A Guide to Walking Meditation Practice

There. are many different ways to practice walking mediation. The following suggestions are from Sarah Bowen Shea and may not work best for everyone. There are additional resources available, from books and online articles to classes and retreats.

For those who have a hard time sitting still, this active form of meditation is ideal.

 

How to practice walking meditation:

 

  • In your yard or living room, find a clear space and designate a begining and an end point, at least 20 paces apart. Let your arms hang loose, and clasp your hands lightly in front of you; direct your gaze slightly forward and down.

 

  • As slowly as possible, start walking from your starting point to your end point. Each step should take five to ten seconds to articulate. It will be hard to balance at first. As you walk, focus your attention on your footfalls. Once you reached your end point, turn around and return to the starting point. "Have patience with your self, " says Ann Pardo, a meditation instructor and the director of behavioral health at Canyon Ranch Healthy Resort, in Tuscon. "If you have three steady footfalls, applaud yourself- this is difficult to master".

 

  • Aim to walk-meditate for at least 20 minutes to give your brain time to slow down, says Pardo.

 

Peace of Mind, by Sarah Bowen Shea

"The wisdom we bring home is completely unexpected"
- Picco Iyer
 

Love Letter to the Earth by Tich Nhat Hanh

 

Dear Mother, there are those of us who walk on Earth but still wish to seek a Promised Land elsewhere, not knowing that you are the wondrous Pure Land, present in this moment. They are not able to see that the Kingdom of Heaven exists in their own hearts. They are not able to see that if their minds are calm and peaceful, then the very ground they are walking on becomes the Pure Land. We are able to play and enjoy this Pure Land day and night thanks to that insight, thanks to the practice of dwelling peacefully with mindfulness in the here and now. We have the Kingdom here and are no longer searching for it elsewhere. You have the capacity to carry us hundreds of millions of years into the future, after which you may manifest as another planet and we as other wonderful forms on you.

 

Respected Mother, you have children who are proud of themselves as brilliant mathematicians, skilled artisans, gifted architects, but few are able to see that you are the greatest mathematician, the most accomplished artisan, and the most talented architect. We only need to look at a branch of cherry blossoms, the shell of a snail, or the wing of a bat to see this truth. We have talented artists, but how can our paintings be compared to the works of art that you reveal to us in the four seasons? How can we paint such compelling dawns or create such radiant dusks. Our musicians are geniuses, but how can our songs measure up to your wondrous orchestra of Earth and sky, or the magnificent sound of the rising tide? We have brave soldiers, knights, and heroes who have endured extreme heat and cold and traversed mountains and rivers, but how many of us have your patience and capacity to embrace? We have great love stories, but who among us has your immense love that includes all beings with out discrimination?

 

Adapted from Love Letter to the Earth by Tich Nhat Hanh 2013. Read more here.

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