Open Thinkering


Walking to calm the monkey chatter mind


A couple of months ago I wrote about my morning routine. In that post I mentioned that I’ve begun to take my ’emotional temperature’ when I wake up. Something I’ve found useful no matter what colour I find my mood is a morning walk; it helps calm the monkey mind:

Mind monkey or monkey mind, from Chinese xinyuan and Sino-Japanese shin’en 心猿 [lit. “heart-/mind-monkey”], is a Buddhist term meaning “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable”. (Wikipedia)

There’s something about the repetitive act of walking that takes thoughts tangled like an old ball of yarn and organises them into some sort of coherence. I guess the same is true of cycling or swimming, too.

I’m fortunate as there’s an ancient woodland on my doorstep to walk through, but even without this I think that the act of walking anywhere helps. The digital world is so fast-paced and almost schizophrenic compared to the offline world that we need to pull ourselves out of the stream to order our thoughts.

This weekend I’m looking forward to taking this further with a Hill Skills course. It’s the first step on the rung towards becoming a Mountain Leader. I never got around to doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award when I was younger, so I guess this is my opportunity to make amends!

Image CC BY Berit Watkin

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