Walking is the new sitting.
Now, this may be confusing, because we’ve all heard that sitting is the new smoking.
So I’m not saying that walking is the new smoking.
I’m thinking about meditation.
I think about that classic image, when we think of meditation, we think of sitting in a lotus position, cross-legged position, sitting still and just being completely motionless.
And that’s the most traditional, classic meditation method.
But then when we look at how we normally live our days, well, that’s pretty close to how we spend most of our days.
I mean, we’re certainly not meditating, but we’re in that motionless sitting position.
Maybe the only difference, really, is closing our eyes and not taking in any new information.
Because it seems like the normal method, the normal position that we’re in most of the time is sitting with our eyes glued to a screen and absorbing new information.
So when I think about why was sitting meditation such a big thing?
Well, I imagine that in earlier times, people were not sitting looking at screens, and so there was a lot more moving around.
Now of course, we’ve been reading, and reading’s been around for a long time, and it’s not that different from sitting at a computer, really.
If you’re just sitting at a desk and reading, it’s a lot like- you can imagine a thousand years ago, somebody just glued to his desk reading would be a lot like a modern desk worker.
But for most people, working involved some kind of moving around.
And even if you were working on a craft, like at a table, you were maybe standing up, you were moving around.
There was always motion.
And even with our hands, too, like if you’re even just glued to a table working on some craft, you’re still moving your hands in some kind of real-world way.
Whereas now, it’s mainly maybe just a hand on the mouse or hand on the trackpad moving that little pointer around and clicking on lights.
Well, in that environment of always being physically busy, moving around, it makes perfect sense to see meditation as the break from that as just stop all that motion.
Stop the movement.
Just be completely still.
But in today’s setup, if our main activity is sitting still and staring, maybe the walking meditation is really what we really need even more.
Do we need to take a break from sitting and staring at a computer to sitting and closing our eyes?
Well, certainly, turning off that tap of incoming information, turning off the new, to just have a complete peace: that’s certainly very valuable.
But in terms of how our body is positioned, we’re still just sitting.
You go from one sitting to another sitting.
So I don’t mean to say that sitting meditation has no value.
But I almost see like the role is flipped.
Instead of sitting being sort of like the prime meditation position, and then walking being an alternative, I see for me, walking is really the prime way of meditating, of having that break from work, from what I normally do, from our normal spending of the day, to have a break to do something different.
There is the input of what we can see things, but it’s also often very nice things.
Like if you go for a nice walk, see some trees, see some birds, and we have this, but we don’t have the new text, the new information coming in on a screen.
We just have this sense of peace and simplicity that can come from what meditation should be about.
So I’m finding that I really started to get into taking walks and finding great benefit in simply taking a walk.
And I really have to see that it does everything that a sitting meditation can do.
So it has a very helpful effect in recovering from the massive amounts of screen time that the typical 21st-century person lives with.
So I’d be curious to hear what you think about this.
Do you practice any kind of walking?
Or is there a value in the sitting that is also missed in the walking?
How do you get that break and that chance to just have some peace?
#modernmeditation #walkingmeditation #21stcenturymeditation