A few years ago I attended a retreat at Holy Family Retreat Center in West Hartford, CT. It was a silent meditation retreat with a Jesuit priest who was also a Buddhist monk. It was so good for my body and soul!
I have a sitting meditation practice that I have been doing every day for the past 13 years. It has been enlightening, mystical, blessed on all levels. It’s when I listen to God.
What I learned at the retreat, however, was how to start a walking meditation, and here is what we did.
First we did a period of silent sitting meditation. Then a chime was rung, and we all got up and silently put on our shoes and coats. We then walked outside for the same amount of time, all the while in meditation. It was so uplifting, to be out in nature walking and meditating. All weekend we did this, sitting and walking, sitting and walking. It brought a whole new perspective to my meditation practice. Since then, after my sitting meditation, I go outside for a walk in silent meditation.
Now I know that a silent retreat about meditation may not be for everybody, but I’d like to offer some ideas for mindful walking, no matter if we’re walking from meeting to meeting, from the car to the store, walking in the mall, or from any place to any place!
As we walk anywhere and everywhere, our feet gently tread on Mother Earth. She knows each of us by our footsteps. We are always connected to her and we rely on her bounty for our very survival. So why not send her healing and love as we walk? Notice the trees, the flowers, the cool breeze on our face, the birds, the other people we pass by. Mother Earth appreciates all the healing love we send her.
I also pray while I walk. We have a prayer chain at work and I take this time to pray for everyone on the list. I also pray for all the many patients I have visited over the years, their names remembered by God, their spirits lifted up by my prayers.
If prayer isn’t your thing, walking with an attitude of gratitude is amazing. Think of all that you are thankful for and all the bounty in your life. Be thankful for family and friends, for opportunities to grow and learn, and thankful that you are able to walk when many others aren’t well enough to walk. No matter what kind of day we are having, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
Mindful and meditative walking is a great way to motivate myself to walk, knowing that not only will my body feel better, my mind will clear and my spirit will soar.
Give it a try!
Many blessings to all!