Imagine a hike that may very well be unlike any other hike you’ve ever taken.

Imagine yourself standing at the foot of an imaginary mountain, looking up. This mountain could be a metaphor for a goal you have set or a challenge you are currently up against.

What does your mountain represent to you? As you look up at your mountain, you take in its size, shape and features. You notice its peak – your destination – but as you continue gazing up at it, the weather changes to reveal a second higher peak – which could represent your core aspirations, a sense of purpose and why.

Now imagine taking that first step on the trail and feeling compelled to take this journey. You quickly find yourself truly enjoying the hike, noticing the vistas, natural beauty, and changes in terrain. You find strength when challenges and self-doubt come up along the way. You remain motivated even though progress towards the peak is slower than expected.

Now imagine simulating this imaginary mountain hike by taking an actual hike in real-life – mindfully and in silence.

One of the hardest things in life is knowing how to be non-attached to future outcomes. On our hike, we can simulate this as well and here is how you can go about it.

First, start by finding an actual mountain or a trail with an intended destination. A gain in elevation is not required. This will be a sacred journey, and its path represents the path we walk in life.

Take a moment to fully arrive, gathering your attention and settle into your body and the surrounding environment. Start by noticing the experience you are having, including any stories or expectations of the hike ahead. Now return to the breath and your senses.

Then notice what it feels like to be here gazing upon the mountain or the trail ahead. If this represents a current challenge or goal, what is it? Ask yourself, why am I here? What is my intention for the day?

As we set out, on our way up to the peak, we practice “releasing” all concerns, expectations, goals and even identity. We stay present to the journey through the lens of our senses. As our mind wanders, we simply return to the view in front of us, and the sensation of taking our next step.

We might have preconceived ideas about how the journey will go or whether we will even reach our goal. On this hike, we will adopt a “beginner’s mind.” Often as experts, we tend to think we know how things will go and become less open to new ideas, opportunities or moments that choose to reveal themselves along the way.

Our confirmation bias often directs us towards cherry-picking information to justify or validate our current beliefs. On this hike, we will stay open by setting the intention to let go of preconceived ideas of how this should be by simply coming back to the present moment, through the direct sensations of walking our path.

On the way up the mountain, we will also hike in “noble silence.” No headphones, podcasts, calling a friend, music, or conversation. This encourages deeper presence and openness to insight into how you are currently walking your path in life.

Some other tips for your silent mindful hike include going at your own pace, listening to your body, and staying connected with your senses.

When you reach your peak, pause and savour the goal achieved. Your peak may be at the actual intended destination, but it can also be wherever you choose it to be. This is the moment of “receiving” insight and clarity, including the gratitude that naturally arises from savouring your experiences.

Of course, you can’t make yourself receive insights through effort. Just listen for whatever comes up without trying to figure it out or directing your expectations. Trust that whatever you experience will be good enough.

Not every hike needs to be a mindful silent hike. Make an intention to do one every few months, and with each experience, you will get better at it and gain new insights into how you are walking your path in relation to your goals.

“The view changes as we walk along the path, and we abandon the goals that, at first, we had in mind. It’s painful to let go of our original intentions, but, eventually, they are in the way because we have changed;, we are no longer the person who set off. Our intentions gave us the journey, and that is enough.” – John Tarrant

Learn more about our different programs and recruit us to explore new possibilities through mindfulness.