To sow a new path and bring in new opportunities:
Find a new location for your walk today. It could be in your neighbourhood or you could just pick up a map and choose somewhere that you have not visited before. Your just want to choose somewhere totally new to you. it could be as simple as taking a left turn where you would usually turn right. Your intention will be to see new things and to experience the world in new ways, to reconnect with the interest and wonder of the newcomer, to refresh your eye and senses. You will see things that you do not normally see, that you would not have seen.It will refresh you and make whatever you do after that more interesting as you have created a doorway for new experiences and insights.
Mindfulness in Walking Meditation
A walking meditation is best practiced on a known path rather than casually walking along. The path should be as straight and level as possible and have quite a smooth surface. It will help you if it has a has a beginning and an end. In this type of of meditation you just walk between these two points, being attentive and mindful of every step .
A path with a beginning and an end suits this kind of meditation because these two points provide structure for the meditation and promote sharper awareness. When you arrive at the end of the path, you are automatically reminded to notice whether your attention did indeed remain on each each step or whether the mind wandered.
A walking meditation is similar to ta sitting meditation: Choose an appropriate time and decide how long to meditate/walk. Do not make it longer than 10 minutes to start with. You can gradually increase it. The walking path can be either inside or outside. Quiet roads/paths are the best, as you are less likely to be distracted by external activity or feel self-conscious whilst walking up and down the same path.
To begin, stand at one end of the path and hold your hands gently together in front of your body. The eyes should be open, gazing down along the path about two yards ahead. You should aim not to look at anything in particluar on the pathway but just notice any turns.
Then you bring yourself into the “now” and let go of all thoughts about the past and future. You just bring your mindful attention to your body.
Walk at a slow, relaxed pace, being fully aware of every step until you reach the end of the path. Start with the right foot. Pay careful attention to the movement of the foot as you raise it off the ground, move it through the air, and replace it on the ground. Then do the same with your left foot, giving it the same attention. Carry on walking in this mindful and deliberate way until you have reach the end of the path.
If whilst walking you become aware that your mind has wandered away from the step, clearly note the distraction and gently, but firmly, bring your attention back to the step. It can assist to make a mental note of “right” and “left” with each relevant step. This fixes the mind on he act of walking.
When you reach the end of the path, stop for a moment to check whether the mind is being being attentive. If it has wandered off, reign it in and re-establish awareness. Turn and walk back to the other end in the saame way, focussing on each step only, remaining mindful and alert. Continue walking up and down for the duration of the meditation period, gently trying to maintain awareness and focus attention on the process of walking.
It will take a while to train your mind to remain focussed on walking but the benefits are well worth it. Each mindful step increases your power of concentration and mastery over your mind. It will also clear your mind of spiralling thoughts and give it some peace. Eventually you will find it easier to flick the switch to mindfulness and focus anywhere when you need to.
Another part of this exercise that is useful is that you can monitor what thoughts come into awareness and try to distract you. If they are totally random, then something along the path, maybe in your peripheral vision has attracted your attention or even the scent of a flower or a noise. You could retrace your steps and try to identify what that was. If your mind, after the intial distraction, reeled off at a tangent, you might be able to track the train of thought and see how the thoughts linked in an associative chain. You will learn how your mind works.