Fancy getting out in the open and practising a little mindfulness? Stephanie Brookes shares one of her fave meditations which can be done on the move…
If you have difficulty walking, this exercise can be done just as well by finding a spot outside where you can sit and take in your surroundings in greater detail. Becoming more mindful awakens the senses and helps us to notice more around us.
How many times, for example, have you stopped in your tracks to answer your cellphone and, as you look around, your gaze lands on something you hadn’t noticed before, even though you might have passed by that spot every day. You can, however, make time for yourself, so you don’t miss what is right in front of you.
1 Start the exercise mindfully by preparing for your walk; bring your focus to the preliminary activity of pulling on your boots or zipping up a jacket to help set yourself in the right frame of mind.
2 As you leave your home, bring your attention to the activity in hand. It is likely you will be carrying your cellphone, and I realize that this is a necessity for most people, but if you can turn it off temporarily, all the better. You could always let your loved ones know that you won’t be available for the next 30 minutes, or however long you plan to be, so that they have peace of mind. Alternatively, just switch your cell to silent so that you can check in if you need to.
3 As you set off on your walk, keep your pace even and steady.
4 As you walk, think about how your body feels and the impact of each step: Are you balanced and in control? What terrain are you walking on? Are you on a flat surface, stones, grass? Think about what you are experiencing underfoot, not just your location.
5 Halfway through your walk, sit down and take in a more stationary perspective; this will give you the opportunity to not only refuel, but to take stock of your surroundings.
6 As you continue on the move you will also find yourself having to interact with other people, such as minding your step or stopping and starting to allow people to pass. Although we may be taking our time to walk with consideration, many others will not, so don’t let them be a distraction. These need not be obstacles to your mindful walking, but can be integrated into the experience.
7 When you arrive home and have come to the end of your mindful walking, take a moment to think about what you experienced. You will likely be surprised to find that you remember your walk with much more clarity and in more detail then usual.
Walking with a greater sense of presence can help us to enjoy something as simple as getting out of the house; it becomes a richer, more rewarding activity. To add variety to this exercise, walk in various different locations to keep yourself interested.
Check out our meditation feature in the January 2015 issue of Soul & Spirit, you can buy the digital editions from your Nook, Kindle or Android libraries or from the iStore.