All Those Who Wander Are "Not" Lost (When Carrying A Walking Stick)
In every walk with nature,
one receives far more than he seeks.”
– John Muir
(Mindfulness Photography Activity Included***)
There is a rhythm to walking that lends itself to moving meditation. If you carry a stick along, a cadence or metronome effect takes you forward down the road and inward at the same time.
There are many “technical” walking sticks you can choose from. REI calls them; “trekking poles” and “hiking staffs”:
CHOOSE A STAFF
Another way to go is to use a wooden staff, which has an earthy grounding quality that feels right for walking meditation.
Someone left the wooden gem (below) behind in the woods,
and it's light as a feather.
If you’re crafty you can: MAKE A STAFF YOURSELF
WOODEN POLES & STAFFS IN ZEN & FOLKLORE
“With this staff in my hand
I can measure the depths and shallows of the world.
The staff supports the heavens and makes firm the earth.
Everywhere it goes the true teaching will be spread."
“Every Zen master has a staff that he cuts for himself in the mountains. It is about seven feet long. It is a symbol of the master’s status as a mountain steward. The master has cut his staff from wild nature in the wild mountains, which is no different from the essential nature set forth by the Buddha. The master enters the main hall with his staff and at the appropriate moments he thumps the floor with (his staff,) to punctuate the ceremony. The staff in the presence of his teaching and all of the Buddhas before him.” Gateless Barrier
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― Gandalf. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Gandalf & Bilbo Baggins from The Lord of The Rings & The Hobbit on Pinterest
Walking Stick “So Hum” Meditation
Snap Alert!! Grab your camera. Observing, wondering & striding mindfully will allow you to connect deeply in the present.
To begin the “So Hum” meditation; allow one forward stride of the stick assigned to the word (silently) “So,” and breathe in deeply. Allow your next forward stride of the stick with an outward breath of “Hum.” (One step forward for each foot for So and one foot each for Hum.)
Once you have established a decent rhythm and you are centered and relaxed into deep breathing, try to find your mindless space between any thoughts that arise.
Forward stride right then left leg “So,” allowing the stick to take you forward into your right and left leg, “Hum.”
See how long you can stay in the gap of quiet stillness between thoughts. This place can be called the gap of love, silence, peace
and thoughtless ness.
Continue to repeat the powerful mantra, “So Hum” as you stride. Allow a soft gaze all about you. Imagine roots from your feet deep into the soil and roots from your stick into the earth. This will “ground” you and keep you steady.
Wondering what “So Hum” means? “I Am.” Basically “I Am Present or I Am Presence.” This is an effective walking meditation tool to quiet the mind, soak up the green beauty surrounding you and dig deep into the now.
LOCAL HIKE PORTLAND, OR
In the city I live in there is a fantastic book called, “Portland Hill Walks.”
One of the most beautiful, lush and hill packed areas of the city, Washington Park, includes a vast plethora of riches.
The Japanese Garden
The Hoyt Arboretum
The Pittock Mansion
The Oregon Zoo
Washington Park & Zoo Railway
The Children’s Museum
The World Forestry Center
The Rose Garden Children’s Park
All of the features above are close together and definitely hilly. You can circumnavigate them all in one hike.
They all weave through Forest Park, which is one of the largest urban forests in the US at 5200 acres, with 80 miles of trail and forest roads.
Walking Stick Quotes
“The best, the most exquisite, automobile is a walking stick; and one of the finest things in life is going on a journey with it.”
“When you have no companion, look to your walking stick.”
Happy Stick Walking Friends!
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Malet, L. (2012). Gateless barrier (Case 44). Pa-chiao’s Staff,” p. 266, Hardpress Publishing. (Referenced 5/25/2020) doi:http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/stafflore.htm
The Gateless Barrier is generally acknowledged to be the fundamental koan collection in the literature of Zen. Gathered together by Wu-men (Mumon), a thirteenth-century master of the Lin-chi (Rinzai) school, it is composed of forty-eight koans, or cases, each accompanied by a brief comment and poem by Wu-men.
Hikers Image Above Left: Ulla Thynell Artist