For Thich Nhat Hanh, the late Vietnamese monk who popularized mindfulness within the West, strolling was not merely a method to get from one place to a different, or an exercise to be reserved for a perfect forest path. It may very well be a profound contemplative observe placing individuals in contact with their breath, their our bodies, the Earth – and an consciousness of what he referred to as “interbeing.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, who was one of the crucial influential Buddhist leaders on this planet when he died Jan. 22, created the term to explain “our deep interconnection with every little thing else.” “Every part depends on every little thing else within the cosmos with the intention to manifest – whether or not a star, a cloud, a flower, a tree, otherwise you and me,” he explained.
As a scholar of contemporary Buddhism, I’ve studied how the monk’s teachings mix private practices like mindfulness with social change – a motion referred to as “engaged Buddhism,” which Thich Nhat Hanh developed by way of his peaceable activism in opposition to the Vietnam War. However one among his best-loved teachings is strolling meditation, a key a part of each go to to the 11 Plum Village monasteries he based around the globe.
Thich Nhat Hanh believed that the Earth is sacred, so wherever somebody walks, they are often reminded of this non secular connection whereas additionally uniting their mind with their body. He taught that folks’s true properties are situated within the current second, by way of consciousness of their steps on the Earth, their our bodies, and their minds. Strolling meditation brings practitioners again to this stable grounding.
Listed below are the steps of strolling meditation as it’s completed within the Plum Village custom:
1) Take a second to breathe and heart your physique within the area you’re about to stroll. At Plum Village observe facilities, monks and nuns lead members in singing a couple of mindfulness songs earlier than beginning. In “We’re All Moving,” for instance, the group sings, “We’re all transferring on a journey to nowhere, taking it straightforward, taking it sluggish. No extra worries, no have to hurry, nothing to hold, let all of it go.”
2) Whereas strolling, be aware of your breath and your footsteps. Stroll in a sluggish, relaxed method, ideally with a light-weight smile. Take into consideration the miracle of being alive and with the ability to step on Mom Earth, repeating these phrases:
“Inhaling, I do know Mom Earth is in me. Respiratory out, I do know I’m in Mom Earth.”
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3) Take one breath per step, focusing in your foot touching the Earth. You can too discover what number of steps you are taking whereas inhaling after which respiratory out, naturally. The purpose is to discover a connection between your respiratory and your steps.
As a substitute of sitting meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh’s practices emphasize including mindfulness to each day life anytime, anyplace. By incorporating strolling meditation right into a each day or weekly schedule, each step will be a part of a deeper observe of interbeing.