Saturday, November 25th, 2012
Chant While Walking
” I could pray while I was walking.” is a quote from Dorothy Day (1897-1980) a philanthropist who spent much time in New York city. I read these words and it inspired me. I could say that too but replace the word “pray” for “chant”. Essentially, the two words mean to say: a calling out or a celebration of the Divine. In her autobiography “The Long Loneliness” Day recalls the happy ambling times along the shore of States Island and how in the course of her helping the poor she could not get down on her knees but begin praying while in motion.
I have mentioned in the past that a motionless posture for me to chant is a challenge and that walking and chanting are most compatible. In ’96 I initiated the first long walk across Canada and since it averaged out 8 hours a day of stepping (sometimes more) I might as well move the mouth at the same time and turn the walk into a pilgrimage.
Others have endorsed this notion of meditational strolling. For instance a writer Linus Mundy authored two books “Slow-Down Therapy” and “The Complete Guide to Prayer-Walking)”. I did some of this prayer (chant) walking in the evening after giving two talks today. I discovered lots of people walking on the streets. Cars were honking like crazy. Of course, the local team won the Grey Cup Tournament. Quite reverentially, rowdy fans were chanting “ARGOOOO!” in pride of their team, the Argonauts. Not a terrible amount of spiritual benefit can come out of this but one thing is proven that simultaneous walking and vocal expressions go hand-in-hand.
Actually, before I heard and saw the commotion I came upon a pensive man standing on the street and he asked me, “Who won the game?”. I expressed that I don’t follow sports much at all. He was tricked especially when I asked him innocently, who’s playing who? I just kept walking. I found since I was 5, doing that long 1 mile to school, that there’s something about the movement of the body that makes you sensitive to your spirit. That’s why some walkers often pray (or chant) while the feet are gliding over the earth.
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