I like hiking and backpacking because it gives me an opportunity to empty my mind of everything and concentrate on the sensation of walking and being present with myself. When I hike, I don't dwell on work or relationships. Instead, I have attained the ability to be very present to the sensations in my body, particularly in my feet and legs, as well as the environment around me. And after a multi-day backpack, I can maintain the buzz of equanimity – an evenness of mind – for a day or two. I feel at peace, unperturbed by the frantic pace of work or home life.
Walking meditation is a form of meditation commonly practiced by Buddhists. When I studied Buddhism with some dedication a few years ago, I could not maintain my concentration when walking around the temple. Instead, I gravitated toward sitting meditation which I found a lot easier because there were no external distractions impinging on my mind. Now it's just the opposite. I need to be in the woods and mountains to find myself again.