Published in The Art of Wellbeing Magazine, 2009
There are various pathways that guide us in our quest for wholeness and unification with our innermost self. One pathway that I have come to cherish is Walking Meditation. This method seems to nurture me, relax me, and provide the space and time I need to be alone with myself in satisfying, restful and renewing introspection. This is true whether I walk or whether I simply practice Meditative Breathing and the other skills associated with this healing art.
My life, and maybe yours, has often been embedded with personal and family challenges. Because of this and the unspoken spirituality of my grandfather and the overt spirituality of my great grandmother I have always been an emotional-spiritual seeker. I spent my early childhood on my Grandparent's farm along the Little Kanawah River, and because of these years I love the out-of-doors and the peaceful stillness I experience when I am close to flowing water. My heritage is a blend of traditional and non-traditional Protestant, Catholic and Native American spirituality. My Grandfather taught me reverence for life and nature through conversations and shared activities like caring for animals, planting the vegetable garden, picking apples from the orchard and making apple cider and apple butter, and spending time together walking in the pasture fields and the forest around the farm. He taught me the names of local tress and natural vegetation, and I knew which were edible and which were medicinal. We often made healing tea from plants we found in the woods and from leaves we picked from the Sassafras trees. My great grandmother was a spiritual woman who told me stories that gave me glimpses of what is possible when we are connected to the universal flow of life. From a very early age I was deeply dedicated to living a spiritual path. I knew that peace could always be found within nature...and that meant that it could always be found within me...because I am a part of nature.
In the 1990's I fell in love with Tai Chi and related philosophies that seemed to flow so naturally into my earliest views of life and spirit. My understanding and practice of Walking Meditation is a reflection of the wisdom shared in the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, the modern day Father of this healing art. Also reflected in my practice are the energy healing modalities I use, my quest to live within the universal flow of love that resides within each of us and my reverence for the Earth's natural beauty and wisdom. As a student of Walking Meditation, I realize that if we open our hearts and minds to a broader understanding, we become limitless in our abilities to heal, grow and understand.
What can a Walking Meditation practice that blends living within our innermost Self, our personal religious-spiritual beliefs and a now focused life do for us? Each of us has our own answer because our life and issues are unique. However, there are many benefits that each of us can expect to obtain through regular practice. The resulting growth begins where we are now and becomes a steady, ever-evolving process. Here are some benefits that you and I can expect from our practice of Walking Meditation.
1.A practice that creates the opportunity and environment to heal whatever we feel we need to heal: physical, emotional or spiritual.
2.A flexible practice that we can alter daily to meet our needs as they arise.
3.A sense of peaceful satisfaction and self-efficacy derived from knowing and practicing a growth, healing and stress reduction method that is easy, free and dependable.
4.The knowledge that we are becoming acquainted with our soul-self.
5.A means to enhance and reinforce our own innate intuition
6.A daily chance to live life in a way that is healing for the Earth.
7.An opportunity to grow our peacefulness, our joy and our compassion.
8.The ability to gain a sense of connection and groundness within a now focused life.
9.A way to learn to smile, love ourself, others, and life.
10.A pathway to stillness, to the presence within, and to the universally available presence that is the maker of all that we know.
Walking meditation is now focused activity. The destination for our walk is within each step. The speed and length of our walk is determined by the walk itself, the health and fitness of our body, the place we are walking, and our mood. This is not a speed walk or a power walk. It is a quiet and restful time that brings rejuvenation to our body because of gentle movement and the mindful, calming nature of the experience. It might take a change of perspective to open to the various possibilities.
Center yourself by using quiet standing and breathing. Once centered begin to walk.
Choose an emphasis for the walk: Relaxation, healing, self-knowledge, appreciation for nature.
Concentrate on the miracle of movement, your breathing, and your feet touching the earth and the earth returning that touch OR
Concentrate on the flow of energy that can be felt in your hands as you walk.
Stay present-moment focused by using one of the concentration methods above.
Add a silently spoken affirmative phrase to your stepping and breathing: “I am happy and content”. “I am at peace”. “I am at home (meaning at home in my body)”. “I am safe”.
End your walk by standing quietly and contemplating the experience.
Go on with your day feeling more centered, relaxed, loving, and in touch with what is real in your life.
“Once we walk within the perfect energy flow of Creation, all levels of things are possible. We are not perfect, but are given an opportunity to grow within the image of perfection that is shared with us, and is in fact part of us...” Janet Nestor: Pathways to Wholeness:Walking Meditation, Mindful Breathing, Bioenergetic Healing and Spititual Development, (2010)
Janet Nestor is a Self-Empowerment Guide, Diplomat in Energy Psychology, and Mental Health Therapist who practices holistically. You can find her Facebook Pathways to Wholeness Mindfulness Discussion page at www.facebook.com/pathwaystowholeness
To purchase her book Pathways to Wholeness click http://amzn.to/c9cyP6. Her bi-monthly articles appear in Sibyl on line ezine for women. Introduce yourself to Sibyl ezine by clicking http://sibylmagazine.com/
Her blog, www.mindfulpathways.com is a great place to get to know her, find information about her classes and download your free mindfulness meditations.
To learn about the September food Issues class co-lead by Life Coach Sheri Kaye Hoff click http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?Clk=4421195
Please join Janet's Twitter family at http://twitter.com/#!/JanetNestor and when you do write her a note to say hello! Her tweets are identified by #mindfulpathways.