How do we practise Walking Meditation?

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Arriving. Zen Master Lin Chi once said that the miracle is not to walk on water or on burning charcoal, but to walk on the Earth. Every step we tread is on the land of reality. With each step, we arrive in the here and now, becoming solid and free. Whether walking outdoors or in the meditation hall, we coordinate our steps and breathing as we walk. For example, outdoors we may take three steps with each in-breath and three or four steps with each out-breath. In the meditation hall it may be slower – one step with each breath. We can mentally say to ourselves, “In, in, in… Out, out, out” to help us identify the in- and out- breaths. Just as in sitting meditation, while walking, we allow our breathing to be natural, not forcing it. The following gatha (meditation verse) can help us along the path:

I have arrived (in-breaths) – I am home (out-breaths)

In the here (in-breaths) – In the now (out-breaths)

I am solid (in-breaths) – I am free (out-breaths)

In the ultimate (in-breaths) – I dwell (out-breaths)

We are aware of the contact between our feet and the Earth. From time to time, we may stop to enjoy and be nourished by Nature. Look around and see how vast life is, the trees, the white clouds, the limitless sky. Listen to the birds. Feel the fresh breeze. Life is all around and we are aware that we are alive, healthy and capable of walking in peace.

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