Step #5: Journaling your experience
Just like dreams, if you don’t write down your walk experience – what you noticed, what ideas or inspirations came to you unbidden – it will all vanish back into the ether from where it came, within hours. When you’re new to meditation walking, the “mechanics” of walking and breathing may seem to take center stage, but as you create a routine (I recommend at least once a week) what were previously the mechanics will shift to being the vessel, the channel , the rhythm that keeps you fully focused in the present moment.
What is happening around you matters, regardless if you walk the same path again-and-again, as an experience will never repeat itself. And, what is happening within you matters – every time your life, your thoughts, and your feelings will be at different places. Flavor all of this with seasonal changes, weather changes and the unpredictability of animals and people and you have an interesting walking adventure. I have walked many of my favorite places hundreds of times and have never had an identical external or internal experience.
So after you’ve come in from your walk, settle back into sitting in silence to reflect on (and journal about) your walk. Think back to your intentions and energy assessment from before the walk. Did you release your negative energy somewhere on the trail? Did you shift into the positive energy that you desired? How would you measure your current energy level (from -5 to +5)? And, how does that compare to where you started out?
Then take time to replay the walk in your mind and journal about:
- What did I notice about me? What did I notice about the environment?
- My body (physical self)
- My thoughts (mental self)
- My feelings (emotional self)
- The environment (season, weather)
- The pathway
- Any people, animals or objects along the way
- What are the top 3 things that I noticed on the walk? Scribble down the 3 things that had the most significance to you on your walk. Then, contemplate what these might mean to/about you if viewed as symbols or metaphors.
- What insights did I have during the silence on my walk? List any creative ideas that came to mind. Then, contemplate if/how you will take action based on these insights.
In upcoming blogs I will share some of my journal entries from walks that I have taken on trails, greenways and labyrinths. For now, don’t be discouraged if your walk seems to be just a “plain old walk” – it takes time and repetition for this practice to become imbued with meaning and creativity.
Sit down and enjoy your fresh-brewed cup of coffee!