Meditating while seated can be a challenge. For example, you sit cross-legged, thumbs and forefingers together, you close your eyes and try to let all your thoughts go, but the seconds pass so quickly that you quickly become impatient and frustrated.But with the piles of research on the benefits of meditation , and of course the all-too-familiar wisdom of the Buddha, it’s hard to dismiss meditation as something you shouldn’t do.
The thing is, meditation doesn’t have to look like anything. On a fundamental level we are all connected, but on a complex and modern level we are all incredibly unique, with countless personalities and levels of consciousness that can help or hinder us when we sit down to meditate.
So who cares if you try to sit still and let things go, but you keep sweating from discomfort? Why not just try another form of meditation?
In his article ” How to Calm Your Mind Without Meditating While Sitting, ” writer Bill Lee describes his failed attempts to be fully present and let go of control.
“As a self-proclaimed worrier who has dealt with constant ruminations, flashbacks, and nightmares for most of my life, all my efforts to be fully present and not to think only served as proof that I had no control over my head. Then I started walking and accidentally found a form of meditation that literally changed my life.”
Lee found his meditation in nature on scenic routes, where he almost immediately experienced a calm from the ‘intrusive thoughts’, which previously prevented him from believing that he could empty his head.
Walking meditation is beneficial for your daily mindfulness.
Buddhist author and educator John Ciancosi explains it this way :
“If you learn to be aware during walking meditation – when you move physically with your eyes open – it won’t be difficult to induce that same awakened feeling during other activities… Your meditation will be felt throughout your life. †
This type of meditation can be a bit more tangible for those just starting out. You can do it for shorter periods, such as when you walk from your car to your office every day.
One study found that the Buddhist walking meditation is effective in reducing depression, improving functional fitness and vascular responses, and leading to better overall improvements over a group that adhered to a traditional walking program.
Walking meditation is either about tuning into your breathing, or about specific focus points. The result is a walk that is much slower than a simple walk.
You keep your eyes open, unlike in sitting meditation, your body stands and moves, and there is a bit more interaction with the outside world. As the body moves, the individual can become more aware of their sensations, which helps them stay in the present moment.
There are many types of walking meditations, such as Zen, Theravada, Thich Nhat Hanh, Mindfulness, Yoga Walking and Daoist Walking, and each form has its own instructions.
For example, Mindfulness Meditation Walking is a form of the traditional Buddhist walking meditation that stems from the modern mindfulness movement. This is an exercise of free mindfulness, rather than focused attention. This exercise allows you to focus less on the soles of your feet, but rather suggests more presence in the variety of sensations in perceptions you are experiencing in that moment.
Because we are all so different, each with our own needs, it’s important to find something that works for you. Look for information, for example by analyzing the pros and cons of the many different types of walking meditations. It can help you develop a sense of mindfulness yourself.