Today I’m going to walk you through — no pun intended — a basic walking meditation session. The first thing you’re going to have to do is find a place where you can walk around freely for about 20 minutes without a great deal of distractions. Some good places to look for might be a quiet neighborhood, a park, or any other open area where there’s not a lot going on.
Now that you’ve found your perfect setting, the first thing to do is simply stand up. Yes, that’s right, just stand up and stay where you are. Before you begin walking, I want you to just become aware of yourself standing — feel the weight of your foot pressing on the ground; feel your muscles slightly shift and alter in order to maintain balance; notice what your hands are doing, if they’re doing anything at all.
Begin walking as you normally would. Do not try to walk slow or fast, or in any particular manner. Just walk as you always do.
Now that you have taken your first few steps, start to pay attention to yourself. Start by observing the way the soles of your feet feel. Concentrate only on the soles of your feet. Notice as much as you can about how your foot moves across the ground.
Gradually shift your focus up your body as your walk progresses. Move your attention from your soles up to your ankles. Then move from your ankles up to your calves, then your knees, then your thighs, then hips, and so… Continue to do this very slowly until you reach your face.
Keep in mind, as you are doing this exercise you are going to have to devote some of your attention to what’s going on around you so you don’t trip or bump into someone or something, but just try not to get too wrapped up into anything else that is happening around you. The best thing to do is to keep your eyes focused straight ahead of you, but not focused on or looking at anything in particular.
Next week I will talk more about the different levels of observation that can be made while practicing walking meditation.
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