Walking Meditation

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

Walking meditation is done while walking in an open and pleasant environment, such as, in a farm, park or a garden. One meditates on the body and the physical environment while walking. Like in any meditation, the guiding principle is “being there and seeing things as they are.” Walking meditation on the body and on the physical environment is best done separately.

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The Body

In walking meditation on the body, one allows stresses in the body to unwind, so the body regains its relaxed and natural form.

Once you start walking you, simply start observing the body without interfering with it.  Become aware of the natural pattern of your breathing. Notice the disposition of the various parts of the body at different times: in walking, turning, bending, stretching, stopping, etc. Get the feel of the clothes on the body, their weight, temperature, etc. After a little while, start putting you attention on different parts of the body and feel any sensations, aches or pains present.  You let the stresses in the body unwind on their own, so the body starts to become increasingly relaxed.

All this while, you use your breathing as the stabilizing factor. In other words, whenever your attention strays you bring it back to your breathing and start observing the body again.

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The Physical Environment

In walking meditation on the physical environment, one observes one’s physical perceptions until they become clear and sharp.

Once you start walking you, simply start observing the physical environment without interfering with your perceptions.  Use breathing as your stabilizing factor, as before. At first you focus on the physical perception of sight. Notice the size, shape and color of the things in the environment and their overall visual pattern. Look as far as you can see. Then start putting attention on the perception of hearing also. Notice the quality, tone and loudness of sounds. Do this until your perceptions of sight and hearing start to become sharper.

At the end of your walk you may go to a coffee or tea place. There you practice the perceptions of touch, taste and smell as above.

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Summary

The whole idea of walking meditation is to perceive things as they are. One perceives the sensations, pains and aches in the body as they are. Similarly, one perceives things in the environment just as they are.

This exercise may be done again and again until one’s perceptions of the body and the physical environment improve.

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