While meditation is usually associated with the sitting posture,
insight meditation exercises can be practised while walking. Walking
in insight meditation is essentially about the awareness of movement
as you note the component parts of the steps. When walking meditation
alternates with sitting meditation it helps to keep the meditation
practice in balance.
is also a skilful way to energise the practice if the calming effect
of sitting is making you dull or you are becoming over concentrated.
Actually, it can be the preferred mode in insight meditation as
it is meditation in action.
to do it ...
Establish your attentiveness by first noting the standing posture
and the touch sensations of the feet at the start of the walking
track. (You will need to find a walking path with a level surface
from five to ten metres on which you walk back and forth). The arms
should hang naturally with the hands lightly clasped in front. Allow
the eyes to gaze at a point about two metres in front of you on
the ground to avoid visual distractions. Then as you walk keep the
attention on the sole of the foot, not on the leg or any other part
of the body.
For the first
five minutes you can note just three parts of the step: 'lifting',
'pushing', 'dropping'. Then mentally note or label each step
part by part building up the noting to its six component parts:
'lifting', 'pushing', 'dropping', 'touching' and 'pressing'
- concurrent with the actual experience of the movement.
and noting the parts of the steps you will probably find the mind
still thinking. Not to worry, keep focused on the noting of the
steps if the thoughts are experienced just as 'background thoughts'.
However, it you find you have been walking 'lost in thought' you
must stop and vigorously note the thinking as 'thinking', 'thinking',
'thinking'. Then re-establish your attention on the movement
and carry on. Also be careful that the mental noting does not become
so mechanical that you lose the experience of the movement.
Try to do a
minimum walking period of half an hour and build it up to a full
hour. Strategically it is better to do a walking period before a
sitting session as it brings balance into the practice. If you can
alternate the walking and sitting sessions without any major breaks
it will develop a continuity of awareness that naturally carries
through into the awareness of your daily activities.