I remember my first walking meditation vividly.
I was at writing retreat in September 2009. I was with a group of 30 people I had met only hours before at a rustic Maryland campsite. With very little instruction from the host, we all gathered onto the gravel driveway and formed a large circle. Facing the back of the person to our right, we proceeded to walk forward e x t r e m e l y s l o w l y.
At first, it felt very awkward, and I became aware of thoughts racing through my mind. I pulled out a trusted mantra, and asked myself: What can I learn in this moment? My mind immediately stilled. Then it was very much like Sharon described.
I just felt the sensations of my feet touching the ground. Touch, touch, touch, touch. And my body moving through space. Hardness, softness, tightness, relaxation. Simply walking. I felt my feet against the ground. Touch, touch, touch, touch. I felt the sensations of my leg going up, going down. Heaviness, lightness, pressure, hardness, softness. Feeling without naming. Making a quiet mental note right at the beginning of each part of the movement. Lifting, moving, placing, shifting. Each fraction of movement was a single note in a stunning symphony of movement. Truly an “oasis of connection.”
I felt so humbled in that moment – this incredible feat of life and evolution, and I had never given it a second thought. I realized “I” never actually learned to walk: Life learned to walk, and it created time, the universe, suns, moons, planets, oceans, plants, animals, humans, and yes, even me, to do so.
In that moment, “I” no longer existed as a singular event in a vast world. Instead, I felt myself as an inextricable and essential feature of an indivisible whole. Life was experiencing, exploring, and expressing itself through me. I remember feeling tears start rolling gratefully down my cheeks as I walked in humbled, stunned silence.
Can you recall a time when you felt part of the greater whole? A moment when you realized that your personal epic journey is an essential part of a much larger story of this experience of life?