Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation

  • October 24, 2016

The body is the vehicle of the mind. If you think that you’re not as good as others, you may slouch, avoid meeting people’s gazes, or stare into space. If you think that, alternatively, you’re better than others, you may walk with your chin up, looking down your nose at people, not really seeing or hardly noticing who’s near. If you’re impatient, you may rush; if you’re agitated, you may pace; if you’re scared, you may run; if you’re tired, you may stop (Kabat-Zinn 1990, 114). When you’re lost in thought, you may arrive at a destination without ever experiencing the journey.(Marotta 2014, 53).

Inquiry:
Ask yourself: “Do I ever drive down the freeway and pass my exit ramp, not remember if I’ve locked the door to my house, not be able to stand up straight after sitting down too long, or walk looking down with a frown on my face?” “Can I make an intention to ‘be here now’ with what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, and who’s doing it?”

Practice:
This walking meditation brings slow and deliberate motion to walking back and forth in an unobstructed space for 10-20 steps. The object of attention is the sensation of walking and your intention is to not get anywhere except into the present moment. Breathing is kept to the side and your gaze is on the ground directly in front. Begin by standing in mountain pose at one end of your space.
1. Lift: Shift your weight to one foot as the other foot slowly lifts from the ground. Notice sensations of lifting—heaviness or lightness, pulling or pushing.
2. Glide: Glide your lifted foot forward, feeling into sensations in your body. Notice sensations of gliding—smooth or jerky, fast or slow.
3. Plant: Plant the heel of your forward foot on the ground, then your toes. Notice sensations of planting—balance or imbalance, equal or unequal weight distribution and angle of your body. Shift your weight to the other foot as you lift, plant, and glide. When you reach the end of your walking space, slowly and consciously turn and walk in the opposite direction. On your final turn, stand in mountain pose, feeling the connection to the earth and balance of the body.