Walking meditation is a meditation in action. It is an ancient form of meditation which was practiced by Buddha himself. It has some similarity with casual walks but instead of just taking ordinary paces to your point of destination, you have to be conscious of what’s going on inside and around you. When you are engaged in a walking meditation, you have to be aware of the sensations that you get when you walk and you need to be mindful of your walking experience and let it fill you with calm insight.
To enjoy the benefits of walking meditation, your first task is to know the stages involved in it. These are:
Begin your meditation by simply standing still. Be aware of your breathing and notice the weight that is transferred from the soles of your feet into the ground. Be conscious of the efforts that you make in order to maintain your balance.
Start to walk in a slow but normal pace. Just walk the way you normally do, except that you need to be aware of your breathing and movements.
3. Awareness of your Body
Focus on the soles of your feet and be aware of their alternating patterns of contact and release right from the point when your heel touches the ground until you lift your foot into the air to make another step. You should also be aware of how your feet feel inside your shoes. Let them be as relaxed as you can.
From the soles of your feet, you expand your awareness to the other parts of your body starting from your ankles, your lower legs and calves up to your knees, thighs, hips and spine belly, chest, shoulders, forearms, hands, fingers and neck.
Feel your skin come into contact with your clothing. Be aware of its temperature, and notice the movements of your other muscles move as you walk. Try to relax all those muscles. Be aware of the rhythmic movements of your arms. Feel the air that brushes though your hands and forearms as they swing with every step you make.
Then be aware of your neck and the muscles that support your head. Allow them to relax. Constant practice will make you experience a new sense of consciousness, especially when you allow your head to just hang freely without support. After a few seconds, you should bring your head back to its point of balance.
Relax your jaw and your eyes. Look gently ahead without staring at anything. Just let things you see pass by without getting caught up in them. Just be aware of what happens around and inside of you. At this stage, you will be aware of the presence of pleasant or unpleasant feelings that you have in your body or in your surroundings. Just let them be and allow them to drift by. This will allow you to experience a balance of your inner and outer world.
4. Reaching the Point of Stillness
Once you notice a balance of your inner and outer world, your mind will settle to a point of stillness, calmness and clarity. Having reached this point, you mind will become content and quiet.
At this stage, you need to come to a natural halt. But you don’t have to stop on the spot. Just come to a halt and remain standing and take notice that you are no longer in motion.
Once again, feel the experience of your weight being transferred from the soles of your feet into the earth then bring your meditation to a close.