This Friday, I am hoping to inspire you to try the practice of walking meditation. Or if you wish to call it mindful walking. If you are the type who claims for themselves that that they can’t possibly sit calmly in one place longer than three minutes at the time, then walking meditation can be a wonderful place to start your meditation practice.
"The earth is so beautiful. We are beautiful also. We can allow ourselves to walk mindfully, touching the earth, our wonderful mother, with each step. We don’t need to wish our friends, “Peace be with you.” Peace is already with them. We only need to help them cultivate the habit of touching peace in each moment."
Thich Nhat Hanh
The most important thing to understand is that your walk has no other purpose, no ending goal, other than being aware of the joy of mindful movement.
As you are actually not going anywhere, there is no place for rush or impatience in your steps. Go slowly, as slowly as possible. Dedicate at least 15 - 20 minutes to your practice.
Start by becoming aware of your feet moving. Left foot lifting, right foot touching the ground. Right foot lifting, left foot touching the ground.
Notice the transfer of your body weight, first the heel touches the ground, then the rest of the foot rolls down following it. Same with lifting – the heel lifts first, leaving the body weight on the balls of your foot and the toes are the one to make the last contact.
Doing a walking meditation barefoot is a whole different experience – so many different changing sensations to experience at the soles of our feet. So many subtleties! You can place your attention only at one part of your foot, or you can let it glide from heels, to arches, to toes and back. Examine the ground with the soles of your feet. Notice the different sensations as you the surface on which you are walking changes. Notice the change of sensations even when you are stepping on the same surface! That is the nature of everything - it changes, no matter what. Observe this change at the soles of your feet.
Don’t let the moments of the first and last contact of your foot with the ground get unnoticed. Focus on the point where your heel first touches the ground lightly, with almost no body weight… then the point of contact getting bigger and bigger, until that millisecond when your entire foot is firmly on the ground. Try to catch that moment, to be fully aware of it, and then the next moment in which your body weight goes onto your feet balls before your toes leave the ground.
Imagine that you are watching a slow-motion video of your feet touching the ground, appreciating its stability with every step.
Let your mind completely rest on your feet. If thought come, acknowledge them and let them pass. Do not entertain them. Go back to the simple movement of your feet.
Go back to the simple joy of every step.
P.S. For an inspiring read about walking meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh, follow the link below: