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

In the Moment - - Contents -

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.

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