“In order to have peace and joy, you must succeed in having peace within each of your steps. Your steps are the most important thing. They decide everything.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Last week, we explored Movement with Breath as a way to explore mindful movement. I thought to continue this week with an exploration of walking meditation.
Walking meditation can be both a formal practice as well as a simple way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. It is one the most powerful ways to cultivate embodied awareness. It invites you to be present as you walk, to use your steps and movement as a vehicle for mindfulness and for staying present in the moment. It can also be a way to cultivate peace and calm as we move through our world.
You may wish to work with it on it’s own or incorporate it with a sitting meditation practice. You may find you are on your way to work and simply choose to walk mindfully for a few blocks or for the whole trip. Be curious. Explore.
Here is video of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh sharing about Walking Meditation…
Walking Meditation Exploration
Standing with your eyes open with a soft gaze on the floor in front of you, simply focus on your breath and begin to step right and then left, with mindful awareness. If it’s helpful you can label your steps, “stepping right” and “stepping left”. You can explore synchronizing the breath with each step. As you stay present with your steps, notice what is arising in body, mind, emotion and spirit. When you noticed you’ve become distracted or drifted off, simple return your awareness to your next step.
Walking meditation can be done by walking in a circle or by walking back and forth in straight line, pausing when you get to an end point and really taking time to notice as your turn around. In practicing walking back and forth, you can pause at each turn to notice how it feels to shift from movement to stillness and to movement once again. Exploring in this way is something we can inform us so that we might walk and move more mindfully and with greater awareness as we move through our daily lives.
You may wish to incorporate some of what Thich Nhat Hanh shared about taking peaceful steps into your exploration. During our annual, May is For Metta event here on The Heart of Awakening Blog, we explore combining Walking Meditation with Lovingkindness practice. Here is last year’s post if you’d like to explore this practice on Walking Metta Meditation.
Feel free to share your experiences and reflections in the comments below.