The practice of walking meditation can be a useful tool in our daily lives. Meditation in action is similar to many other forms of meditation in that it utilizes the experience of walking as the focal point; in other words, it uses the experience of movement as the focus.
During walking meditation, we become aware of our experience, including our walking process and the movements of our legs (left, right, left, right); we focus on that experience. As compared to sitting meditation, walking meditation differs in some respects. During walking meditation, we keep our eyes open, which implies additional changes to our practice.
In practicing walking meditation, our attention is not drawn away from the outside world. While walking, we are more aware of our surroundings, which includes tripping over and bumping into other people and objects. We are also not aware of many other things that we are not conscious of while meditating, primarily when seated indoors. A number of other factors contribute to the feeling of being grateful for nature, such as the sound of the wind, the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the rain, the sound of vehicles, the smells emanating from the soil, plants, or windows of homes as you pass by, taking care not to get distracted.
However, the most significant difference is the ease with which it can be accomplished.
It is generally found that walking meditation is much easier to practice than sitting meditation. Being aware of the body is easier when it is in motion than when it is still. The experience can be intense and rewarding. Several types of walking meditation exist, but outdoor walking meditation is the most common. You may wish to choose a park or open space where you can walk for twenty minutes without encountering any traffic on your first attempt.
What are the steps involved in walking meditation?
Here are some steps to follow after you have chosen an open space in which you can do your walking meditation:
The first step in walking meditation is to stand up. Take a moment to become aware of the weight being transferred from your body through the soles of your feet to the ground as you stand on the spot. Make sure you are conscious of all the subtle movements that you perform to maintain your balance and upright posture. Keep in mind the constant adjustments you are making in order to remain in balance.
Once you have taken the first step, you can begin walking normally and at a relatively slow but regular pace. It is helpful to remember that we are not changing how we walk; we are simply becoming more aware of it. When you begin moving, you need to be mindful of your body, paying particular attention to the soles of your feet and observing the patterns of alternating contact and release; pay attention to all of the sensations in your feet, from the touch between your toes to the feeling of your shoes to the feel of your socks, and allow your feet to be as relaxed as possible at all times. When walking, it is vital to be mindful of everything you do with your body. This includes focusing your eyes, relaxing your eyes, and not becoming distracted by anything that may pass by.
Initially, we will not be focusing on emotional feelings, but rather on a sense of being. It is natural for things inside and outside the body to feel pleasant or unpleasant. Do not cling to or push them away; be attentive and allow them to drift away on their own. Consider your emotional state when it comes to thoughts and emotions. For example, feeling satisfied? Feeling irritable? Are you pleased with what you are doing? Observing these phenomena without judging them and merely noting them.
Balancing Inner and Outer
The mind settles into a state of calm and clarity when it is aware of both the inner and outer worlds equally. Make sure that your experiences on the inside and outside are in balance.
After experiencing each step for some time, stop. It is not necessary for you to freeze on the spot; instead, you should take a moment and experience standing alone. You may continue walking as soon as you feel comfortable. In the event that you need to stop again, repeat this process until you are satisfied with the results of the walk.
At the end of the meditation, simply stand and observe the experience as it unfolds.
Can you recall how you felt at the time? What did you observe around you that was interesting?
Make the most of this time, especially if you are out in nature.