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My 34-Day Walking Meditation

Posted on Oct 16, 14 in Wellness

As I read “Walking Home” by Sonia Choquette, I couldn’t help but be inspired by her story of walking the Camino de Santiago, an 800-kilometer pilgrimage that has been traveled by people of many faiths for over a thousand years.  I found myself not only relating to Sonia as a person, but also to the predicament she found herself in.  Sonia decided to make this journey when she felt her life was falling apart, and like her, I have personally faced a difficult challenge over the last six months.  Painfully, I have watched a loved one suffer, and experienced the stress this situation has put on my entire family.  Although I believe we have all come to accept that you cannot help someone that doesn’t want to be helped, the circumstances remain a challenge.

Moved by the insights and inspiration Sonia received on her journey, I decided to do something that would help me release everything, from my desire to control the situation to the pattern of allowing others to dictate how I feel.  To quote Sonia, “I knew in my heart that it was time to forgive, to let go, to release, and to give up all attachment to and control over everything in my life and turn it over to the Universe and God.”

Since I am unable to leave for over a month to trek through northern Spain; however, I came up with a way to create my own little pilgrimage.  For 34 days, the same amount of time it took Sonia to complete her journey, I am going to walk 5 kilometers a day and practice what is called walking meditation.  Now, I realize this is nothing compared to Sonia’s daily 20-plus kilometers, but it isn’t about the number of steps, but the quality of those steps, right?

So, just in case you want to join me, below is a wonderful walking meditation from Christopher K. Germer’s book, “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion.”  I will be sure to keep you updated on my progress, and I hope you will do the same.

Much Love to all!  Eva

 

Compassionate Walking from “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion” by Christopher K. Germer:

“Plan to walk for 10 minutes or longer, anywhere you like.  Dedicate the time specifically to cultivating loving-kindness and compassion.

  • Stand still for a moment and anchor your attention in your body.  Be aware of yourself in the standing posture.  Feel your body.
  • Recall that every living being wants to live peacefully and happily.  Connect with that deep wish:  “Just as all beings wish to be happy and free from suffering, may I be happy and free from suffering.”
  • Begin walking.  Note yourself moving through space in the upright position.  Feel the sensations of your body, perhaps noting the pressure of your feet on the ground or the wind in your face.  Keep your eyes softly focused and walk at a normal pace.
  • After walking for a few minutes, repeat the loving-kindness phrases to yourself:

May I be safe.

May I be happy.

May I be healthy.

May I live with ease.

The phrases will keep your attention anchored in your body and start to evoke the attitude of loving-kindness.  Try to synchronize the phrases with each step or with each breath.  It may help to shorten the phrases to a single word:  “safe, happy, healthy, ease” or “love, love, love, love.”

  • When your mind wanders, gently return to the phrases.  If you find yourself hastening to your destination, slow down and refocus on your purpose.
  • Do this with kindness, especially a feeling of gratitude toward your feet for supporting your entire body.  Appreciate the marvel of walking.
  • After a few minutes, expand loving-kindness to others.  When someone catches your attention, say to yourself:

May you and I be safe.

May you and I be happy.

May you and I be healthy.

May you and I live with ease.

You also say “May you be safe …” or just “safe … happy … healthy … ease” or “love … love … love … love.”  Don’t try to include everyone; just do it one person at a time, keeping the attitude of loving-kindness alive.

  • Eventually include all forms of life in the circle of your loving-kindness, for example, dogs, birds, insects, and plants.
  • Allow yourself to receive any expressions of kindness that may come your way.
  • At the end of the walking period, stand still for a moment and repeat “May all beings be happy and free from suffering” before you go on to your next activity.”

 

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu