A fellow meditatation teacher shared a post this week about a ‘new’ trend that people are talking about on Tik Tok.
It’s called ‘silent walking’.
Another colleague then shared an article about the same thing on the ABC’s website.
My immediate reaction was two-fold.
Firstly, a wry smile… hang on a minute aren’t they just talking about mindful walking which has been around for… well a lot longer than Tik Tok!
I wrote a blog about it in April.
There’s even a Zen proverb that addresses it: “When walking… walk.”
Then secondly, a delighted smile… well if it gets more people talking about and doing this, then that’s fantastic!
Silent walking in its simplist form is just that – walking quietly without your phone and headphones, distraction-free.
I first encountered it in 2015 (yes, that’s also before Tik Tok) on a retreat.
It was hard.
Not because I wanted my phone or anything like that, but more because when I see or hear something – I want to share it with someone.
As a kid growing up, walking was something we did as a family.
Dad would point out a bird that we would watch together.
Mum would notice some wild blackberries or an unusual flower growing in the bush.
We didn’t necessarily walk in silence, but we looked around us.
We saw things, we heard things, we would feel the cold wind on our skin.
Because of this I’ve never been able to walk with headphones on.
It just doesn’t feel right.
I want to see, hear and notice what’s happening around me.
It’s always puzzled me when people go storming past plugged in to the latest true-crime podcast or whatever.
I look at the trees and the clouds.
I spot birds and their nests, flowers, insects… all sorts of things.
But if you don’t stop to look around you miss this.
Technology is great – but we all need to take a break from it.
Otherwise we just live in a constant state of distraction and busyness, and it becomes harder and harder to switch this off.
Look around you anywhere, anytime, notice how many people are on their phones.
Not even talking to anyone… just staring at a screen and flicking through life.
I encourage my clients to go and sit outside for five to 20 minutes everyday and notice what they see, hear and feel.
My only rule is… of course… no phones!
So anyway, back to this ‘new’ craze.
Some people have criticised it for trying to reinvent walking.
But I really hope it takes off.
I hope people take off their headphones, put down their phones and go and explore what’s out there.
Earlier this year I guided a mindful walk in nature and a part of that walk was in complete silence.
Clearly, I was on to something😉
Next time though, I’ll be much more trendy, and call it silent walking!
I hope to see you out there…