Walking for the Spirit and Soul Essay

Walking for the Spirit and Soul Essay

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In a society where many people are commonly overwhelmed with worries and issues concerning home and work life, the idea of walking is often an afterthought for most people. In fact, several people try to avoid any extra, unnecessary walking or when they do walk, it is on a treadmill in his or her gym or basement. In 1862, Henry Thoreau wrote an article about the importance of walking; this article, or as it is commonly referred to as essay, holds the title of “Walking”. “Walking” is not just simply a lecture that people should walk for their health; this essay is mainly based on the idea of walking as a form of meditation. “Walking” was written with strong emotion and passion by Thoreau. Ideas from this essay can be tied in with Emerson’s essay “Nature”. Thoreau explains that his method of walking is not as simple as it sounds; in addition to that, some of the ideas can also be tied in with Buddhism walking meditation. This essay truly shows that Thoreau appreciated nature for what it was, which is the transcendentalist way.
To begin, in Thoreau’s lifetime, the main modes of transportation were either walking or by horse. Thoreau strongly believed in walking and how it could work as meditation. Within the essay, he does not just refer to walking as walking but as an art form called sauntering (“Walking” 260). Both actions are very similar but the difference is great; sauntering is more of an act of dawdling or strolling without a care (“Saunter”). He explains that for a person to truly have a great walk or saunter and understand the art of walking, that person must lose all of his or her forebrain thoughts and cares. Evidence of this can be interpreted from the quote, “[I]f you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settle...


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...ionary. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 29 April 2014.
---. "Nirvana." Def. 1A. OED: Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 5 May 2014.
---. "Sauntering." Def. 2. OED: Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 29 April 2014.
"The Nature Writers." The Essential Transcendentalists. Ed. Richard G. Geldard. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2005. 251-56. Print.
Thoreau, Henry D. "Walden." Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings. Ed. William Rossi. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. 5-224. Print.
---. "Walking." Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings. Ed. William Rossi. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. 260-87. Print.
Trungpa, Chogyam. "Continuing Your Confusion." The Path Is the Goal: A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2010. 14+. Google EBook. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.

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