There is no arguing that life in today’s world can be very hectic, from stress of work, to the demands of family life. However, even though we can often find plenty of time to complicate our lives, finding the time to relax and clear our minds can sometimes be somewhat difficult. As many may have already heard, one of the easiest and simplest ways to relax and restart the mind is meditation. While meditation has been medically proven to be effective in reducing stress and helping to relax in a variety of situations. Despite these benefits, though, it can be difficult to find the time to sit and focus in the midst of everything else. Luckily, though, there is a way to get the benefits of meditation without taking a lot of time. That method is known as “walking meditation”, and it is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to relax and focus without taking a lot of time.
The idea behind walking meditation is simple, and with a little practice, anyone can learn to walk and meditate effectively. There are just a couple simple steps that one must following order to really enjoy walking meditation and get the most benefit from it.
The first step to walking meditation is to put away everything else that might keep us from focusing our thoughts. This means that although it might be tempting, it is best to leave the iPod, cell phone, or anything of that nature home. This walk is an opportunity to let stress and frustration flow out of your body, not an opportunity to let other things in.
The second step to walking meditation is simply standing up. Before we begin walking, we have to learn to be aware of our bodies and the thoughts and ideas which are flowing through our minds so that we really can get the most out of our meditation. Stand up, try to empty your thoughts of what is around you and focus on the ac of balancing, you want to be aware of everything you do. Focus on the point where your feet and toes touch the floor. This is simplistic, but it is effective, and it is the basis for learning to walk and meditate effectively.
After you have learned what it feels like to clear the mind and stand, focusing on balance, it is time to begin walking. Start off going at a somewhat slow pace, although you are still going to want to walk normally, just slow at first. As you walk, you want to try and clear your mind, not focusing on what is going on around you, not staring at people and objects you encounter as you walk, you simply want to walk. As this continues, try and become aware of how you are walking. Notice the movement of your feet, the way in which they hit the ground, notice how your ankle feels when it bends. Becoming aware of the different motions and feelings of your body is the best way to begin meditation.
As you continue walking, start to realize how other parts of your body feel as well. What does it feel like as the air from movement goes over your fingertips? Can you feel the bones of your shoulder gently gliding as you stride forward? Have you become aware of your center of balance? As you walk, all these things should become clear, and once that has happened you are likely able to free or detach your mind from whatever stressors that are affecting you. Remember that when walking you want to be relaxed, remove the tension and stress from your face, allow your jaw to hang a bit perhaps, but one of the principle goals of meditation, in any form, is awareness and clearness, if you have anger on your face, you will not be able to clear it from your mind.
When you have become relaxed, take a look at your mind in the same way that you have been looking at the movements of your body. What kind of state is your mind in? What emotion is affecting it most strongly? Remember that you want to realize these things as a passive observer, you do not want to dwell on your problems or try to come up with solutions, you simply want to experience them as you would experience your feet gently gliding over the ground.
As you focus on your mind and begin to view your different emotional states and feelings, you should begin to develop a true relaxation, your mind and body will begin to feel as one, and you should feel focused and clear. Eventually, when you feel as if you have accomplished the goal of your walking meditation, you want to gradually come to a stop. When stopping, allow your mind to catch up with what you have experienced, and remember all of the things you have noticed and encountered on your walk.
Some have suggested that walking meditation is actually easier than traditional meditation as it gives the walker more opportunities to be aware of his or her body while walking than sitting. While that idea may still be in debate, the one thing that is certain is that there are an almost unlimited amount of benefits that we can receive from daily meditation. Thankfully, even if we do not have the time to meditate everyday, we can still find the time to do some walking meditation, which will help us approach the world with a clear mind and clear focus, empty the negative emotions from our minds, and allow us to approach each moment with peace and happiness.