Getting Grounded: A Year of Walking Meditation

Walking is one of those things that has always been a huge part of my life but went unexamined & under appreciated. It wasn’t until I began to bring moments of mindfulness into the simple act of a regular basis did I understand it’s a large part of who I am.

I’m blessed with a super rich walking meditation practice that I began to develop during last year’s Real Happiness Challenge. The time I spent walking was usually when I let my monkey mind wander far & wide. Bouncing from one topic to the next, distracted by the last, most interesting thing, I resisted formal walking meditation deeply.

Growing up in fairly sparse finical settings in a decaying turn of the century four room brick house my parents couldn’t afford the time or money to provide many of the distractions American kids are accustomed to. Going outside and walking was one of the few things that didn’t cost anything, didn’t require transportation, special gear or supervision. The segregated working class neighborhood I grew up in was built as housing for families of the factories which were next to it adjacent to a public park designed by Olmsted of Central Park & cemetery design fame which provided miles of meandering spaces to walk around.

Things in the area were not in the best repair in the 1980’s as the recession & war on drugs (crack) had been begun to take their toll but it was walking past shuttered factories, empty industrial warehouses and even an abandoned mansion & elephant house of P.T. Barumn that I first began to connect with silence, nature & the things that I’ve found in my time spent experimenting with structured meditation practice on the mat.

Photo by D. O'Malley

Reconnecting with all the threads of my intentions, imaginings & dreams happen best when I’m alone in nature or sitting quietly doing concentration practice and now in the differant types of walking mediation I’ve discovered through Sharon & the Real Happiness challenge.

For a while I’d carry Sharon’s guided audio meditations saved on my phone as the starting point for when ever I was walking around the property. I found using the basic walking instruction she gives on a regular basis to be deeply grounding & rewarding thing to do several times a week.

One thing I needed to remind myself when doing walking meditation is to remember to use the practice to bring my energy down. As I’ve learned other forms of moving meditation practices, many of which engage shifting one’s energy up or towards a specific visualization. emotion or mantra I like Sharon’s focus on bringing it down.

My experience of walking practice blossomed after starting the regular habit of doing a walking meditation on the same stretch on the way to work. A couple weeks into listening to the guided meditation I shed it’s use without realizing it. Could’ve been just been the onset of the warmer season and the shedding of carrying my phone around or ir was that I was doing the practice in differant forms between tasks at work & in my day. Regardless of the why or when of it I still found using the recordings at least several times a week as I was getting my regular practice established.

This year I’ve been listening to the daily meditation of the challenge in the mornings & now have added the walking audio to the mix like I did last year. Going over the instructions the past couple days before I go walking (instead of while I am) has been a helpful support and something I’m going to keep up the rest of the challenge.

It’s also way too cold to be wearing earbuds this year.

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