The Outdoor Mindful Walkers

We didn’t really know what exactly Marjorie Isaacs had in mind when she invited folks from our Meeting to participate in an outdoor meditation activity, but a spontaneous group of us saw it as a “great opening,“ or potentially great enough, to give it a try.

We have been evolving this thing for more than a month, so we have a better idea about it now. The point of the group, for me, is for us to venture outdoors, and to venture fearlessly as a community into the light of the outdoors, despite the shadow of the recent coronavirus pandemic.

Like our Buddhist brothers and sisters, we Quakers approach our outdoor meditation walk in a mindfully slow manner, in single file, and mostly in silence. Over the pavement and through the grass to grand nature’s house (the woods) we go! Our whole time is spent outside.

What happens before and after our mindful walking period? Good question! This varies from week to week. As a group, we’re flexible and seasoned now to the point where less directive words are desired by the majority of us. Just a few suggestive phrases and gestures are enough to gather us more fully into this particular place and with a fuller appreciation of this very singular time.

Again, my take on it is that we are invited to a greater awareness of the relationship between Mother Nature and our own human nature. We acknowledge a direct relationship between these, and savor this, together with our individual differences, as we breathe and wonder and just mindfully “hang out” by the play set and the parking lot. Our social-distanced walk begins after this warm-up, with each encouraged to observe his or her own personal style. This is the meat of our time together. We move slowly, slowly through the woods and through the somewhat trackless paths of heightened consciousness. We are each on our own journey, but we travel it together. This is the heart of the message for me. At the end of our walk, we circle up, six feet apart, for worship sharing. Then we express our thankfulness, say our goodbyes, and go home. Quite satisfactory!

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