Walking is a moving meditation. As we walk, we empty, heal and recharge ourselves. It also makes us happier. Though we may complain about circumstances in our lives, once we have taken a walk around the neighborhood park, we once again feel hopeful… life is worth living! When we take a long walk in nature, we regain the peaceful feeling that we are part of something grand and everlasting.
When you walk, feel your breath and follow your breathing. It is best to breathe deeply through your lower abdomen. Inhaling through your nose, feel your lower abdomen gently expanding. Then exhale a long thin breath through your mouth. Feel your lower abdomen gently deflating. As you inhale, imagine that serenity and calmness are entering your body, and as you exhale, imagine stress and anxiety are leaving your body. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with this breathing practice. Just focus on the sensation of breathing as air enters through your nose and exits through your mouth.
Walk with your heart focused. Mobilize all of your senses and absorb the things you see and hear. Imagine that the beautiful scenery in front of you is part of a picture. Imagine that you are walking into the picture. Your breathing will naturally become deeper and your steps will be slower. Be aware of each step. Try to walk slowly enough so that you can feel each side of your body as it moves and notice how your body’s center shifts whenever you put one foot in front of the other.
As you walk, look at your surroundings without focusing your eyes. Do not fix your glance on a particular object, but feel the entire scene in which you are walking. Then, you will feel the fresh vitality that nature exudes. Fragrance, color, light, touch, sound… all come to us simultaneously. If you are walking in a forest, you will see and feel sunbeams shooting through the leaves to the ground. Tiny dust motes float in the sunshine, birds sing various tones and melodies, and the sound of water accompanies the chorus, music in the background. You will feel the firm or soft ground through your soles…. As you walk, try to truly feel all of these things.
It is Ok if thoughts and feelings interfere. Do not judge them. Instead, quietly return to your breathing. Although thoughts continuously arise in your mind, remain aware of your breathing. Paying attention to your breathing allows you to focus inside, and on the present moment. While walking, try to observe energy sensations in your body, your thoughts and the things you see and hear. If you can feel energy, focus on those sensations throughout your entire body.
As you walk, try imagining that you are outside of your body, watching yourself from up above. Then, you can step very lightly as if you were walking on clouds. Just as you control a television with a remote control device, you can modulate your walking with your energy. Once you become familiar with the energy sensation while walking, you can transfer that sensation to your daily life. By feeling energy encircling your whole body as you drink tea, perform chores or converse with another person, you are learning how to exist in the moment.
If you find it difficult to focus on breathing and energy while walking, then just walk. Walking will guide you to natural breathing. It will also help you see and hear the things around you with appreciation and wonder. If you find it difficult to calmly observe rising and disappearing thoughts, then allow yourself to be absorbed in the thoughts wherever they take you. While walking, you can resolve emotions that are like a tangled skein of yarn. Think about the job you are working on, or think about friends or family members with whom there is difficulty over trivial matters.