Francis Sanzaro

‘I realized the main thing preventing a more intimate connection to the natural world was concept — the mysterious filters our mind lodges between us and the world, at every turn, at every second, in just about every interaction. Concepts can be good: We get the concept of “mortal danger” when a car is hurtling toward us. But concepts, also a form of assumption, can neuter experience because pure sensations become impure when we judge them. Concepts are what we deploy when we ask what we can get out of a walk, rather than the opposite.

Researchers who study our brain activity while we walk use the term “automaticity” to describe how our body behaves on a stroll. Automaticity is defined as “the ability of the nervous system to successfully coordinate movement with minimal use of attention-demanding executive control resources.”

We should leverage the gift of walking to stop thinking and start doing, apparently, what walking is asking us to do — pay attention to the stuff of place, the place itself. To arrive at that point takes time, and discipline, but when it does, delight bubbles up, a “praising of the mysterious and tender touching we are so often in the midst of,” according to Ross Gay, poet and author of “The Book of Delights.” Place comes to life, any place, from the life we gave it, from attentiveness.’ (from the New York Times)

This was a nice article about the power of attention and walking, which obviously I am a huge fan of. I could not resist a little wry smile at the fact that the author, having discovered this, felt compelled to write a book about it.


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