WALKING MEDITATION

“Your Steps are Most Important"

What activity is most important in your life? To pass an exam, get a car or a house, or get a promotion in your career? There are so many people who have passed exams, who have bought cars and houses, who have gotten promotions, but still find themselves without peace of mind, without joy, and without happiness. The most important thing in life is to find this treasure, and then to share it with other people and with all beings. In order to have peace and joy, you must succeed in having peace within each of your steps. Your steps are the most important thing. They decide everything. I am lighting a stick of incense and joining my palms together as a lotus bud to pray for your success.”

“Breath-Counting While Walking"

Breathing consciously is different from breathing unconsciously. When you breathe mindfully, you know that you are breathing. If you take a long breath, you know that you are taking a long breath; when you take a short breath, you know that you are taking a short breath. When you take a gentle breath, you know that you are taking a gently breath. You may ask, “How can I pay attention to breathing and counting at the same time?” You can, if you identify the breathing with the steps. You do this by counting, not the breaths, but the steps. That is, measure the length of your breath by the number of steps you take during that breath. Count how many steps you take when you breathe out, and how many steps you take when you breathe in….

Walk more slowly than you usually do, but not too slowly, while breathing normally. Do not try to control your breathing. Walk along this way for a few minutes. Then notice how many steps you take as your lungs fill and how many steps you take as they empty. In this way, your attention includes both breath and steps. You are mindful of both….Your half-smile brings calmness and delight to your steps and your breath….After a few hours of serious practice, you will find that the four of them-the breath, the counting, the steps, and the half-smile-blend together in a marvelous balance of mindfulness. This is equanimity, created by the practice of walking meditation. The four elements of breathing, counting, stepping, and the half-smile become one.”

[From A Guide to Walking Meditation, by Thich Nhat Hanh.]
See also Peace is Every Step.

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