Spring-time provides infinite opportunities for ‘Mindful walking’, and Westport provides the perfect backdrop.
Very often when we go for a walk our minds are very busy, we are consumed by past or future thoughts, the ceaseless chatter of the ‘monkey mind’. Sometimes the noise inside our heads can be louder than the external noise of the modern world. For many of us, compulsive thinking is the order of the day – and negativity is a frequent companion.
Mindfulness is very simply awareness of the present moment, without judgement; being mindful means escaping the clatter in the mind and coming back to the here and now. Most of our suffering takes place in the mind. Very often, instead of dealing with the matter in hand, we make matters worse through compulsive repetitive thinking. We create more suffering for ourselves. Think of the mind as a glass of muddy water, if you don’t stir it, the dirt will slowly settle. We can chose to remove the spoon.
So, when you find yourself on a walk replaying an old argument in your mind or worrying about some impending difficulty – lost in past or future thought – let it go just for a moment and come back. Look at the sky, feel the breeze on your skin, hear the birds singing, notice your breathing and how your body feels. Create the habit of tuning into the present moment, letting go of thinking and allowing yourself ‘to be’. All we really have is the present moment. We have no idea what will happen in the next moment. In one moment our lives can change and have changed completely.
Mindfulness is mobile and flexible, is can be practised almost anywhere and anytime. Instead of living in our heads thinking all the time, take a well-deserved break. Drop the thinking and the doing occasionally and just ‘be with’ whatever is happening in the moment.
Enjoy the bright days of spring, the blue sky, the promise of new life, the restful sounds of nature, the beautiful landscape that surrounds us. Connect with nature and inner nature and allow the mind to rest.
Derval Dunford teaches Suí Mindfulness meditation classes in Westport. For more information, visit www.sui.ie.