Walking meditation is one technique of meditation that can be beneficial in our daily life. Like many other methods of meditation that uses focus, in walking meditation we use the practice of walking as our focus. Walking meditation is meditation in action.
In walking meditation we become aware of our experience while walking, such as its process, and the movement of our legs (left, right, left, right); we keep our focus on that experience. There are key differences between walking meditation and sitting meditation. Obviously one of them is we keep our eyes open during walking meditation, that difference alone entails other changes in the way we perform the meditation. In walking meditation, we do not withdraw our attention from the outside world; we need to be aware of the things outside ourselves, such as tripping over other people we might walk into, and many other things that we would be more aware of than when we are doing sitting, particularly if we sit inside. Other issues include the wind, sun, rain, sound of nature and of humans and machines.
One of the principal differences however, is that it's done easier. For most people, being more intensely aware of their bodies while performing walking meditation is much easier than the sitting forms and practices of sitting meditation. When the body is in motion, it is easier to be aware of it compared to when you are sitting motionless, and the experience can be intense and you can find intense enjoyment in the practice. There several different types of walking meditation, but the most common is walking meditation done outdoors. For the first attempt, you may want to find a park or open space where you would be able to walk for twenty minutes without encountering traffic.
How to achieve walking meditation
After you have decided or selected a park where you can do your walking meditation, here are some steps of how to do walking meditation:
Merely begin the walking meditation by standing. Just stand on the spot, be attentive of the weight being transferred from your body through the soles of your feet into the earth. Be aware of all the subtle movements that occur in order to keep us balanced and upright. Our capability to be able to stand upright should not be taken for granted. So be aware of the continuous adjustments that you're making in order to uphold your balance.
After being able to do the first step, you can start to walk at a fairly slow but normal walking pace, and in a normal way. Remember that we are not changing the way we walk; we're simply going to be conscious of it. As you start your first steps of walking, pay attention to the soles of your feet, be aware of the alternating patterns of contact and release; be aware of all the diverse sensations in your feet, everything from the contact between the toes, the feeling of the inside of your shoes, the fabric of your socks, and allow your feet to be as relaxed as you can. The end result of this step is to be aware of each and every little thing that you do with your body in the process of walking, including the focus of your eyes, relaxing your eyes and not allowing yourself to be caught up in anything that's going to past you.
This doesn't refer to emotional feelings, but just the feeling of tone that you're having. Things that feels enjoyable and unpleasant, inside and outside of your body. Do not cling to them or push them away, just observe them, and allow them to drift by. Thoughts and emotions just detect your emotional state, such as, are you bored? Are you comfortable? Are you aggravated? Are you feeling especially happy to be doing what you're doing? Perceive these things with no particular judgment and simply notice them.
Balancing Inner and Outer
If you can be aware of both the inner world and the outer world in equal balance, then the mind settles at a point of tranquility, calmness and clarity. Balance your understanding between the inner and the outer.
After every step has been experienced things come to a natural stop. You're not freezing on the spot but instead allow yourself to come to a stop and just experience yourself standing. Simply stand and experience your own body, and finally bring the meditation to a close.