Monday, 25 June 2012

Walking Meditation

It was a day off today and I went for a walk to St. Clair and back, along an almost deserted St. Kilda Beach under a clear blue mid winter sky. In all, I walked about 15 km. This was a step (sorry) in my preparation for the Camino Santiago, which Clemency and I will return to complete in September. The preparation wasn't just about getting fit enough to walk the remaining 400 km. It was also about getting ready for a shift in my prayer life.

My daily routine is Centering Prayer, which involves parking myself in a corner for periods, keeping still and not saying much. I use a special little wooden stool to sit on and wear an old woollen cloak because sit still for long enough and you will get a bit cold. I do, anyway. The Camino poses a few problems to the way I am accustomed to do things. I want to keep my pack well under 10 kg for one thing, and a stool, let alone a large woollen cloak will upset that a bit. For another, I will be sleeping most nights in alberges which are not the most conducive places in the world for meditation. Sure there are ancient quiet churches in every village, and cork trees under which I can sit, like Ferdinand, but my days will be full. I will be up at 6:00 and walking by 6:30 most days, and using the hours when I am not walking to wash clothes, eat, and ooh and ahhh inside those ancient quiet churches and outside them in the exquisite Spanish countryside.

So I will be changing my discipline somewhat, and practicing a form of walking meditation taught me the last time I was in Spain, and isn't that a wonderful line to throw into a conversation? Today I tried it along St. Kilda beach, and it worked pretty well. I know that meditating on an empty beach on a simply magnificent still clear winter's afternoon is one thing and meditating on an ever changing pathway filled at every turn with interesting people and wonderful places  will be quite another, but I think I can do it. I know it's not a great idea to mix types of meditation, but needs must, and the sort of walking Mindfullness I tried today is not too different from Centering Prayer, and anyway,  it'll only be for a month.

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