Meditation comes in many forms in many cultures. Some cultures perform a meditation while counting off beads on a cord. Others form meditation while staring at a flickering candle. One of the most widespread forms of meditation, practiced around the globe, is a walking meditation.
What Is a Walking Meditation?
A walking meditation is a meditation which is done while in motion. The term ‘walking’ simply means you are moving. If you travel in a wheelchair, you can do a rolling meditation. It is all the same thing.
The focus in this meditation is the act of moving. For walking, that would involve the contact with the foot to the Earth.
Where Can You Do a Walking Meditation?
The beauty of a walking meditation is that it can be done just about anywhere. You can go to a custom-designed labyrinth or spiral. You can go to a local park or nature preserve. You can go to an enclosed mall during their quiet hours. You can go to a museum or public building. You can even walk around a home or a room. It doesn’t matter in the end where you are while you do this. It only matters that you do it.
How To Do a Walking Meditation
To prepare, make sure you choose comfortable, loose clothing for the location you’re going to walk in. It it’s outdoors, consider dressing in layers to account for weather changes. If you’re indoors, consider walking barefoot so you can more closely pay attention to the motions. Always move in a way which is safe for your health situation.
Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Balance yourself evenly on your feet. Let your hands hang loose at your sides. Lift the crown of your head up.
Breathe in, filling your upper chest, mid chest, and lower abdomen. Let your abdomen fill out and expand. Feel that fresh, healing oxygen draw into you.
Now press it out, out, releasing it, expelling it, letting free all the toxins and waste. Those are what the plants need to grow. You are done with them. Free yourself of them.
Breathe in, deeper, fuller, enriching the cycle. Draw yourself in to the breaths.
When you are ready, begin your first step.
Reach out slowly, but with balance, to place your heel down on the ground before you. Sense as your body rolls forward onto the arch, and then the ball. Your weight automatically shifts to the other side. Let the other foot come forward and note how the first foot is releasing while the second foot is claiming its place on the Earth. Again think about heel, arch, ball, toe, as the first foot comes forward again.
This is the cycle of life. The yin and yang. The give and take. Life has its moments and waves, everything in its turn. Everything changes and grows and diminishes. Doors are opening and closing and opening again.
Let the feet move. Let them carry you. Let them connect you with this one Earth we all share.
Thoughts will drift in. It’s what thoughts do. They flit and spin. Acknowledge they are there without judgement. They are a part of life. Then remove your attention from them and let them drift on. Return your attention to your step. To the heel. The arch.
Another thought will come in. Be compassionately gentle with yourself. Be non-judgmental. Thoughts come and go. Let them go. Let them drift on with loving kindness. Return your focus to your step. To your connection with all other life.
When you are done with your walk, stand still and draw in deep, cleansing breaths. Give yourself gratitude for engaging in this practice. Savor the moments. Know that every moment is simply a step in the full journey with which we have been blessed.