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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A walk on the calm side,
I really enjoyed this book. It introduces walking as a meditative process that benefits the mind and the body-an opportunity for calm reflection, a natural way to both regain perspective and cultivate fresh observations on life. Adam Ford is a retired Anglican priest who combines a refreshingly practical and level headed Christian faith with an appreciation of the spiritual value of other traditions-in particular Buddhism with its emphasis on being mindfully present in each moment, but also Aboriginal, Jewish and Islamic teachings that are respectfully integrated into the text. There is also a lovely section on writing Haikus that reminded me of Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums, and inspired me, for a few days at least, to put pen to paper as a way of cherishing a particular moment in time and place.
The style of writing is down to earth and accessible. Adam intersperses his own experiences of walking in areas such as the Australian outback, the Grand canyon, the streets of London, and his local Sussex downs, with really nice quotes from artists, philosophers, and other travel writers. He also develops a narrative thread of honest, critical, and profound reflection on his own religious faith and how he applies this in his daily life. We are guided through a terrain that includes self-guilt, loneliness and forgiveness and the authorial voice is non-dogmatic, open to doubt, and full of refreshingly practical and sensible interpretations of familiar scripture. In one section where Adam criticises the way that Jesus's crucifixion has been 'sold' as God's solution for what he calls the edifice of guilt constructed by the Christian church, he writes, simply but clearly, that Jesus was 'murdered by the Romans for political reasons'. Instead he guides us towards Jesus's emphasis on 'loving God and our Neighbour as our self' as the way to resolve self blame and guilt.
In conclusion this is a lovely, little, wise book that is enhanced by some beautiful illustrations by Clifford Harper. I started it somewhat sceptically but finished it with a real feeling of appreciation for the gentle wisdom of the author. The art of mindfully walking is a practice we should all cultivate as a much needed and welcome antidote to the frantic, multi-tasking, chaos of modern life.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and practical,
This is quite a short book and one of the reasons for the 5 stars is the absence of padding - I found every page was full of interest and therefore the book deserves reading more than once.
Often I find that writers seem to either aim at academic/indoor/thinking types or at outdoor/adventurous/doers. This was not the case with this writer who bridges the divide - we can all think and we can all thrive on exercise (they can be sides of the same coin).
As someone who loves walking I found many things that resonated - like the wish to walk and explore in new places and everywhere being an opportunity.
The writer is a retired priest and this certainly added a thoughtful spiritual dimension. But it was also great that he also draws on other traditions such as Buddhism.
It is easy to enjoy a walk in the Lakes in good weather - the author helps us to get even more from such an expedition - but also to thrive when the only opportunity is half an hour in the middle of the city. Whatever your opportunity to get outside, this book has the capacity to enrich your experience.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mindful exposition,
This review is from: The Art of Mindful Walking: Meditations on the Path (Kindle Edition)
Adam Ford has written an engaging monograph on his experiences of 'mindful walking' including times in The Lakes, Australia and by the Thames. What I particularly liked about the book were the personal accounts of walks and more in his native Cumbria. We hear of how he, a priest (formerly the Queen's chaplain), conducted his father's burial at a traditional Lakeland church. Just as he was interred his father's digital watch went off inside the coffin! It's quirky asides such as this which give the book its jaunty pace (one minor crit would be it does jump around a tad). As you'd expect, Ford deals with the philosophical sides of 'mindful walking' with Christian and Buddhist perspectives touched upon. So, in conclusion if you like a good yomp or you're into a spot of meditation you will appreciate that 'mindful walking' is the perfect antidote to clear the busy mind and be in the moment; the point of this book. It's part of a series that I've read including, Seeking Silence in a Noisy World, both well worth a read to thus still the curse of modern living and that whole ethos of RUSH, RUSH, RUSH.
5.0 out of 5 stars A walk out beyond our self.,
This review is from: The Art of Mindful Walking: Meditations on the Path (Mindfulness) (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. It's a very mellow guide to walking and its pleasures. The style is conversational, and some significant personal events are described. It's only a little about the practicalities or technicalities. It's about setting out and really enjoying and experiencing where you are and who you are in a landscape. It's about what you bring to the experience, and what it brings back into you.
In short it's book about the thoughtful, reflective and contemplative side of walking. It handles its key themes well, and it gives people a good idea about what they can learn about themselves on a walk. Korzybski said A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness."
This is a very useful book about walking, not in terms of maps and territories, of miles, directions, height gained etc, but in terms of showing us (or reminding us) about how much we learn about ourselves, and our thought structures, when we walk. Ultimately it's actually a book about taking a walk out beyond ourselves- and about how much we learn when we do this. It's more Robert McFarlane than Eric Langmuir or the MLTB!
Recommended to walkers who are reflective.
But make sure you read your Langmuir as well.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have bought several as gifts . The book itself is lovely to look at and to hold.
It's also an easy read and a good introduction to mindfulness.
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