Since The Buddha praises walking Meditation in one specific discourse (Cankama Sutta – The Discourse on Walking): “Monks, there are these five benefits of walking up & down. What five? One is fit for long journeys; one is fit for striving; one has little disease; that which is eaten, drunk, chewed, tasted, goes through proper digestion; the composure attained by walking up & down is long-lasting. These, monks, are the five benefits of walking up & down.”
Practicing walking meditation is a great support for the cultivation of Samadhi. Our health declines because we sit a lot – holding the body still for long times is not very healthy. Walking meditation is a fun way of training the mind and often considered easy for beginners. You should train walking meditation (or swimming-, eating-, standing meditation etc.) in between seated sessions. It’s really easy to learn and leads to great results when done purposefully and correctly.
Walking Meditation Step 1 – Settling Down
Stand at the beginning of your chosen path and simply feel the body as it stands there for a few moments. Notice if there is any tension or distraction. Lower your eyes and look at the floor roughly two meters ahead of you. That’s so you don’t step onto animals or fall down as you walk. It also helps you to remain undisturbed by stuff around you – so it’s important.
Take a few deep breaths and relax your body when you breathe out. If you encounter any unnecessary form of tension, let go while you exhale. Allow your tension to flow into the ground like thick, heavy oil which is leaving your body through the soles of your feet. Adjust your attitude if necessary – receive yourself with kindness and a smile. Be gentle with yourself.
Walking Meditation Step 2 – Present Moment Awareness
Then start walking back and forth or around an area you found suitable. Make sure that your path goes either back and forth or around a simple circle. Your attention should go to your feet. Feel as your feet are touching the ground. Not more, not less. Just notice that your feet touch the ground as you walk in a natural way.
Don’t try to walk specifically slow or fast. Be natural about it. Walk the same way you usually do – it has to be something you can do anytime when you walk anywhere in the world. As you do this you will notice that you are arriving with every step. Since you are abandoning past and future you are neither walking for the sake of getting anywhere, nor are you coming from anywhere. Walking itself becomes the purpose of walking.
Walking Meditation Step 3 – Silent Present Moment Awareness
Feel your feet touching the ground with every step. Abandon every commentary and all forms of internal verbalization. Let go of words and just feel the steps directly. As a result your mind will become calm and radiant much like the calm surface of a forest pond in the absence of wind.
Walking up and down without thoughts is also the basic everyday-practice. Silent Present Moment Awareness is the standard state for spiritual practitioners and we should maintain it at all times. Not to worry if you can’t do this yet – consistent practice causes the skill. All we need to do is divert our attention away from verbalization and become more interested in the silent gaps.
Walking Meditation Step 4 – Clear Attention
Finally increase the power of your mindfulness and feel every minute detail of every step. Notice as the toes and heels hit the ground, as you lift the feet and shift the balance from one foot to the other. Loose yourself in the details until a pure sensation of joy arises with every step. Consequently you are completely carefree and there’s a beautiful happiness within the simplicity of walking.
This is naturally arising out of the previous step. Once our mindfulness and inner silence deepens enough, clarity will be more easy to maintain continuously. As everything in life, it needs consistency and practice.
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