Mental power and secondary action of external cause instead of primary external cause action.
But what if the primary external causes cause the mental power?
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Not true, at least at majority of cases. An antibiotic will kills bacteria in vitro, same as into a human body. An analgesic will stop pain in an animal wich has no idea that it is under analgesic treatment, same as to a man who knows it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I particularly like this article.
One paragraph of the article says:

Many of us walk for the sole purpose of getting from one place to another. Now suppose we are walking to a sacred place. We would walk quietly and take each gentle step with reverence. I propose that we walk this way every time we walk on the earth. The earth is sacred and we touch her with each step. We should be very respectful, because we are walking on our mother. If we walk like that, then every step will be grounding, every step will be nourishing.

On one of the lesser used byways on the Camino Frances (La Pradela) was a rock placed on the trail with an "advisory" written on it. "Every step kisses the earth."
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
In yoga when the mind wanders we are taught to return the mind to the breath. When walking, I try to attend to my breath as I sync it with my steps. I find that when I do this, the walking automatically becomes less effortful, as the breath becomes deeper. I can walk better, more relaxed when I get it down, EVEN when walking up hills. This is how I view "walking meditation."

And then sometimes, my mind just empties without even trying! That's about a week into the walking, though. After the internal chatter finally loses its grip.

Plus, some ayruvedic specialists say to go only as fast as you can breathe through your nose, instead of panting through your mouth. It makes a huge difference if you get this breathing right, how unstressed your body will feel, during physical exertion. This is a physiological actuality, that when you slow and deepen your breath, you reduce the stress on your body. Takes "training" to a whole different level. Try it sometime!
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
my wife and i do rosary..
In yoga when the mind wanders we are taught to return the mind to the breath. When walking, I try to attend to my breath as I sync it with my steps. I find that when I do this, the walking automatically becomes less effortful, as the breath becomes deeper. I can walk better, more relaxed when I get it down, EVEN when walking up hills. This is how I view "walking meditation."

And then sometimes, my mind just empties without even trying! That's about a week into the walking, though. After the internal chatter finally loses its grip.

Plus, some ayruvedic specialists say to go only as fast as you can breathe through your nose, instead of panting through your mouth. It makes a huge difference if you get this breathing right, how unstressed your body will feel, during physical exertion. This is a physiological actuality, that when you slow and deepen your breath, you reduce the stress on your body. Takes "training" to a whole different level. Try it sometime!
Quite helpfull, thank you.
 

Seabeggar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mozarabe
Some basic tips can help your Walking Meditation/Contemplation. I would suggest trying Thich Nhat Hanhs little book "How to Walk". Simple but for many transformative whether you have faith or none. He was Bhuddhist, but the principles are the same in the Christian Contemplative tradition. Perhaps "The Way of the Pilgrim" and the Jesus Prayer is another approach if you follow "The Way".
 

Opa Theo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais to Santiago
my wife and i do rosary..
Agree. The rosary is my default form of meditation.
Younger days I ran lots of marathons. Learned to "focus" when footing was difficult on each foot fall. On long simple stretches I absorbed the environment and fellow runners and devised litanies of things and people I'm grateful for.
In my sixties I hit several health 'speed bumps' including a knee replacement. Had to slow things down. Walking, biking and hiking are my medicine now. When I don't have to concentrate on each step I start up a rosary. Don't even have to to remember to bring my rosary bead because I still have 10 fingers.

Last year my wife and I walked the last section of the Francis route. When we encountered the few road walk sections I realized I was saying the rosary. But most of time fellow pilgrims engaged me and my wife in conversations. The experience of walking through ancient lands was so absorbing. The sad history of the Spanish civil war, the farmlands, the slower pace of life, the exotic plants and birds and the tolerant friendly local people was a perfect meditation.
It's all good.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Has anybody tried it?
A good question! As you see from the replies, yes, some people have. I liked the reference given by Nuala, and I offer one also given by Elle, : Cynthia Bourgeault. Search for Centering Prayer. There are many more. Thomas Keating, Richard Rohr...
You will need plenty of time to follow threads! May your steps be gentle, and firm.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Aragones
Baztan
Invierno
Norte
Agree on benefits of walking. No question about it. My questions are : walking meditation offers something extra? How?
Well, I'm not quite sure how to answer this in a theoretical way. I have also had doubts about sharing my experience because it is so strange, unexplainable and you must think I'm weird. But I have experienced some sort of "altered state" occasionally on the Camino.
It has been when I have been walking alone, at a fast pace and when my shape and level of fitness was so good that I wouldn't think about the walking or effort at all. The legs, the arms with the poles, the breathing and the hearth rhythm sort of merged together and worked in unison. Then the thoughts would start drifting or rather I would just clear the mind and stop thinking. It wouldn't be a conscious decision it just happened.
And then, well, especially one time very strange things began to happen...(fell free to laugh here)...but clear messages began to enter my mind. With a rather booming voice and it was certainly not my voice.
Yes it may well have been from the deepest levels of my own subconsciousness but I felt the messages came from an entity close to me at my right and sometimes left side. An entity I actually saw. Not a person but more like a big elliptic bubble of dimmed milky white light. Floating in the air. Pure energy I would say. Very strange. Can't explain it. It probably sounds crazy, you must think I'm mad, but from my many years as an outdoor man and professionally trained observer I know what I see, hear and feel. And no I hadn't been drinking beer, wine or smoking either...😉
Anyway, the messages corresponded perfectly with the life situation problems I had at the time - but the solution suggested I would never have thought of myself. But I tried it and it worked well. I more or less left my problems there and then....
It was a very strange but also truly magnificent experience but perhaps the strangest thing about it was that I know exactly where I was when it began. I know exactly where I was when it stopped. But I cannot remember anything from the long distance and two to three hours walk up a steep mountainside while it happened. I simply cannot remember anything at all from that - apart from the thoughts and messages. It is like I have a hole in my memory. It's blank but for the messages.
And that is what really baffles me to this day....I just can't understand it. I have never been able to find a rational explanation. But I'm grateful for the experience and the help I was offered..it worked so well, who or whatever gave it to me.....😊 It's definitely something I will never forget.
 
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Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
Well, I'm not quite sure how to answer this in a theoretical way. I have also had doubts about sharing my experience because it is so strange, unexplainable and you must think I'm weird. But I have experienced some sort of "altered state" occasionally on the Camino.
It has been when I have been walking alone, at a fast pace and when my shape and level of fitness was so good that I wouldn't think about the walking or effort at all. The legs, the arms with the poles, the breathing and the hearth rhythm sort of merges together and work in unison. Then the thoughts would start drifting or rather I would just clear the mind and stop thinking. It wouldn't be a conscious decision it just happened.
And then, well, especially one time very strange things began to happen...(fell free to laugh here)...but clear messages began to enter my mind. With a rather booming voice and certainly not my voice.
Yes it may well be from the deepest levels of my own subconsciousness but I felt the messages came from an entity close by my right sometimes left side. An entity I actually saw. Not a person but more like a big elliptic bubble of dimmed milky white light. Floating in the air. Pure energy I would say. Very strange. Can't explain it. It probably sounds crazy, you must think I'm mad, but from my many years as an outdoor man and professionally trained observer I know what I see, hear and feel. And no I hadn't been drinking beer, wine or smoking either...😉
Anyway, the messages corresponded perfectly with the life situation problems I had at the time - but the solution suggested I would never have thought of myself. But I tried it and it worked well. I more or less left my problems there and then....
It was a very strange but also truly magnificent experience but perhaps the strangest thing about it was that I know exactly where I was when it began. I know exactly where I was when it stopped. But I cannot remember anything from the long distance and two to three hours walk up a steep mountainside where it happened. I simply cannot remember anything at all from that - but the thoughts and messages. It is like I have a hole in my memory. It's blank but for the messages.
And that is what really baffles me to this day....I just can't understand it. I have never been able to find a rational explanation. But I'm grateful for the experience and the help I was offered..it worked so well, who or whatever gave it to me.....😊 It's definitely something I will never forget.
How absolutely wonderful for you! No need to explain it. It was a Gift. Be very, very grateful and cherish the Gift always.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Aragones
Baztan
Invierno
Norte
How absolutely wonderful for you! No need to explain it. It was a Gift. Be very, very grateful and cherish the Gift always.
Oh, but I am. I really am. It was just such an extraordinary experience that I'm wondering what happened. Some have said I met my guardian angel. I probably did....😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Aragones
Baztan
Invierno
Norte
Yes I have. I know that. There's no doubt about it. Without looking for it I got what so many others are looking for on the Camino.
And I am eternally grateful I must stress that again. But I still wonder about it.....
But it was a good thing. I felt abandoned before my Camino but found out I was not. Someone or something apparently cares a lot about me and helped me back on track in my life. That expression of pure love changed me for the better. Yes it was a somewhat stern but very loving and carrying entity.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
And then, well, especially one time very strange things began to happen...(fell free to laugh here)...but clear messages began to enter my mind. With a rather booming voice and it was certainly not my voice.
Yes it may well have been from the deepest levels of my own subconsciousness but I felt the messages came from an entity close to me at my right and sometimes left side. An entity I actually saw. Not a person but more like a big elliptic bubble of dimmed milky white light. Floating in the air. Pure energy I would say. Very strange. Can't explain it. It probably sounds crazy, you must think I'm mad, but from my many years as an outdoor man and professionally trained observer I know what I see, hear and feel. And no I hadn't been drinking beer, wine or smoking either...😉
Strange? Maybe. But common enough.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Aragones
Baztan
Invierno
Norte
That is interesting to read. I've never thought of that factor although I knew Shackleton had such an experience. As did his companions Worsley and Crean, as far as I remember. All three of them had the same experience while crossing New South Georgia together.
But there is a difference to my experience. I was not in a life or death situation like they were. Though I generally was in mental distress at the time, I was actually in a good mood on that particular day, enjoying the walking, the sunshine and the beautiful surroundings when it happened. On the Camino in particular I was open to ideas, impressions, in fact anything that could change my situation and attitude.
So I really don't know....I still feel blessed as Lydia wrote. It changed me. And in the end that's what counts...:)
 
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The Kolbist

Member
Camino(s) past & future
past: Frances, inland Portuguese, Fatima
future: Del Norte, coastal Porugues, Englis
I have a book by a good friend of mine - Frank Padilla entitled "El Camino de Santiago - the Way of St. James" subtitled "Lessons in Servant Leadership". I'm thinking that it might be a good meditation book or reflection guide while walking the Camino to rekindle the original purpose of Santiago why he walked all the way to Finis Terrae or Galicia in the first place (Acts 1:8).
 

Theo59

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2022
Oh, but I am. I really am. It was just such an extraordinary experience that I'm wondering what happened. Some have said I met my guardian angel. I probably did....😊
Agree with those "some". I wish you to meet it again, if and when you "ll need it. Althought shape may be different.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Aragones
Baztan
Invierno
Norte
Well….as I indicated in my post it wasn’t the first or the last time. But it is the only time an entity has shown itself and communicated so clearly.
 
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