Pilgrimpace's Blog


walking and the mind
December 22, 2013, 3:49 pm
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I caught a few minutes of BBC Radio 4’s Something Understood while I was getting ready first thing this morning.  It’s on ‘Walking and the Mind’ and looks well worth a listen if you get a chance.  It’ll be on iplayer for a week and is repeated at 11.30 tonight (it’ll be iplayer for me at some point tomorrow – three masses this morning; home communion this afternoon; and a carol service this evening will take their toll).

Here’s the programme description from the BBC website:

John McCarthy explores the effects of walking on the mind – on our creative and spiritual well-being.

We all know that a good walk is physically good for us, but we rarely stop to consider its impact on our mental states. Was Friedrich Nietzsche right when he said, “all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking”?

Walking, especially walking in countryside, has been important to many creative artists and writers. Beethoven, Erik Satie and Benjamin Britten all used their daily walks for inspiration, as did William Wordsworth as he tramped the paths of the Lake District with his sister Dorothy.

John McCarthy looks at the act of walking as inspiration and also considers its spiritual function. Why do so many people, from a wide variety of religious beliefs, walk to display their devotion and increase their spiritual understanding? Around the world, millions set out each year along the great pilgrimage routes, and often travel on foot.

John McCarthy talks to the British artist Richard Long, whose work often describes walks he has undertaken or imagined. He also talks to Colin Thubron – one of our finest writers about discovery and place – who recently made the arduous journey on foot around Mount Kailash in Tibet, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The programme is usually repeated late on Sunday night, so I may listen to it in bed! Sounds interesting.

Comment by The Solitary Walker

the few minutes I heard this morning were very interesting. I’ll listen tomorrow with a notebook and pencil. After all the services today (and the carols just sungen and mulled wine just drunken) I won’t be awake at 11.30)

Comment by pilgrimpace




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