Walking Meditation

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Listen to this meditation here or read the transcript below. You can also download the mp3 below to listen to it off line when you are outdoors and in motion.



Process & Reflection

Reflection: Stand wherever you are now and reflect on how you are feeling. What is your state of mind? As you look around, are you seeing things any differently? If you are with a friend, share how that experience was for you and how you are feeling now compared to before the meditation. If you are by yourself, take a few minutes to write down your thoughts and feelings about the experience and compare how you felt before and after.

[Download MP3s: Walking Meditation 1 (Purpose), 2 (Preparation) and 3 (Process), or you can use the Transcript text below to guide others.]


                                                                                                                                   Back to Joyality 101
[Transcript Walking Meditation]

The purpose of this meditation is relaxation. It is an opportunity to take time outside our busy lives and focus on a peaceful place. In doing this you get to ground yourself in your body, with your muscles and senses connecting to nature around you. This meditation, unlike typical sitting meditation, is a movement based, walking meditation. So we are focusing not on physical stillness but on maintaining inner stillness within movement. It is a very fun, creative exercise, a bit like tai chi or yoga. It’s based on many different walking meditations from a Buddhist background and other spiritual traditions.

Preparation: Begin by finding yourself a place in nature, preferably a soft grassy place, a park, a garden or a beach. Take your shoes off if it’s safe to do so. A private place is best, but if that’s not possible, it’s okay, just focus on my words. Think of it like a silent disco, it doesn’t matter what people think, what matters is your joy throughout the process.

Process: Start off walking fast, imagine you’re trying to get from one place to another, maybe imagine you’re at school or Uni or in town, doing something very important. You have to get an assignment in, meet someone, or make an appointment- something very important. Walk very quickly, feel that sense of urgency, feel your heart rate building slightly, feel that sense of tension. And then suddenly slow yourself down. Realize where you actually are. Look around you at the beautiful place you have chosen and all the plants and animals that also occupy that space. As you’re walking slowly, take a couple of nice deep breaths and release any tension you were feeling when you were walking fast. As you walk slowly continue to become more aware of where you are. Look around and see what bits and pieces of nature are around you. No matter where you are, you can probably see the sky, so look up at the sky and notice what it looks like. What color is it? Are there clouds? What is the weather like? How warm or cold is it? What other elements of nature can you see around you? Are there trees? Small plants? Grass? Sand? Rocks? Are there animals around? Birds or insects? Squirrels? Other people? Who else is sharing this space with you?

Now as you walk pay more attention to your feet on the ground. What sensations can you feel with your feet? How warm or cold is the ground? Is it wet or dry? Soft or hard? Really feel the earth solidly beneath your feet. Still walking very slowly pay as much attention as you can to every part of your foot as it goes down onto the ground. Keep walking with your attention on the earth, and as you’re doing that start to become aware of the very crown of your head reaching up into the sky. Imagine a string connected to the top of your head reaching up through the clouds towards the sun and out into space. As you’re walking be aware of that sensation of expansiveness and height at the same time as you are feeling your feet walking on the earth.

As a human being, in the way we walk everyday, we are connecting the earth and the sky in this way. You are responding to gravity, being pulled down toward the earth, but your body’s system always knowing which way is up, and is responding to that with incredible balance. Maybe stop walking for a moment and play with gravity where you stand. Rock very gently forwards and backwards, almost tipping but not quite, until you find a midway point that is your point of gravity and stillness. Find that place of rest and recognize that your whole bodily system, your sense of balance, is doing that all the time you are walking. Keep on walking, keeping a sense of ease and balance as you walk.

As you’re walking, feeling balanced and connected to the earth and sky, feel any breeze on your skin. Maybe it’s windy and the feeling is strong, or maybe it’s still and the feeling is subtle. See if you can become aware of the very sensitive sensation of moving through the air, as if you were a fish swimming through water. We move through the air because we are not actually on planet earth, but in planet earth, part of the biosphere and the atmosphere. Feel yourself moving through that atmosphere, feel the sun on your skin, if the sun is out, or feel any rain or moisture that is in the air. Recognize that your whole skin is a sense organ and experience that.

Now bring your attention to your breath. On your next in breath, see what you can smell. As you are walking you may pass many different things, what do they smell like? Can you smell the grass? Flowers? Ocean? Maybe fumes from the town or city? Food smells? Notice each of these smells as you are walking.

Let your walk take you to many different things in nature. Reach out and touch the bark of a tree, softly touch a flower, bend down and put your hands on the earth. Try to feel as many different sensations as you can.

Now start to expand your awareness again as you’re walking. Pay attention to your sight, look around you and see as many different details as you can, all the aspects of nature that surround you, even f they are very, very small. Now soften your gaze, so instead of looking at individual plants, animals or objects, you just have a general sense of seeing. Soften your eyes and imagine having a 360 view; focus on your peripheral vision and imagine you could softly see out the back of your head. Use your sense of hearing to expand your sense of awareness behind you. Keep walking with this expanded awareness.

Realize that you are part of an ecological community. Wherever you are there are other animals- including humans- birds, insects, rodents, and they are all aware of you just as you are aware of them.

As you are walking use your imagination to see how a bird might be watching you, what it might be thinking or what it might be aware of as it looks down upon you. Now expand your imagination even further to imagine that the trees around you can sense you in some way as well, that they are in some way aware of your presence. Finally, as you keep on walking, imagine that the earth can actually feel your steps. With every step you take, imagine the earth can feel your feet on its back. Would that change the way you walk? As you consider this, notice how you are walking, is it any different than normal? Try to walk as slowly and sensitively as you can. Finally, come to a place of stillness.

Reflection: Stand wherever you are now and reflect on how you are feeling. What is your state of mind? As you look around, are you seeing things any differently? If you are with a friend, share how that experience was for you and how you are feeling now compared to before the meditation. If you are by yourself, take a few minutes to write down your thoughts and feelings about the experience and compare how you felt before and after.

                                                                                                                                    Back to Joyality 101

2 Replies to “Walking Meditation”

  1. Thank you for this walking meditation, it made me laugh and cry (a cry longing for deeper connection and laugh of joy as I recognise the deep connection I inherently have, if I simply give time, space and breath to it/ me.)
    Infinite gratitude


  2. I was so unconsciously unaware of my surroundings before doing this meditation. There was lots of planning going on for next week. However , when starting this mediation I very much became blissfully aware and mindful of my space. The feeling of sun on my skin, then a brisk breeze and then the rain, all with minutes of each other. Then really hard rain. I was soaked and loved the feeling of the elements on my body. I felt the connectedness to the earth. I felt very present, content with a deep heart sense of joy.


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