Mindful Walking

Most of the time we are not present to what we are doing. Our mind is constantly thinking up thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow, often dwelling on the negative. Mindfulness means to be present to what is, rather than losing ourselves in thoughts of what is no longer or what has not yet come. Mindfulness is an awakening to life, a nonjudgmental awareness of the wonder of the present moment.

Begin your walk by concentrating on your breathing. Breathe deeply and slowly from your diaphragm. Feel your rib cage expanding and contracting with each breath. After a few deep breaths, if you choose, begin to count how many steps you take on each inhalation and exhalation.

Think about how your body feels as it moves. When a thought pops into your head, gently bring your attention back to the physical sensation of walking.

Feel your feet as they strike the ground: heel, ball, toe. Stay with the rhythm of heel, ball, toe and imagine yourself striding with confidence.

Bring your awareness up past your feet to your legs and hip joints. Feel how they move as you stride. Then notice your arms swinging freely from your shoulders in counterpoint to your legs. Picture yourself moving through life with perfect rhythm and flow.

Focus on your center, just below your navel. Imagine that you feel all your movements originating there. Feel your entire being as a symphony of movement.

Expand your awareness to include everything around you. Feel yourself and your environment merging. Try to notice every rock, tree, cloud, breath, itch, car, dog, breeze, smell, etc. Remember to include yourself in the picture.

Any merit accrued from this effort is dedicated to all sentient beings.