I’m always up for trying new mind-body experiences. So, I was excited when I went online and discovered a company called MindTravel was offering a walking meditation in my town last week. I knew I had to give it a try!
According to the site, “This magical experience takes audiences on a profound journey as a composer, and pianist Murray Hidary’s real-time compositions are beamed directly into the MindTravel headphones that the audience wears. It’s a perfect way to take in the majestic surroundings while also experiencing a musical revelation spontaneously improvised, infused with wisdom traditions, theoretical physics, and the power of communal elevation.”
Needless to say, it was a phenomenal experience.
Here’s how it went:
First, we prepared to begin our hike up the Los Liones trail in LA.
At the entrance to the trail, we gathered around Murray Hidary, the founder of MindTravel. He explained the plan for the hike. He told us that the music we would hear was composed and arranged by him specifically for this experience.
Next, we put on our headphones and began our ascent. Right away the classical music began playing. At first, it was a bit disorienting to watch the changing landscape and integrate it with what I was hearing. But soon, I noticed that the music somehow brought me more deeply into the visual experience of the hike. I found myself really noticing, and in a weird way communing, with the passing landscape all around me. At that moment, early on, I realized – this is working.
As we continued our ascent, Hidary spoke to us through the headphones, encouraging us to experience a level of deeper introspection.
Overall, the pace moved along comfortably, and in around 40 minutes, we approached our first landing area.
We paused at a landing area for reflection on the MindTravel experience.
MindTravel chose an ideal location for this walking meditation exercise. The visual landscape on top of the Los Liones trail is incredible. We could see the entire coastline included: the famous queen’s necklace curved shoreline, the twinkling lights of Santa Monica, and the gracious and glowing foothills of Malibu.
The fact that we (probably around 50 of us) were silent added to the experience. There were no distractions. Everyone was experiencing the meditation separately, yet we were together. It was like an exercise in holding space for ourselves and for each other.
A sun-setting meditation and thoughtful descent added to the experience.
Fifteen minutes or so later, Hidary guided us to continue to climb up further – this time moving very slowly. We then reached another bluff with a different view. The hike was at sunset. As the light shifted, the experience changed minute to minute.
Everything felt alive. Watching the changing light while absorbing the music and words was powerful. This pause seemed longer and allowed for more reflection. Again, everyone was able to find their own space.
As darkness settled, Hidary told us that we would begin our descent down the mountain. He continued to provide guidance and music as we turned on our headlamps and made our way down together in the moonlight.
I have to admit I was nervous. I was afraid of falling (I’m not an experienced hiker and can be clumsy on these trails). But the way down felt seamless, relaxed, and peaceful. The moonlight was bright, and the air was crisp and cool.
At the base of the mountain, Hidary concluded with a small farewell ceremony. Walking to my car I felt grateful. I also felt a sense of peace. The changes in perspective made me realize how small my thoughts are and how vast this universe is. It was comforting and calming.
In conclusion, I highly recommend MindTravel for anyone seeking to try a new version of walking mediation. Hidary is offering several guided walking meditations over the next few weeks in Central Park in NYC, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and back in Santa Monica.
See MindTravel’s upcoming schedule here.
Follow Murray Hidary here to keep up with his adventures!
And, if you get a chance, enjoy a walking meditation with MindTravel soon.