You’ve probably heard that meditation is a very effective way to switch from the busy “doing”-mode into a more relaxed “being”-mode. It’s a practice that helps you train your mind to be steady and focussed and as a result of that you can experience more inner space and freedom.
Sometimes people think that meditation is only for Hippies and monks in caves who have months and years time to dedicate to a practice where you need to be able to sit absolutely still on a cushion.
Mindfulness meditation means to be able to be absolutely present in the moment with whatever is happening, with kindness and care. It does take intention to do that and a commitment to wanting to do it but everybody can do it in one way or another.
For example, on your way to work, in the office, or at home you can start your “walking” meditation. This active meditation can be done wherever you are at any time of the day.
As you begin set your intention to make this walk a “walking meditation”.
Before taking the first step try sensing into your body, especially your feet.
Begin connecting with the sensations of your breathing, the flow of air coming in and out of your body, the rising and falling of your chest.
Checking your body posture, relaxing your shoulders and letting your spine be long and straight.
Starting with you first step, feeling really into your feet, noticing how the foot rolls from heal to toe, sensing your weight shifting, the movement in your hips…. Making slow and deliberate steps… observing your patience or impatience to get somewhere…. perhaps shifting your motivation to enjoying the journey and trusting that you will arrive…
Keeping some of your attention on the breath.
Noticing what happens in your mind as you do this.
It is helpful to start with this practice in a place where you feel safe and familiar as this will reduce the distractions for the mind. Once you are able to hold your focus on breathing, sensing and observing yourself, venture out into the world and continue with your experiment. Notice how this practice affects your actions and thoughts.
Walking meditation is a formal practice in the 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness based Stress Reduction) curriculum.