An excellent way to practicing mindfulness in everyday life is to practice walking meditation. It is possible to walk in such a way that we arrive in the present moment with every step. Wherever we walk, we can practice meditation.
Walking in meditation means to walk in such a way that we know we are walking. We walk leisurely, enjoying each step. We become aware of the contact of our feet with the ground, and the flow of our breathing.
We set ourselves free from our thinking—our regrets about the past, our fears and anxieties about the future, or our preoccupations in the present. We become completely present with every step.
We can practice walking meditation whenever we are walking in daily life, but it is helpful to also set aside time solely for walking meditation.
• Simply walk in such a way that you are aware of the contact between your feet and the ground with each step, and begin to harmonize your steps with your breathing.
• Perhaps you take two or three steps as you breathe in, and then three or four steps as you breathe out. It will depend on your lungs and the natural rhythm of your steps.
• With each step you take, feel the contact of your foot on the ground, feel what part has the contact first, feel the transition of weight from the back of your foot to the front, from one leg to another.
• Be aware of each movement and each step.
• As you continue walking, synchronizing your breathing and your steps, become aware of your whole body walking.
• Relax any tension in your shoulders or arms, and feel what a miracle it is to be alive, walking and moving on Earth.
• Open your ears to the sounds around you, lift your eyes to enjoy the trees, the sky, or the people around you.
• Walk simply for the sake of walking, with no goal or destination in mind.
Many of us have become so occupied by the mind that we have lost our senses—lost our direct contact with our sensory experience of life. To free ourselves from the mind, we must come back to our senses. Being aware of your five senses, you know you have arrived back home in the present moment. Through each breath, and each step, we can find nourishment, enjoyment, and healing.
As pleasant as it can be to read about mindfulness practices, be sure to actually practice them. We gain far more from the direct experience of practice than we ever do from reading about the practice.
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