As I walk
The mind will wander.
With each sound
The mind returns.
With each breath
The heart is open.
With each step
I touch the earth.
– shared by Ezra Bayda of the Zen Center of San Diego
I went on a delicious walking meditation outing with the Zen Center of San Diego awhile back. They’re an amazing group, many of whom have been practicing for decades. Being very close to the Pacific ocean, it’s easy to just stroll over to the beach for sitting and walking meditation.
This event was particularly nice because the air was warm enough to feel like it was supporting you.
We had the above message on a slip of paper to consider during walking meditation. I haven’t done as much walking meditation as I have sitting medition, so it’s a different experience for me. The first time I tried it several years ago, there was something very subtle that turned out to be not that subtle.
Sitting meditation is calming and generally quiet. Sure, sounds come and go and pass through, but my body’s still enough to deeply relax. So, thinking about walking and meditating seemed strange. After all, how was I going to avoid bumping into someone, getting lost, stubbing my toe, or even walking off a cliff. Oh, the first time was at UUFSD which is a very outdoor fellowship, unlike being inside a stifling church building.
Fortunately, none of those fears were realized, although there was still that difference about attention and activity.
This is when the subtle shift occurred for me.
After trying it a few times there, it seemed to me that I could bring meditation to other parts of my day beyond the morning and evening sittings. I started doing that in a small way while walking, and then, while simply breathing. washing the dishes, waiting for someone, or standing to wait for the light to change to walk across the street, and then taking a few moments to feel my breath and reconnect.
This first time was several years ago.
Besides whatever changes that aren’t apparent to me, I’ve felt a lot more connected more of the time. Just dipping in for a moment brings me back to some calm wholeness. Experiencing that it’s as near as a breath away, has its own benefit.
I wonder if anyone reading this has had anything like my experience. I hope so and would like to hear about it.