Guided meditation of any type is not a cure-all. Only people with something to sell will tell you that a meditation walk will help you be free of all tension. It can, however, dramatically improve the quality of life.
Guided walking meditation is a great tool to have available in your office arsenal to put out some fires. Here are the basics so you can get started today.
PICK A ROUTE. Since we want to quiet our minds, the last thing we want to worry about is oncoming traffic (both vehicular or pedestrian). Find the quietest place possible. The path can be straight, circular or quadrangular. Scout out several possibilities and try them all until you come across your favorite.
SCHEDULE A TIME. I strongly suggest that you make walking meditation part of your daily routine. Sure, you can use it only when you need it, but it’s easier to regain balance with regular practice.
STAND STILL. Before you start guided walking meditation, take a moment to stand still. As you breathe deeply (in through your nose, feeling your abdomen rise), feel the Earth under your feet. Think about the substance you are standing on. Your rubber soles, wood, concrete, dirt – all, at some level, carpeting the Earth.
WALK NORMALLY. Begin walking as you normally would (unless you are a speed stroller, in which case, slow down a notch). As you take measured steps, become aware of your body. Start from your hair and work your way to your toes, recognizing what each part of your body is up to.
QUIET THE WORLD. As you start your meditation walk, it’s important to tune out internal and external distractions. Don’t get angry at yourself if your mind wanders. If you find yourself thinking about the 101 things you need to do when you get back to your desk, just recognize the thought and refocus on your body as you walk. Guided meditation can significantly improve your life.
WIND DOWN. Ideally, guided walking meditation occurs for a minimum of 15 minutes. However, I have found that with a bit of practice, the total time needed can be considerably lower. Try not to stop suddenly. Bring yourself “back” by easing to a planned halt.
RESULTS. Upon completion, especially at the beginning of your practice, you will wonder how to measure your success. Did you do it right? Do you feel the same? Different? In order to be “successful” (you can’t fail at meditation, only have varying degrees of success) you must have no goal or agenda attached to the practice. As Nike has drilled into our heads, “Just Do It.”
At first, you’ll find everything from the sun to co-workers distracting. But with some practice, you’ll get better and better at handling these disturbances.
There are many different approaches to guided walking meditation. What I have shared is what works for me. Your mileage may vary.
Remember: The goal is to observe the act of walking while becoming completely aware of your body, your breathing, and your surroundings.
Please feel free to add your advice, experience and/or questions in the comments section below. I’ll respond to all messages regarding meditation walking.
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