The Wisdom in Walking
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking"
“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”
Like Nietzsche, some of the most profound thoughts come to me when I’m walking. For a while, I have attempted to figure out why that is precisely, but such a question still sparks my curiosity to this day. When I sit down with the intention of writing, there is a natural anticipation which arises out of its own will, which almost always prevents finer, more heartfelt thoughts to gush in and make themselves noticed. Such a pattern is always a cause for frustration if you are disposed to write, but any practiced writer can tell you that there are moments where the incapacity to do so overpowers your necessity to write. I find myself in a state where I am forcing myself to think, anxiously, impossibly, with the impassioned hope that the thought I desire to provoke grips my soul and at once equips me with the appropriate words to articulate it. More often than not, this doesn’t succeed as I would have intended, and leaves me with a feeling of small vexation.
Quite ironically, it is when my mind is stretching its legs without interference that it happens; the thought presents itself in a gleaming, sophisticated fashion and I am abruptly endowed with the construction and expression. As far as I know, I have never stopped thinking, for a long time I have thought about things to preposterous extents and for extensive periods of time, and I continue to do so. There is a sure madness about it, and I have grown restless more times than I can count as a consequence. To call it mere overthinking, though, does not satisfy. It is more like thinking over things that on the surface may seem insubstantial, but at an intramural level, are reasonably serpentine. There are people who overthink without harvesting new insights, then there are artists, poets, and philosophers who think things over and collect new jewels. Such treasures become refined paragons of excellence, gifts that the world could and will benefit from. I think that is where true, pure beauty emerges. At first glance, such thinkers seem like overthinkers who are enfeebled or diseased – and you could certainly make the case that they have an underlying affliction and darkness – but their brilliance lies in their madness, and to strip them of their blizzards is to render them inferior to the genius that bears fruit in the midst of their natural delirium.
When I’m taking the air by the ocean, an outlandish tranquility moves my emotion. I feel beset by a loss for words, yet in my speechlessness, my mind opens like a bud and blossoms, running uninterrupted and steady, an outpouring of glory, ecstasy and darkness intermingled together. There’s a profound and curious sense of escape, as if I got perforated by an arrow and blood leaked out the orifice. Likened to a leakage, a discharge of successive thoughts rush out, and I, the observer, find myself in a state of wondrous bewilderment. As I carry on with walking, puzzled and inquiring, there is no difficulty to be found, no blockage or alarm. The pandemonium that surrounds me is strangled by a flashing light, by a love that could only be expressed as transcendent, perfect, and melodious. The gleaming lights of nightfall are permeated by a rich vividness, like a painting strengthened by luminous whites clashing with the approaching darkness.
The feeling of being by yourself, in deep utter contemplation, fastened to experience itself, overcome by vision and insight, is an eternity in a moment. If anyone were to ask where my most abstruse thoughts come from, I would say they come from the most cavernous seas that impregnate my soul while walking down the promenade. That is one of the few instances I feel thoroughly at ease with myself, still like a mill-pond I prowl on my imagination and it yields… a stupor of knowledge that I am convinced is otherworldly. My doubts are dispelled, my convictions are buttressed by understanding, my fears are proved vain, my standing timely. Call it divine providence if you will.
If you’re earnest about writing, and you’re concerned with the profound and eternal, you should go on frequent walks, preferably in nature, and by yourself, journal and pen in hand, ready to think up and formulate. A thought strikes often when you least expect it and catches you by surprise. Those who carry some paper are always ready to jot it down. You should never miscalculate your capacity for thought, you will be pleasantly impressed with yourself when you find that you’re more expressive than you assumed. It’s simply that you never tried to actually write something eloquent, pregnant with meaning. Too concerned with perfection, you fail before you start. Thoughts are irregular at the start, no matter how heartfelt, they only shine after, when civilized by style. Write down something, anything! it doesn’t have to be great, but you have to write it down if you want to work out its merit. The profundity of a thought is ambiguous until it’s been enriched by revelation, it only assumes its lawful colors when the potential depth of the thought has been unearthed, ascertained, and consolidated.
In the words of Kafka, “Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”
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