Walking Meditations (Praxis)

April 8, 2008

This meditation has several forms.  They are not levels in the sense that the work meditation has three phases – one to be practiced after another. These meditations may be done in any order.

 

Buddhists practiced walking meditations in monastery courtyard. Their method was an extension of the work meditation: By concentrating on the feet, they became absorbed in the task of walking. We can practice in the same way whenever we are walking, but the environment will not be as calm as a monastery. It is possible to make an advantage out of distractions, and that is done in these variations.

 

ONE

 

When we practice on a road or street, we can use the environment as a focus for meditation.  Any of the senses can be used. In the first form, focus your attention on what you see. In daylight hours, avoid commercial areas where signs may trigger roof-brain chatter. Start by saying to yourself, “I am doing the walking meditation.”  Put your focus on seeing as much as you can. Don’t try to fight distracting thoughts. Note them; say to yourself, “I am continuing this walking meditation,” and go back to observing.  When you finish your walk, say, “This is the end of the walking meditation.

 

TWO

 

Focus on everything you hear. Start and end each of these meditations as described above, handling distracting thoughts in the same way.

 

THREE

 

Focus on your physical feelings: the breeze on your face, the sun on your skin, your clothes rubbing against your skin, the ground beneath your feet.

 

FOUR

 

Focus on the odors in your environment. Do this in a park, garden, or woods

 

These meditations use four of the five senses. Next week I’ll present a meditation that focuses on taste.

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