Adventures in Meditation- Mindful Walking

 

 

photo 5
An alley

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” 
― Thích Nhất HạnhPeace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

 

These days meditation is at the forefront of my life. Being still has brought a sense of peace and helped ‘unstick’ some stuck places.

While I’m a lot more comfortable with the idea of quieting the mind stuff, I couldn’t help but wonder how to find ways to still my mind as I’m living life. The benefits of mediation of yoga are amazing. How could I be more mindful while doing day-to-day activities?

For example I can’t tell you how many times I commutes home from work careening down the NJ Turnpike at 80 mph only to arrive at the parking garage with no recollection of any of it. Yikes.

Even now, I walk from point A to point B without remembering the journey.

Why?

I’m distracted by an outside force like a phone or by an inside distraction like my wandering mind. Lately though, I’ve embraced the idea of meditating while while in transit. Some call it mindful walking. Buddhism says that by being mindful we create a foundation of well-being and happiness.

Yesterday afternoon, I grabbed Dakota and headed out into my neighborhood. I didn’t have a destination, just a desire to stay in the moment.

Five things that helped me during my mindful walk:

  1. Posture.  Standing tall I closed my eyes and mentally scanned my body to see if I was holding onto tightly in certain areas and made a conscious effort to let go.
  2. Breathing. Before I started walking in took deep inhales and exhales. As I began my walk I tried to pay attention to how I was breathing.
  3. Intention. Setting an intention was helpful. It allowed me to create a shape to the practice without feeling like a test.
  4. Attention. Before walking I noticed the ground under my feet. As I moved I directed my thoughts to how my heel connected with the sidewalk. It felt like cat/cow, I observed my foot touching the ground and felt the moment just when it lifted off the ground.
  5. Acceptance. Once I was moving I noticed the breeze on my face and the hang of my jacket on my shoulders. I acknowledged smells, sounds and sights.

 

Are there ways that you meditate while in motion? Mindful cycling in next on my list.

 

Namaste y’all.

 

Below are pics of a few discoveries.

 

green window
A window pops out- unexpected

 

photo 3-2
Kasa Buddha a local business

 

photo-26
I never knew that part of the East Coast Greenway was a block away

 

photo 4
Dakota looks down an alley
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2 thoughts on “Adventures in Meditation- Mindful Walking

  1. This is an excellent series on meditation, Oneika. Try this one – Do all that you said and add this: As you walk, soften the gaze. Soften into your peripheral vision. This is a way of not locking on and getting interested (distracted) in the things you see. No looking in shop windows; no checking out other pedestrians, etc. Keep the gaze wide, relaxed and impersonal. You’ll be aware of everything, but not distracted by it. To cross streets you’ll need to sharpen up, and as soon as you are safely on the other side, soften back into it. I’ve used this as a walking meditation on busy sidewalks. I based it on something I saw one night many years ago in Japan. (That’s another story.) Really nice teaching here, Oneika. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Bharat! I’ll have to add that to my next walk. I’m really enjoying my meditation practice. It’s a way to calmly increase my awareness. I’m used to (addicted to) that fire in the belly to make me aware- so this is all new. It’s good to know you think it may be helpful for folks- it sure is for me. Doing a little research on mindful biking before I head to my asana practice.

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