LIFE LESSONS Sholto Radford.
FOR SHOLTO RADFORD, FOCUSING ON THE ACT OF PUTTING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER CAN BE DEEPLY NOURISHING IN OUR BUSY LIVES
From a short stroll over a lunch break to long treks in the Himalayas, walking has taken me to many beautiful places, both locally and around the world. Since discovering mindfulness meditation in my early twenties and subsequently deciding to work in this eld, it has become a space for conscious practice, for developing awareness and touching in more deeply to the present moment.
On every walk, whatever landscape we pass through, we bring with us our internal world. If we are caught up in thoughts, perhaps thinking of an issue at work or going over a conversation, we are only partly present. We might not notice the richness of what is happening around us, the feeling of the elements against the skin. We may barely notice the movement of leaves on a tree or the song of a bird.
Mindfulness allows us to settle more deeply into our direct experience as it unfolds. Although this might sound simple, it is not easy – the ‘doing’ mode can be quite habitual as it enables us to get by in a life of many demands. But with practice, we can learn to be more aware of the present moment.
For me, silent walking is the perfect place to develop this. There is a rich world to pay attention to, and focusing on engaging the senses as I walk has become a meditative practice. Having spent the past eight years working with mindfulness as both a researcher and teacher, and guiding numerous walking retreats, writing my book, was the ideal opportunity to gather together my experiences. I want others to nd the meditative act of walking to be a fruitful one, just as I have.
Sholto Radford is a certified mountain leader who has a deep passion for spending time in the outdoors. He founded Wilderness Minds (www.wildernessminds.co.uk) in 2013 and since then has runnumerous outdoor-based mindfulness retreats. His new book, Walk (Quadrille, £7.99), is out now.