Friday, June 10th, 2016
West of South Bend, Indiana
In Around South Bend
Dave is a teacher from Buchanan, Michigan. He teaches science in middle school. We met while he was on his run, and me on my walk.
“Tell me about Hare Krishna. I remember you guys in the movies at airports.”
“Well, we’re on the road now,” I said jokingly.
Motorists were responding to today’s article in the South Bend Tribune. Under the heading “Monk Crossing USA on Foot” and sub-heading, “He touts meditative lifestyle by walking.”
The article is by Selena Ponio, and here we have it:
A distance of about 3,000 miles lies between New York City and San Francisco. People tackle this distance daily with planes or cars, but one man's goal is to savor every mile and meticulously chip away at it by using a different method of transportation — his Crocs.
Bhaktimarga Swami, fondly known as "The Walking Monk," passed through Mishawaka and South Bend on Thursday on his journey from New York City to San Francisco. Swami is completing this trip over two summers and is currently in its second phase. He walks 20 miles a day, all with the purpose of promoting a more introspective and ecologically friendly lifestyle.
Garnered in bright orange robes, Swami, a Hare Krishna monk, was anything but subtle as he walked west along Jefferson Boulevard, having departed from Elkhart earlier in the day. He said he believes walking solves a multitude of problems related to both physical and mental health and provides vital down-time dedicated to introspection.
"Your appreciation is enhanced and you're humbled by what you see because you're going through the elements," Swami said. "You develop a tougher skin when you're walking and at the same time your heart softens."
Born in Ontario, Canada, Swami has walked the entire length of Canada four times. He has also walked through other countries such as Ireland, Trinidad and Israel.
Swami occasionally has a support person with him or followers who join him briefly, but for the most part he walks alone. However, he said, from a spiritual perspective he never feels alone.
Swami said walking is important for its meditative qualities and also to allow time for an individual to reprocess a day's information. Speaking in front of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame, he related his advice to students, and said that learning should not just be an absorption of information, but a reiteration of it.
"Take a little time for exhalation, and that comes best in the form of walk," Swami said. "Before you're put in the world of action, before you lay it all before you ... reiterate what you've learned."
May the Source be with you!