The zen-based meditation technique provides a surprisingly deep meditative state if the leader walks slowly enough. It forces the meditators to concentrate deeply in order to avoid stepping on the person in front of him or her. This technique is another that’s great for those who have trouble sitting still to meditate. You need a sizable space to do it. A park is a great choice. I’ve done it in the halls of a high school.
- Sit quietly, close your eyes and turn your attention to your breathing.
- Become aware of each exhalation and each inhalation.
- Notice how the air feels as it enters your nostrils, fills your lungs and leaves again.
- Fill your lungs slowly, bottom to top, inhaling as though every cell in your body is breathing. Inhale until you feel you can inhale no more. Then, exhale as slowly as you inhaled.
- Take several deep full breaths like this.
Allow meditators a few moments to do this, focusing on your own breathing. Four or five breaths should suffice.
- Now, as I walk past you and touch your shoulder, open your eyes, stand and follow at the end of the line. Stay a step or two behind the person in front of you and pay attention to walking. If it helps you can match your breathing to the steps you take.
- If we encounter people, let me, as leader, respond to any questions. (“We’re doing a walking meditation.” is generally adequate.)
Walk slowly past the meditators. Inhale as you take a step and exhale for the next step. Touch each person on the shoulder as you pas. Keep your pace slow, but steady. Lead the meditators on a circuit that brings everyone back within 10 minutes. When you get back to the starting point:
- As you come back to your seat, sit down, close your eyes and return your attention to your breath.
Let them sit still for a moment before continuing.
- Gently bring your attention back to the weight of your body in your chair, the sounds in the room.
- Move, stretch and open your eyes.