When considering meditation in the traditional sense of sitting in the lotus position, it seems somewhat contradictory to suggest that walking meditation is possible.
After all, the reason meditators sit cross-legged, with a straight back, is to align the chakras and allow for a perfectly balanced centre of gravity, which is highly conducive to meditation practice.
But meditation has evolved, and a number of notable teachers have introduced varying methods and techniques through the years, walking meditation being one such method.
A Walking Meditation Technique
The first obstacle here is of course focus and concentration. It is impossible to truly let go of attachments to thoughts and the judgments that evolve from everyday life while walking among people, traffic and other associated distractions.
And so the first step in successful walking meditation is to set a boundary that eliminates distraction.
In his book, Mindfulness Exercises, Alfred James documents a technique called ‘Pacing the Square of Reality’, a walking meditation that involves setting a mental boundary in a fairly confined space of no more than four meters on each side.
James suggests walking the square with eyes open at first, and then eyes closed when the practitioner feels comfortable with the exercise. James recommends this mindfulness exercise as a way of becoming present in the world and achieving spaciousness of mind, which is key for meditation practice.
In James’ own words…
It reminds us that the pacing of the smallest square is no different that walking the earth. We are essentially in the same place, just another perfect moment in time. This helps us slow down, stop the striving and stop grasping onto the future. Thoughts of “I must do” slip away as we focus purely on the step we are taking in the pace of reality.
This type of meditation is perfectly suited to listening to binaural beats, which will assist you in cultivating a spacious, centered mind. James says that the practitioner should
Concentrate on each step. Each step represents a moment in time, which in turn represents life itself – a series of moments strung together to create the illusion of time, which ultimately becomes your life. Let thoughts bounce off your mind without paying attention to their presence. Simply focus on slowly pacing the exact lines of your square. Don’t go outside or inside of the square. If you do, simply re-join the perimeter. Let your emotions fall away in the realisation that nothing matters except being here, right now, walking this square in this moment.
A Few Considerations for Your Walking Meditation
It should be noted that while you can achieve a meditative state using this walking meditation, it would take a fair amount of practice to shake of the constant consciousness of your steps and subsequent movement.
It is extremely difficult to let go when attempting to meditate in the traditional way, let alone moving at the same time.
For this reason, Alfred James suggests the mental boundary of the square, so that in time the practitioner will take the steps on autopilot using the subconscious mind, rather than being consciously aware of every step. This will allow for the mental spaciousness required to let go of the physical world and fall awake into a meditative state.
Combining this walking meditation with a theta binaural beats recording such as Deep Meditation, Spiritual Awakening or Chill Pill, for example, will increase your ability to detach from worldly distractions and invasive thought processes.
Walking meditation presents a wonderful alternative to traditional meditation, and using the technique described in this post it can be highly conducive to mindfulness – letting go of attachment and becoming fully present to create a foundation for clear seeing.
However, its adaptation must be executed correctly and with consideration of what one is trying to achieve, otherwise one is likely to end up focused on the physical action rather than the spiritual “being”.