The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Want to meditate in a group with no social pressure? Take a SilentWalk.

Murray Hidary leads SilentWalk strolls in cities around the world. (Mindtravel)

The experience of striding the National Mall and gazing at its monuments can inspire a variety of adjectives: “splendid,” “patriotic,” “striking.”

But “silent”? Among crowds of tourists?

It can be, thanks to Murray Hidary, a composer and pianist based in L.A. and New York who travels the world leading groups of all ages on his MindTravel SilentWalk program. On Thursday, he’ll lead a two-hour stroll from the Albert Einstein Memorial to the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin before wrapping up at the Lincoln Memorial.

The twist: Hikers will spend the entire two hours wearing wireless headphones, listening to a mixture of Hidary’s original musical compositions and his meditative monologues.

“We’re walking through the landscape as a silent experience from the outside,” Hidary says. “From the inside we’re all having this really beautiful, opening experience together.”

Each component of the program contributes to the overall effect, Hidary says. The kinetic experience of walking — sometimes, at Hidary’s request, in slow motion — mingles with the soundtrack and the external surroundings. “There’s something about that physical movement which gets the whole system integrated,” he says.

At the end, each person shares a word or phrase to sum up their experience. After 18 months of leading these walks, Hidary says the reactions have a similar tone. “Overwhelmingly, it’s about connection with the universe, with each other and a deep feeling of love and openness,” he says.

After the walk, Hidary sends an email with a link to his recordings and an invitation to replicate the ritual. “They can do it anytime they want,” he says.

Walk starts at the Albert Einstein Memorial, 2101 Constitution Ave. NW; Thu, 7-9 p.m., free with preregistration via Eventbrite.