How To Add Meditation To Your Daily Walk
Do you find yourself trying to squeeze in some meditation to your busy life? I used to think that the only way you could meditate was if you were sitting in complete silence in a meditative position. Needless to say, I could never find time to add meditation to my busy schedule.
I often walk to a nearby park. I have come to appreciate these walks because I don’t text or talk on the phone. It is a true personal time. I find walking an extremely meditative activity, so it got me thinking.
How about meditation on the move?
Walking meditation can be an excellent alternative to sitting meditation. Meditation increases your awareness and connection with the spiritual aspects of the self, and this can be experienced through movement as well as stillness.
Walking meditation encourages you to bring your full attention to your body as you focus on each step. Your eyes are open in walking meditation; this makes you aware of the world around you and encourages you to look at your surroundings, absorbing the smallest details.
You should do some walking each day, as you can use this time to gain a great deal of insight into yourself along the way. You are utilizing the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of yourself during moving meditation instead of releasing attachment to them as with sitting meditation. This type of meditation requires you to pay attention to your surroundings, while also focusing on your inner stillness. This sounds easy at first, but it takes some practice, as you may find that your attention is constantly being drawn outward.
Walking in a big city can have many distractions and demand attention, similarly, in the countryside or at a park, a pretty flower can pull your concentration away from yourself. Aim to interact with your environment as part of yourself, without becoming caught up in external attractions.
Moving meditation is very different from the other types of meditations you might have tried so far, don’t feel discouraged if it takes you a few tries to get the hang of it.
These are some tips on how to start your meditation on the move:
Choose your place
Initially it might be easier to choose somewhere quiet, such as the countryside or a park, where there are fewer distractions. Eventually you can progress to somewhere busier, once you feel more able to maintain your focus and mental concentration.
Stand in Stillness
Before you begin your moving meditation, stand very still. Feel your feet planted firmly on the ground, carrying your body weight. Take a few deep breaths before walking.
Pay full attention to the act of moving one foot in front of the other. Concentrate on what your body is doing. Feel how your heel is lifted then brought down to touch the ground, followed by a rolling movement as the ball of your foot follows and your toes complete the motion. Feel the sensation of your foot being lifted into the air, only to repeat its movement.
Concentrate on sensation
Consider the sensations you are experiencing. The movement of your ankles, the feeling of your shoes and socks (if you are wearing any) and the ground beneath your feet. Feel the shifting of your body, the movement of your calves, thighs, hips, back, shoulders, arms, and head. Feel your surroundings, without focusing attention on them, as though they were an extension of yourself.
Watch your breathing
Feel how your breath rises and falls with each step, and how your movements and breath take on a rhythm.
Come to a natural stop, and stand quietly, feeling an acute awareness of your body. Imagine roots traveling from your feet, deep into the earth.
Go out now, give it a try. Feel your connection with the earth and with your body. Feel your own place in the world.