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Buddhist Walking Meditation

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

When my husband ended up in intensive care in 2014 with heart, liver, and kidney failure after a reaction to medications, his outcome was uncertain. On the day of his discharge from the hospital, the internal medicine doctor pulled me aside and warned me that my husband could die at any moment of sudden cardiac arrest. I was so distraught, all I could do was pray to God to cure him or kill him. I did not want him to suffer a long, lingering illness.

At home, my husband remained very weak, using a walker to get around the house, and oxygen. He prayed a lot during that time, and one day, he decided to get up and start walking. He told me, “It’s either going to cure me or kill me.” He took a few steps outside and then a few more, until he grew stronger in the springtime sunshine and made a full circuit of the path we had created many years ago. He later told me that a monk in a brown robe was guiding him.

Today, my husband is fully recovered from his illness. He is a walking miracle. And I attribute his stubbornness, tenacious will to live, fervent prayer, and WALKING to his recovery. I don’t know who the monk in the brown robe was, but he gave my husband the inspiration to get up and walk – (Remember Jesus’s words: “Get up and walk!) – GOD BLESS HIM!

Buddhist Walking Meditation

Walking meditation began when the Buddha traveled on foot around Northern India disseminating his message.

Its purpose is to discipline the mind, improve concentration skills, and develop a deeper level of body awareness.

Walking meditation can be performed either indoors or outdoors, with or without shoes and socks. You can walk along a favorite path, around in a circle, or simply back and forth.

Stand quietly in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and your arms at your sides. Do a mental scan of the entire body. Working slowly from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, make a mental note of any sensations, tension, pain, and fatigue. Feel the earth beneath your feet. Breathe deeply and relax.

Slowly shift your weight to your left foot, focusing your complete attention on the movement of the body and the sensations in your feet and legs. Then slowly shift your weight to the right foot, repeating the process.

Gradually shift your weight back to the center and ground yourself in the earth. Then carefully begin to lift the heel of your left foot, focusing all of your attention on the feel of that movement. Lift the left foot and take a small step forward, feeling the leg move through the air, and place it on the ground.

Be fully aware of the contact between your foot and the earth. Feel the pressure and weight. Feel the touch of your shoe against the sole of your foot or the feeling of the ground against your bare skin. Note the sensations. Do you feel itching, tickling, or pain? Does it feel pleasant or unpleasant? Do the muscles feel tense or relaxed? Does your leg feel heavy or light?

Repeat with the right foot, then come back to center and begin the exercise with your left foot all over again. Practice for at least 15 minutes.

When you are going about your daily activities, apply this exercise to whatever you are doing. For example, while washing the dishes after dinner, feel the warmth of the water, notice how your hands turn red, smell the dish soap, play with the bubbles, be aware of the circular motions involved in washing a plate or drying a glass. Feel the roughness of the dish cloth against your skin.

This is mindful living — being fully aware of the present moment and fully experiencing every second of your life.

Dawn Pisturino, BSNH, RN
April 21, 2007; August 19, 2021

(“Walking Meditation” originally posted on my Cosmic Health Blog)

Copyright 2007-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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