Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Each Step a Meditation

"slowly, slowly ... step by step .. each step a meditation"

Sometimes the body just needs to move before sitting for meditation.  Racing home from a busy day, not having eaten or had a moment to rest, with a million things to cram into the night ahead of you .. is probably not the best time to sit and meditate.  

I suggest finding a 'transition' practice to take you from busy to ready to meditate. 

In many of the meditation traditions you will find walking meditation .. I have participated in walking meditations within the Zen Buddhist tradition (called kinhin) and the Insight Meditation tradition.  In meditation centers and monasteries around the world, there are paths and labyrinths build specifically for walking meditations. 

When on retreat walking meditation is an integral part of the daily schedule and many people include walking as part of their daily meditation practice.

Mindful walking is meditation in motion, and is an excellent practice if your find yourself too restless or energetic to sit in more formal seated practices. In Walking Meditation we are not aiming to 'get anywhere', but rather the point is simply to walk and to know you are walking. 

Like everything else in life .. we can walk mindfully or mindlessly. When we start meditation we quickly realize how easy it is to be mindless in daily life .. living on autopilot, adrift with thoughts and fantasies .. missing the moment completely.

Walking Meditation is great for us because:

* Walking keeps us engaged and in touch with our body. If you work with your hands or body you will be more naturally a little more aware, but most of us work at a desk and with our brains .. for most of our day we are completely cut off and estranged from our body, just living in our 'head'.

* Walking silently allows us to begin a dialogue with our body, we become more aware and sensitive to its needs, we listen more and will learn more as a result.

* Walking mindfully gives us an opportunity to bring body awareness deeper into our practice. People with a very active state of mind can find it impossible to sit still in meditation .. here we walk and the mind slows into the rhythm of our gait, naturally.

* Walking is joyful! Walking gives us a chance to breath more deeply .. to expel the stale air from our lungs, and breath in fresh life giving air which makes us feel better. There is the sun on our face, the breeze on our skin 'blowing away the cobwebs', we notice the flowers, grass and life around us .. all assist in lifting our spirits.

* Acupressure points on the bottom of our feet are massaged when we apply pressure through walking .. so we are keeping our organs activated whenever we move.

Walking Mindfully

Instructions : In a formal walking meditation we focus our attention on the walking itself, on the footfall as a series of motions such as shifting, lifting, moving, placing. You couple that awareness of walking with an awareness of breathing. Often we walk in a loop or up and down a predefined path, literally having no place to go can make it easier to be where you are

The challenge is : can you be fully in the present moment .. with this step and with this breath.

It can help to touch fore-finger and thumb together (on each hand) as a physical reminder of your intention to be mindful.

* Begin your Walking Meditation by simply standing tall and experiencing the wonder of the body .. the life and strength found in bones, muscles and organs

* Really tune into your body as it stands straight and tall

* Rest your awareness now on the soles of your feet, flat and firm, connecting your body to the earth

* Close your eyes and listen to the rhythm of your breath .. where are you breathing from? .. how does your breath feel today at this moment?

* When you are ready to begin your walk, open your eyes and rest your gaze softly downward, just in front our your feet (this will help steady you and keep external distractions to a minimum)

* Slowly and mindfully start by lifting one foot .. noticing how the weight of the body shifts to the standing leg

* Feel the body as it starts to edge forward

* Notice the foot swinging through the air

* Keep your awareness centered on the shift in balance as you now place your foot solidly onto the ground again

* Lifting .. lifting ..lifting ..

* Moving .. moving .. moving ..

* Placing .. placing down .. placing down ..

* Shifting .. shifting .. shifting ..

* Feel the sensation of each step, feel the legs and feet tense as your lift the leg, feel the movement of the leg as it swings through the air, and the contact with the ground again

* Let the earth carry you forward.

If you would like to learn more about meditation .. learn more about the 'art and science' and actually start a regular meditation practice then our next EXPLORING MEDITATION 4-week course starts Wednesday 9th July at our Black Rock venue.  DETAILS HERE

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