Many people say, “Meditation is too boring.” They are under the impression that mediation means they have to sit in the lotus position and close their eyes and try to clear their minds. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. A great way to meditate is by getting outside and walking. Many experienced meditation teachers, from Jack Kornfield to Thich Nhat Hanh, recommend walking meditation as a profound and powerful way to strengthen our spiritual connection. World-renowned Tibetan Buddhist Teach Sogyal Rinpoche suggests, “To calm your mind, go for a walk at dawn in the park, or watch the dew on a rose in the garden. Lie on the ground and gaze up into the sky, and let your mind expand into its spaciousness. Let the sky outside awake a sky inside your mind.” Walking meditation is an effective way to feel a sense of calm and benefit from mindfulness and awareness while engaging in a pleasurable activity. It is highly effective in its simplicity and can connect us with the earth, nature, and our own spirituality. Paul Roland, in How to Meditate, explains, “Walking meditations as a formal discipline are thought to have developed after Buddha urged his followers to leave their homes in search of Enlightenment, and they continue to offer a counterbalance to the inrtospective practice of sitting in silence.” Walking meditation is about becoming aware of our body and our environment. We often walk simply to get from one place to another without taking the time to appreciate the beauty of the world surrounding us. Walking meditation allows us to rekindle the connection between our body and our mind. It is easy to lose the connection, especially in a state of addiction. Thich Nhat Hanh, in a 2018 Lion’s Roar article, Thich Nhat Hanh on Walking Meditation, explains, “Walking meditation makes us whole again. Only when we are connected with our body are we truly alive. Healing is not possible without that connection. So walk and breathe in such a way that you can connect with your body deeply.” Walking meditation can be practiced any time we put our bodies into motion. We simply need to focus on our awareness. Jack Kornfield suggests we practice walking meditation anytime we can, from when we are shopping to when we are walking to or from our car. Kornfield explains, “You can learn to enjoy walking for its own sake instead of the usual planning and thinking and, in this simple way, begin to be truly present, to bring your body, heart and mind together as your move through your life.” Walking meditation is a great way to benefit from meditation without having to sit quietly in more traditional (and sometimes boring) forms of meditation.
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