We walk for many reasons. To gain something. To get rid of something. To get somewhere. To get away from somewhere. Etc./add your own reason. People generally agree, however, that walking is good. No negative vibes come from walking. (Even “walking away” is beneficial.) Now how about adding another dimension to your walks? How about walking meditation?
Meditation means contemplating and thinking deeply and includes focusing and noticing the present moment. It is possible to do this outside in nature while you are moving; one can achieve a form of meditation while walking. Walking meditation is unique and intentional, and it is different from seated mediation. I think that it is accessible to a broad range of people and landscapes.
Here are guidelines for walking meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Website:
Wherever we walk, we can practice meditation. This means that we know that we are walking. We walk just for walking. We walk with freedom and solidity, no longer in a hurry. We are present with each step. And when we wish to talk we stop our movement and give our full attention to the other person, to our words and to listening.
Walking in this way should not be a privilege. We should be able to do it in every moment. Look around and see how vast life is, the trees, the white clouds, the limitless sky. Listen to the birds. Feel the fresh breeze. Life is all around and we are alive and healthy and capable of walking in peace.
Let us walk as a free person and feel our steps get lighter. Let us enjoy every step we make. Each step is nourishing and healing. As we walk, imprint our gratitude and our love on the earth.
We may like to use a gatha as we walk. Taking two or three steps for each in-breath and each out-breath,
Breathing in “I have arrived”; Breathing out “I am home”
Breathing in “In the here”; Breathing out “In the now”
Breathing in “I am solid”; Breathing out “I am free”
Breathing in “In the ultimate”; Breathing out “I dwell”
Find a special place, and go….