Christopher Ives: Meditations on the Trail (#115)


This episode of the Wisdom Podcast features a conversation with writer, professor, and Wisdom author Christopher Ives. Chris has published two books with Wisdom: Zen on the Trail: Hiking as Pilgrimage and Meditations on the Trail: A Guidebook for Self-Discovery, which came out on May 11, 2021. In this conversation, Chris and host Daniel Aitken explore the idea at the heart of these two books: that the hiking trail and the spiritual path can often be one and the same. When we bring a certain presence to our time in nature—whether it’s a city park or the Appalachian trail—that time can become a profound and spiritual experience. And our time in the outdoors can also lead to insights and wisdom that we can then take with us to the cushion, or wherever our spiritual practice takes place. Topics discussed include

  • how to turn preparing for a hike into a mindfulness practice;
  • shared values between spiritual practice and hiking, such as simplicity;
  • how to prepare a mindful and respectful mind-state for entering the hiking experience;
  • how to be more fully present while hiking;
  • the difference between various terms that can be helpful for practicing mindful hiking, such as mindfulness, immersing yourself, and presencing;
  • and much more.

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About the Interviewee

Chris Ives, author of Zen on the Trail and Meditations on the Trail, books on Buddhism, hiking, and nature

Christopher Ives is a professor of religious studies at Stonehill College. In his teaching and writing, he focuses on ethics in Zen Buddhism and Buddhist approaches to nature and environmental issues. His publications include Zen on the Trail: Hiking as PilgrimageImperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen’s Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics; Zen Awakening and Society; a translation (with Masao Abe) of Nishida Kitarō’s An Inquiry into the Good; a translation (with Gishin Tokiwa) of Shin’ichi Hisamatsu’s Critical Sermons of the Zen Tradition. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Buddhist Ethics.

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