In a walking meditation, you walk like a free person. Free from the past. Free from the future. It is an act of revolution. Thich Nhat Hanh
Walk meditations are hard for me. I always have a destination and/or a goal. I am a fast walker who thinks about a million things while walking. To think about taking a walk with no destination, with no rush to get somewhere, and mindfully engaging in the present moment is quite a huge task for me.
I watched two YouTube videos where Thich Nhat Hanh explained the reason for doing walking meditations. You can view one of those at the bottom of this post. First, let me explain what a walking meditation is and how to do a walking meditation.
A walking meditation is a meditation where your attention is on the senses. You do not have a destination in mind and you do not set a pace to keep. You just set out to walk, slowly, absorbing all that you feel, hear, smell, and see. You begin by taking a step and noticing the sensations in the feet. You may stay with this mindfulness practice the entire time or you may draw your attention to notice all the different things you hear or smell. You may stop to delight in the beauty of something you see. Simple instructions that take a life time to practice…at least for me!
After I watched the videos, I set out on a walking meditation. I realized quickly that walking slower and mindfully was hard for me. Instead of beating myself up about why I could not do a walking meditation, I switched my focus from my feet to all the things I could hear. I found this challenging, but not in a way that made me feel badly about myself. Instead, I became curious about why I am more visually stimulated than auditorily stimulated. I stopped once to delight in the light sparkling through the trees. This walk was a more enjoyable walk than my exercise walks where I move as fast as my little legs will go and make a 3 mile circle around my house!!
Here is what inspired me to try the walking meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh:
*Each step brings you to the present moment
*With each step you make contact with Mother Earth and leave an offering of yourself. Walk happy, leave an imprint of happy. Walk in peace, feel your peace sink into Mother Earth.
*Each step is an arrival in the Kingdom of God. So, we can say, “I have arrived.” We can say, “I am home.”
*The walking meditation can be used to feel your arrival in the Kingdom of God. Take one step and do not take another until you feel in your body, mind and spirit that you have totally arrived.
Jesus used the words, “Kingdom of God,” to talk about what it is like for people to live on earth as God’s chosen people. The walking meditation gives me a way to experience the Kingdom of God with my body. To sense that I have fully arrived in God’s Kingdom. To offer myself to the Kingdom of God through the happy and peaceful steps of my feet knowing that each step makes a difference in God’s Kingdom. What better way to feel, “I have arrived,” to experience, “I am home.”
Try is for yourself! Let me know what you experience.