Walking meditation

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    Aug 05, 2011 12:23 AM GMT
    I practice Theravadan Buddhism, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips or pointers on walking meditation and staying mindful. I've been told to be mindful of the motion "lift, move, place","lift , move , place", but the longest I can stick with it is like 2-3min then it becomes gibberish in my head, and Im lost in my head and not even realizing it.

    _/|_
  • starboard5

    Posts: 969

    Aug 05, 2011 3:28 AM GMT
    I have had limited experience with walking meditation. I highly recommend Bhante H. Gunaratana's book, "Mindfulness in Plain English," if you don't already have it.

    I'm not sure why some teachers emphasize the words. It is exactly the opposite of what Bhante G teaches. Thinking the words actually introduces a verbal layer that is extraneous.

    When you practice walking meditation, I think you are supposed to coordinate your movements with your breath; at least that's one way to practice. And don't think "placing" (for example) but rather, let your mindfulness be on the sensation.

    Have you ever practiced yoga? A slow yoga practice is a perfect entrance to formal meditation as it calms the mind and body. You will also find that it greatly engages your awareness. The sensation of breath against your nostrils in formal seated meditation is a very subtile object of attention and easy to lose; the bodily sensations of an asana combined with the sound of ujjayi breathing are strong objects of attention.

    Philosophically, yoga and Buddhadhamma have some points of disagreement, but in practice, they can compliment one another.

    Eliminate the verbal labels and directly experience your object of attention.
    Hope this helps.
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    Aug 05, 2011 4:41 AM GMT
    Are you consciously trying to think of the words "lift, move, place?" I would suggest focusing more on the motion itself than on the words- if you already are, then just ignore that! I guess what helps me is to try letting everything you experience while walking become your thoughts- it's harder to get "lost in thought" when your "thoughts" are the things you are seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling. But don't try to focus on any one thing, just let the whole experience happen. I guess the best way to describe it is to be aware of everything, but don't be hindered by anything, or think too hard? Sheesh, it's really tough to describe this without being redundant! And even then it's confusing! Sorry if this doesn't help :/ but hopefully it does! icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 05, 2011 5:39 AM GMT
    You can meditate in any movement at all.. in fact, its when people are performing sports and they get into a "flow" that they are usually really in meditation.... Just focus on your breathing, just like the athletes do
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    Aug 05, 2011 8:06 PM GMT
    @Starboard5 Thanks that makes a lot of sense, I have never done yoga but I'm well aware of the very loose hold on mindfulness of the breath in sitting meditation. I'm gonna check that book out that you mentioned though, I'm going to try to not focus on the words so much.

    @Lr6tb In all honesty yes I was saying the words in my mind along with the motion in an effort to keep my mind from analyzing everything. If im not focused on something then my mind finds anything and picks it apart or I end up in planning mind. I'll have to try i guess to be less controlling and being fluid with the whole thing. Thanks.

    @GreenHopper I've actually been experimenting with that alot lately. You just kind of confirmed for me I was on a good path trying to bring meditation into my workout.

    Thanks guys for all the input, much appreciated.
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    Aug 17, 2011 5:47 PM GMT
    Why don't you just focus on your mind?? Be mindful of your mind! The whole point of these practices is to become engrossed in the present moment. The mind takes you away from the present by thinking about past events and future possibilities. And it is virtually impossible to get the mind to stop thinking.

    HOWEVER, it is possible to detach from those thoughts and not get swept up in the current. I find this to be an easier starting point than trying to shut off all thoughts completely. You will most certainly lose and become intensely frustrated and give up on a practice that holds so much potential for you!

    You can do this by just listening to your mind, observe your mind while you walk. Instead of being the one that thinks about this thing or that thing, be the one that watches your mind thinking. In this way you will automatically become present. Say to yourself every so often, "What am I thinking about at this very moment?" Often times when I ask myself that, my mind goes blank. Even if just for a couple seconds . . . and it feels great. Then something happens . . . I trip on rock . . . or pass by a cute guy and my mind is off again!

    Focusing on the breath gives the mind something to do. Heck, even repeating "lift, move, place" can become a mantra that gives your mind something to focus on.

    But as you do these things just remember, YOU ARE NOT YOUR MIND! You are something different that USES your mind. Learning to stay present will help to keep your mind from using you. This will become more and more important as the human race evolves. If you can't control your mind, someone else will.

    A great book for learning presence: The Power of NOW by Eckhart Tolle
    http://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Guide-Spiritual-Enlightenment/dp/1577311523