On my walk today guidance seemed to suggest that I create a blog posting regarding the Art of the Walking Meditation. As I considered this suggestion, I was flooded with guidance’s suggestion on what to include in this posting. Since I have learned to “Just Say Yes” to my guidance, I am complying. And, walking is a great way to meditate, to become more “present,” to take positive time for yourself, and to exercise. Consider these reminders of wisdom you are already familiar with. (This wisdom is built into your DNA and your Soul.)
Eyes open meditation can fall into the philosophy of Zen meditation which tends to encourage being a part of the world rather than closing your eyes to purely focus within. ZaZen walking meditation has been described to me as eyes open, slow moving, conscious of the world, as a meditation. Breathe slowly. Walk slower than your normal pace. Feel your heel land in front of you and then roll forward on to your toes. And, repeat. If you can do so safely, “soft focus” your eyes. Enjoy each slow breath and each relaxed step. Focus upon the footsteps and your breath. In the beginning, just try 50 steps in this conscious way. Doing this in the safety of nature with less traffic and distractions from manmade chaos can help with this meditation. However, even trying this as you walk back from your lunch to work or school or home activities can make your day move more comfortably with less internal distractions. You may want to remember to turn off your phone calls, texting and social media signals.
Walking consciously out in a natural setting is meditative. In the trees, by water, on trails vs pavement, in the sunshine or in a gentle rain are all positive additions. Avoiding traffic, human dramas, loud construction projects, airplanes, warfare, and screaming politicians or rock music may also seem obvious and will enhance a more meditative state of mind. (Though bears, some dogs, venomous snakes, large crashing waves, cougars and falling trees might also pose a distraction to avoid in nature. Just saying the obvious.) You get the point. Mellow in nature is better. Walking a bit more slowly, breathing, and gently gazing at the miracles which our world can provide can make this a great “forest bathing” experience. Allowing for time and possibly fewer pressing appointments on either side of this nature walk would be a helpful consideration if possible. AND, remember to breathe… Slowly and fully.
Additions might include, feeling the warmth of the sun, listening to the stream/river/waves, feeling the gentle breezes, and even smelling the fragrance of the salt air or grasses or flowers or the trees. I like to imagine that I can breathe in the warm sunlight or soak up the warm breezes to better help heal and to recharge me as I slowly drift down (or up) the path. There are times and places when walking with someone else for safety or guidance can be good. And, there are times when walking alone without extra conversation can be most relaxing. The bottom line is to be as “present” in the moment as you gently move through this nature loving walk. You may want to pick up an interesting rock to hold and possibly to help “ground” you as you connect most peacefully with nature. (Sometimes I even hug a tree to ground myself out. Are you laughing? Well consider trying this weird 1960’s consciousness. YOU may like it.)
Sure, most of you have done this and know how to walk in meditation in nature BUT do you schedule the time in your busy, drama filled lives to participate in these meditative walks??? Well, Just Do It!
Be open to surprises and the gifts the Divine Spirit will provide for you. If you walk with the “Beginner’s Mind” the beauty will unfold just for your heart to dance in the light of spectacular marvels and amazing revelations. If you ask respectfully for these, they will show up. Maybe in the clouds. Maybe the leaves dancing in the breezes. Perhaps the songs of the birds or the chatter of the squirrels. Perhaps the appearance of the butterfly or the hummingbird will symbolize guidance reaching out to embrace you. Be open and the delights of natures will present themselves for you and fan the flames of the brightening light of your consciousness. As you are a small part of this large Universe, you might even consider the amazing things which have occurred to create this beautiful blue planet and all the life forms which share it with you.
And. Walking in wonder with Beginners Mind, even in the city, can show you amazing miracles to appreciate and to show gratitude for. Every miracle you acknowledge is another important, and beautiful, lesson for you.
There is Joy to found in every moment and in every step you take. Please consider the search for the Joy and the miracles which surround us.
You are Amazing!