As the last of winter's snow falls and the bitterly cold wind begins to slowly soften, we long to get out of doors and feel and see the newness of spring. Everywhere are signs of rebirth and the continuation of the cycles of life itself. What better time to begin our soul's spring cleaning and make room for our own rejuvenation? This is the perfect time for a walking meditation. Take to the streets, the woods, park or a stroll along the river or lake and enjoy the beauty of the season. Spring rains keeping you in? This meditation can even be done throughout your home, around a room or even as a group in a large centre.
Many find walking easier to do than sitting, especially when they first begin to meditate. It is a wonderful way to introduce all your senses to the sights, sounds and smells around you. When was the last time you stood or sat outside and with your eyes shut and then really listened and identified all the sounds? You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you actually take in but equally amazed at how little you really acknowledge in your busy and hectic life. The great thing about this type of meditation is there is no special equipment necessary, only your willingness to get out there and allow your intuition to guide you, your senses to awaken and your soul to become one with nature and the Universe. This exercise can be done during the day or under the stars and moon. Try both and see what a difference it makes in your stillness. As with all meditation practices, do try this more than once to truly experience its benefits. Soon you will find that each time you head out for a walk, you will be open to receive all that the Universe has to show you, one step at a time!
Walking Meditation Tips:
- Purpose is to wander slowly enjoying the journey rather than your eyes and mind set on the destination.
- Allow yourself to be guided to touch a plant, hold a rock, hug a tree, sit near the water. Can be done outside or indoors but being one with nature multiplies the experience a hundred fold.
- Begin by walking at a fast pace, slowly down and finding that comfortable gait just above the spot where you feel you could lose your balance if you were to walk any slower.
- Place your attention on your breathing. Whenever possible it should be from your diaphragm. As you walk slower, your breath will become slower as well. Once breath and walking have slipped into a regular pattern you may wish to count your steps per inhalation. With some practice you will find you are able to adjust your steps to 2-4 per inhalation and the same per exhalation. You will discover once this rhythm is set your breathing and pace will go hand in hand naturally, with no effort. After a while you may increase the number of steps but keep your breathing comfortable.
- Imagine that you can “smile” with your eyes. Take time to look around you, taking in everything without really focusing on anything. As you do this, image every cell of your body is absorbing this beauty, relaxation and happiness.
- Give gratitude as you walk for the colours, the sounds, smells and the mere experience of being able to be in this place at this moment in time.
- Walk in silence..no iPod or conversation internally or externally. Just allow your mind to absorb everything around you. It is during this time that you “listen” and really “hear” the sounds around you. How many can you distinguish?
- Make it your true intention that each step is one of learning, gratitude and grace, leaving behind a footprint filled with the energy of love and peace.
- If you are desiring to release negative energies from your body (physical, mental or spiritual) you may wish to stop and visualize these leaving you and being absorbed by the earth to be purified. Feel your body drawing up the positive life force of the earth - a form of cleansing . Do this with every breath and soon you will feel yourself becoming lighter.
- Should you be near water, you may wish to wade into the water just enough to feel the water flow around you feet. You can image the water washing away any negative feeling and leaving you feeling cleansed and purified. If you are lucky enough to be by a waterfall or dam, sit with eyes closed and listen the the continuous flow of water. Allow your body to absorb all the negative ions which will cleanse and purify you.
Above all, remember to be in the moment of the walking meditation. Take this time to connect with the beauty of nature, the vastness of the universe and your own oneness with the Divine. There is no right or wrong way of doing this rather the main purpose is to allow yourself the time and experience to be one with all and all with you.