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Lions Roar : September 2015
HOW TO PRACTICE Walking Meditation LESLIE BOOKER offers step-by-step instruction. IN THE FOUR foundations of mindful- ness, as laid out in the famed Satiphatthana Sutta, the Buddha offers four postures for practicing meditation: A monk knows, when he is walking, “I am walking”; he knows, when he is standing, “I am standing”; he knows, when he is sitting, “I am sitting”; he knows, when he is lying down, “I am lying down”; or just as his body is disposed so he knows it. Walking meditation is often described as a meditation in motion. In this practice, you place your full attention on the process of walking— from the shifting of the weight in your body to the mechanics of placing your foot. Walking meditation is an integral part of retreat life in many traditions and is used to offset and shift the energy of sitting practice. It is a bridge to inte- grate practice into daily life and can be more accessible than a sitting practice for many people. FIND AN UNOBSTRUCTED SPACE where you can walk in a straight line for about ten feet. This short walking distance is the instruction given in the Theravada tradi- tion. Others prefer to walk for greater distances. Bring your attention down to your feet and slowly shift your weight from side to side and front to back. Being in bare feet can bring more awareness to what needs to happen in the body to cre- ate balance. LESLIE BOOKER is on the faculty of the Mindful Yoga and Meditation Training Pro- gram at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. ILLUSTRATIONSBYTOMIUM SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2015 29 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE