Working with a Walking Meditation is another form of meditation that allows you to move and expend some personal energy while you meditate. Yet, unlike a Moving Meditation, you are mindfully walking and simply being aware of your surroundings. You don’t even have to set aside special time to do it.
Walking Meditation can fit into small gaps of time, such as when you are walking from your car to the office. But, you might find it to be relaxing when you are walking your dog, shopping in the supermarket, browsing in the mall, or while walking anywhere where you have a minute or two to spare. Initially, you might want to work with a Walking Meditation in an open space where you will be able to walk easily and freely for several minutes without encountering obstacles, many people or heavy traffic.
Of course, you don’t close your eyes in a Walking Meditation. You will simply be aware of your surroundings. In Walking Meditation you use the experience of walking as your initial focus. Just being aware of your walking can be a helpful first step. The next step for you, will be to bring a your focus to your body. When you are walking you can be aware of how the ground feels under your feet. You can also also focus on the movement of your hips, arms and legs. Are you moving fast or slow? Can you slow down, or speed up? Are you walking with other people? How do you feel while you are walking? Is your mind at ease, or is it racing? What thoughts, emotions, or sensations come up while you are walking?
You might find that it seems easier to work with a Walking Meditation, when you are feeling stressed or uneasy. It can quickly help you to be more aware of yourself and your needs. For instance, you might have been working all day and not eaten anything. While working with a Walking Meditation, you might realize that you are hungry and that you have been skipping meals at work for a period of time.
During a Walking Meditation, you will have to be alert and aware of the outside world. What is present as you walk? What is the weather like? Is it raining or sunny? Is it hot or cold? How does the air feel on your skin? What are the people that you are passing doing? What sounds do you hear? All of these questions become important points to focus on.
Walking Meditations can be powerful experiences. In some cases, your awareness might help you to see things that you would not have noticed otherwise. Perhaps, you might see details that you had never observed before. It might even be possible, with your eyes open, to experience a waking dream, in which an event that you experience seems almost surrealistic.
Walking Meditation can be especially effective for you when you find that you just cannot sit still long enough to work with a sitting meditation. You may wish to read “Peace Is Every Step” for further assistance with working with this type of meditation.
Follow these steps, to work with a Walking Meditation:
Find a safe place to walk in. This is very important. You want to make sure that you have adequate space and safety.
Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing. Your regular gym clothes would work great here. But, sometimes you may be wearing your office attire or other clothing. When not wearing loose fitting clothing, you’ll have to be more aware of your range of motion and fluidity.
As you walk be aware of your breath. Allow your breathing pattern to settle into a regular and rhythmic pattern.
Be aware of your body as you walk.
When you are ready you can extend your awareness out into the world around you. What do you see? What do you smell, feel and hear? How do you feel?
As you continue to walk make sure that aware enough in your surroundings so that you do not get lost, don’t trip or fall. Also make sure that you don’t walk into people, obstacles or cars. Don’t hurt yourself when you are walking, just to continue walking. When it seems dangerous, then stop.
Stop walking when you get where you are going, you are too tired, you’ve had enough, or it feels like you might experience physical harm if you continue.