Starting the practice

Walking meditation - footprints on beach We begin walking meditation by not walking!

It’s good just to stand on the spot and experience yourself. Experience your body, and notice in particular all of the minute motions that take place in order to keep you balanced and upright.

Experience how you feel; notice whether your mind is overactive or calm. This will give you a sort of “baseline” of experience against which you can check what effect the practice is having on you.

We take walking for granted, but we probably take standing for granted even more. So just spend a minute or two appreciating your experience.

Standing really is pretty miraculous. It took our species millions of years to learn how to stand on two legs, and it took you a year or two to get the hang of it when you were a young child.

Often we don’t appreciate the simple things in life. Just noticing ourselves in a simple activity like standing starts to shift the mind to a different level, to a slower pace at which we have time to appreciate our experience and to experience greater enjoyment.

It’s not uncommon to experience boredom or resistance when we first take up a practice like this. We might think that it’s ridiculous to be devoting time to something as trivial as walking, or to standing still. But those emotions of boredom and those judgments we make — “it’s boring, this is a waste of time” — are themselves very interesting. Just noticing them is part of the “downshifting” that we’re engaged in.

And if we simply persevere with the practice then at some point, perhaps to our considerable surprise, we’ll find that we’re doing something that’s both fascinating and deeply enjoyable.

Standing meditation is in fact a valid meditation in its own right, but rather than explore that we’re going to continue with our exploration of walking.

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