Today I’d like you to take a walk. You can wander or start with a destination or route in mind. It’s really up to you.
The important thing is that you take this walk with a meditative state of mind.
I invite you to walk slower than you normally might, and combine this slower walk with paying attention to your breathing. I for one walk at a breakneck speed when I know where I’m going – zoom!
So slow down.
The slower pace should enhance your awareness of how your body works as you walk. Are your joints relaxed? Do you clench your jaw and neck muscles as you walk?
A true walking meditation slows you down almost to crawl – even slower than a crawl, so it’s not really practical when you’re walking sidewalks. But in the privacy of your own home or backyard, try this: slow down until you can break the walk down into micro-movements and micro-observations.
- Start by simply standing and feeling the balls of your feet touching the ground, and your weight centered in your belly. Check for tension and let it go.
- Begin lifting your right foot. Do this slowly enough so that you observe what complicated procedures your hips, legs, and foot do to make this “simple” thing happen. Your weight shifts to your left hip. Feel the right foot lift and prepare to step.
- Keep focusing on the many movements that combine to make this one movement happen.
- Set the heel of the right foot down, and pause.
- Continue stepping. Feel how the entire left leg tightens to push the body weight forward.
- Push off with that left foot, and carry it forward.
Do this type of micro-movement enough, and you will become very aware of all of your movements. You can do this while standing or reaching, twisting or turning. Probably better that you don’t do this on a crowded busy sidewalk.
So today, go for a walk. It can be a quick trip around the block, a journey up and down the aisles at the grocery store, or several steps of micro-movement walking. Regardless, really pay attention to the entire experience. And breathe.
If you’re like me and getting ready for winter, you’ll be mindfully walking behind the lawnmower. Chanting Om mani padme hum silently helps, too. (See how I did that? You can combine techniques!)
For a full list of associated posts, click here.