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The Citizen Recommends: SilentHike

Connect to nature, your city and yourself with a walking, musical meditation along Kelly Drive

Connect to nature, your city and yourself with a walking, musical meditation along Kelly Drive

Murray Hidary, a tech entrepreneur-turned-classical composer, travels the world to host his silent hikes, bringing together music, meditation and walking through nature. But his journey started—as these often do—in his own living room.

One evening in 2013, Hidary invited a group of friends into his home for a live Do Somethingperformance of a composition he created in real-time on his piano. The piece, deeply influenced by Zen Buddhism, was part of his personal reflective practice, and he wanted to see if that intention could transfer to his guests. It did. 

Moved by the ability to take his listeners on an internal journey, Hidary over the next few years developed what he called MindTravel to bring this feeling to a larger stage. In 2018, Hidary took his work outdoors, hosting SilentHike performances around the world, in which participants explore scenic gardens, parks and trails on a meditative walk while guided by a soundtrack (on headphones) composed by Hidary. In each city he visits, Hidary seeks to connect people with themselves, their surroundings and each other, so every guided tour is unique and personalized to the location.

“I want people to look at their freedom and autonomy and realize that they have the ability to achieve their dreams and accomplish what they want,” he says.

“I created MindTravel to move people through music,” Hidary says. “Each city I go to, I pick a natural landscape that is beautiful. In our everyday life, we are distracted by a lot, especially because technology can be used as a distraction. SilentHike upends this, and forms community through a shared experience.”

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Earlier this month, when SilentHike was in the Kensington section of London, Hidary was touched by how three generations of a family—a grandmother, a daughter and a granddaughter—were able to connect with the city and each other. “I’m always most surprised when I see young kids and older adults appreciating their surroundings and the world together,” he says.

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Hidary will bring SilentHike to Philly’s Kelly Drive tonight at 7 pm. After a short introduction and intention-setting at Lloyd Hall, the meditative tour will take participants in a contemplative journey through Boxer’s Trail in East Fairmont Park. At the end of the event, Hidary will lead ask participants to go around and share a word or phrase about how they felt about the experience. Wireless headphones will be provided.

Fittingly, the Philadelphia hike will concern itself with the theme of freedom, in all its different meanings. “I want people to look at their freedom and autonomy and realize that they have the ability to achieve their dreams and accomplish what they want,” he says.

Wednesday, July 31, 7 pm-9 pm, Free, RSVP for headphones here, Lloyd Hall Fairmount Park (Meeting point), 1 Boathouse Row.

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