How to do Walking Meditation
"If a Buddha walks he is tremendously grounded. He is in deep contact with the earth. He is nourished by the earth, the earth is nourished by him. There is a continuous transfer of energy" - Osho
Walking meditation is an excellent way of integrating meditation into your daily life.
We all walk multiple times during the day, even if it's as little as walking to the pantry to get coffee.
By bringing awareness, a rootedness, to these walking sessions, we extend the meditation benefits from our 'sitting' time out to the rest of our day.
It is best to begin by practicing walking meditation during a designated time at a designated place, just as you would do for your normal sitting meditation.
This is to ensure that you become comfortable with the idea of walking with your attention focussed inside and not outside.
Once you learn to do this in a calm and relaxed manner, and you feel safe walking on a busy street with the mind focused inward, you can transform all your walking sessions into meditation sessions.
Here is how you meditate on your feet:
- Plan your walking route. It could be indoors or outdoors - just ensure that you find a level, interruption free stretch of land
- With hands by your side or clasped in front or behind you, fix your gaze on the ground a few metres ahead of you, and begin walking
- Do not look up, left or right - this is to prevent visual distractions
- Focus your attention on the specific sensations of your feet touching the ground - placement of the heel, pressing of the foot, pressure on the ball of the foot during lift-off
- After a few minutes, disperse your attention to cover a wider range of sensations throughout the body
- Check how it feels in your calves, shins, thighs, buttocks, lower back and spinal column
- Any sensations in the chest? How about the neck, face and head? How does it feel there, if anything?
- Keep observing these sensations without judging, labeling or speculating about them
- Keep your gaze on the ground
- If the mind wanders, as it surely will, bring it back gently to focus on the sensations again
As a zen master once said, "When I walk, I walk." Think about that statement and allow it to sink in. If you try hard enough, one day you too will start 'living' that statement.
Similar to walking meditation, there are two other kinesthetic (activity based) meditations that you can do - qigong and body scanning meditation.
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