(The way up a hill/a path/towards heaven is always by slowing down!)
I have spent some time in HK, where I used to live close to a hillock (upper wanchai area). The place is one of the most serene locals I have seen till date, relatively posh and hence free of the hustle bustle market streets which HK is generally known for.
The way up to the hillock used to be from real close to my apartments, and hence I would on a daily basis see tons of old folks climbing up and coming down. I myself over time spent many a day walking up this hillock (and its really worth it). The climb up is one of the steepest I have seen in my life - for a walkers route. Its at least at a 60 degree angle up hill all the way to the summit.
The hillock at the top is intertwined and interlinked with all the other hillocks around that area, and hence a path is made for walkers to walk in divine quietness midst peaceful greenery. The place used to be indescribable to say the least.
But what used to strike me even more awe filled was the way that these old folks used to walk up all the way in one go, I was around 10+ and full of energy and I used to walk and stop and almost die in the process; It used to take me as much if not more time to walk up - than these old people (who would on an average look like they were 60 - none would know their real age of course).
So now I am a big fan of walking - for many years on; I like the pace at which I can travel and see surroundings and also give some thought to my inner being so as to speak - and while I was walking the other day at night (thats generally when I walk around my neighboring areas - to find a new direction so as to say) and this beautiful imagery of these old folks walking up struck me. And I understood something finally
I must also mention - I am a very quick walker at worst, and find my way generally with ease and speed; but in recent times - I have deliberately started walking at a measured pace with a poised gait; which will help me relax forcefully while walking lol.
So this forced slowness was the same thing which these chinese old folk were doing when they were climbing up this steep un-climbable sort of hill. They were doing an initial forced measure - which will slow down their mind and the body - followed by a sense of meditative ness - which would remove the distractions the mind would create due to the artificial slow ness induced.
This is generally achieved via breadth control as well. You can control the pace at which you breathe and this would affect every other part of the organizam.
What is the effect of inducing such an artificial slowness; well for one you can easily climb fucking tall mountains! This kind of tai-chi/prana/hatha techniques are very easy to know and very difficult to practice and once conquered - extremely beneficial in all sense possible!
The slowing down of breath or pace at which one goes about their walk or thoughts or words or everything, creates a sense of space in our minds, the minds relax - free from one imposing thought over another all the time. Creating lower frequency waves - emanating from the mind - theta waves - which create the will to take over (as it is), but not shrouded by blinding and confusing mind thoughts. Creating splendor of being as it is said - extraordinary fitness for the body and longevity, extremely young and naive mind - capable of multiple processes and perceptions possible. A strong Heart which will stand through any perceived adversities and always provide inclusiveness - all this by changing the way one walks? I would have to say yes here.
Many people across the world, now practice walking and dancing meditations - slow and sure, the motor activity is so strong - that it takes over the entire activity and the brain does not have to provide any cognitive inputs - it is not imagining here anymore (though that is what practically and most probably takes place), but imagination too shall take a break given practice - and then the mind itself becomes awakened while being subdued. Again a cool dichotomy but a fact. These are the effects which I have encountered while doing a measured walk with a poised gait. Gait creates the sense of attention - and where it is being directed. If its wayward gait, then the energy too shall not be stable and shall dissipate, otherwise if the gait is kept strong - which only the individual will be able to realize - then the walk becomes empowering and meditative, providing kind of limitless energy for realizing tasks.
But this is enough non-sense for now, the fact remains that till date I do not believe I have met anyone who would be as strong with stamina as to climb the hill like the myriad old people from HK used to (the youth used to stop and walk just like me - everyone except some really old people could not climb the hillock at one go~!). Their never stopping and never giving up attention gait and walk was something which our generation (the current one), has never learnt; had the inclination to learn and most probably never learn cause now we do not get the opportunity to walk!
I still try to walk as much as I can, cause I have experienced its direct benefits - its sense of slowing down - creates a greater harmony within the body and mind and more peace definitely any which day.