An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
The Buddha spoke of four postures for meditation: sitting,
walking, standing, and lying down. Walking meditation is another form of
mindfulness practice that helps us to bring mindfulness into movement and our
activities in the world. If we are blessed the ability to walk (a miracle that
most of us take for granted) then we have many opportunities to practice
mindfulness throughout our day.
Walking meditation can be piggy-backed onto the walking we
already do during our day. You could designate a stretch as mindfulness
practice time and work to bring your attention to now during that walking time
— say from your car to the office, or a particular corridor at work.
Walking meditation can also be done as a formal practice
just as you would do sitting meditation. Pick a spot in your home and walk back
and forth in that spot slowly. You can also circumambulate a room. The goal is
not to get anywhere or to get exercise. The goal is to be fully with the
experience of walking. We can pay attention to the overall experience of
walking or particular sensations that arise during walking like those on the
souls of our feet. Of course, we can also attend to the breath.
On my website exquisitemind.com you will find guided
meditations for slow walking, standing meditation, and standing yoga postures. Click here to listen to the tracks and to download them as .mp3s for your iPod or other device (Note:
you will need QuickTime installed to hear these tracks; if you are on a PC you
will need to right-click on the links at the bottom of the page to save the
files to your computer).
Track 1 contains instructions and an overview on mindful
walking. Tracks 2, 3, & 4 provide guided practice that get successfully
slower in each track. In these practices, the mindful steps are linked to the
breath, and we step with each breath according to the instructions. During
track 4, you will need to take small steps to stay with the instructions.
Remember, we are not trying to get anywhere!
Standing, along with walking, sitting, and lying down is one
of the four orientations to experience mindfulness. Track 5 provides a brief
standing meditation that borrows the image of a mountain to provide a
into daily life and can be done any time we are somewhere waiting where we can
With walking and standing practices we never need be bored
again! We can always practice waiting for a train or standing in line at the
super market. The standing orientation continues in track 6 with a series of
gentle yoga postures that are conducted mindfully. The goal is to be mindful in
movement and to explore the frontiers of our embodied experience. Yoga
practices continue on the next CD.