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Mindful hiker

mindful hikerIn his book, “A Wild Faith”, Rabbi Mike Comins talks about “deep listening” and attempting to be fully in the present as approaches that support a spiritual sense. He describes several techniques that can be used in natural settings, including:

walking silently,

sense walking
(with a focus on what you see or smell or touch, or the calls of birds or other sounds),

meditative walking
(with attention to breathing, or muscles used in walking, or aspects of nature, to counter thoughts about daily concerns that might otherwise occupy the mind), and

simply to “take a stand”,
and just stop and listen, and stay in one place for a while.

He also suggests finding a specific place to go in the wild, and return repeatedly (in different seasons, different weather, and different times of day) and to spend enough time in this spot, with minimal activity, to narrow one’s focus to small details.

And, while he appreciates social activity as a key part of many aspects of spiritual practice, he sees mindful hiking as mainly a solo practice. So, when travelling with others, he suggests spreading out on the trail, to remove the temptation to talk.