My Experience With Meditation Walking, March 17th, 2017

Something that has been a part of my life for years: meditation walking. Actually, I didn’t realize I was evening doing it until recently. I just knew mindful walking calmed me down, grounded me, and allowed me to realign my thoughts, feelings, and intentions with the present moment. It recently just clicked WHY my time outside (usually walking my dog) was my most treasured and valuable alone time.
I believe it started in college. I would typically walk (or ride my bike) to class. I was a HOT MESS in college. Seriously. (But that’s a tangent for another time…) These 15 minutes or so alone with my own thoughts and feelings were one of the few things I did right in college. I did a lot of things wrong when it came to my own self-care during that time, but I am 100% sure that this act of mindful walking influenced the human I am today.
That sounds extreme. But it’s true.
You may read the rest of this post and think- “that’s not mediation walking”. Well…. it is to me. Call it whatever you want. There are directions for mediation walking all over the Internet: how fast to walk, what to do with your hands, what to think, how to react to your thoughts etc. All of this is valuable and helpful, but some of it differs from my own practice. My practice was something that developed naturally and organically due overwhelming thoughts, self-dissatisfaction, anxiety, and profound worry during college. These 15 minutes or so forced me to self-reflect on my circumstances and how I was responding to them. In my mindful walking, I am not alone- but I am having a continual dialogue with God. I am opening my heart and soul while allowing him to directed my thoughts and feelings and attitude towards these. (Perhaps my practice should be called “prayerful walking”.)
Honestly, I think it began with music- when I would walk to class with my Ipod and headphones on. (Believe it or not, music can be a part of meditation). Music is extremely important to me. It has always turned me inward and given me insight into myself. It heightens my feelings and brings them out of me so I can deal with them appropriately. With mediation, I personally am not always looking for a state of relaxation, but a state of mindfulness and prayerfulness with whatever thoughts come up. Whatever it is, I deal with it peacefully, non-aggressively, and without judgment. Music inspires me do this. I can listen to a song a million times, and still, when I am walking, a certain lyric will jump out at me and influence me and my thoughts in a certain way right then.
I practice this kind of mindfulness when I am outside walking my dog. I doesn’t’ matter how many people are around, I put on my headphones and open my heart to hear from God. I relish a state of reverence towards Him that sets me right with myself. It puts everything into perspective. While walking, I am hyper-vigilant of nature and the world around me. I notice the beauty of the towering pines or the waving palm trees, the running stream or the waves, the wind, the grass or pinecones, the animals scurrying or flying around me. (Geez did I just sound like Snow White?! Hah!) Even if you are in the middle of the city, there is still always the sky to take notice of- to appreciate. In all of this I send praises to the Creator for this marvelous creation.
I turn my thoughts inward whenever I am inspired to do so. But instead of being alone- I invite God in as well. My mediation is not to set my thoughts right with myself, but to set them right with God. In doing this, I am reminded not to get so wrapped up in my preconceived ideas of how the day or my life should go, but to be fluid and alert to His plans. I deal with my thoughts as they come and go. I focus on my breathing and my response towards them. I pray about them and hand things that are out of my control to Him. I come to terms with my circumstances and let go of any anxiety that surrounds them. Everything will be alright. Why worry about tomorrow or even the next hour? All I have to do is be present in this one and live it with intent.
This is how I meditate- I prayerfully walk. This practice heals my soul. The purpose of this kind of walk is not solely to exercise my body- but to get into that deep communication with Him that revives my soul and calms my mind. Honestly, it works wonders for me. There are days that I get in my head so much that I drop everything, grab Iroh, and head out for a 15 minutes walk. I come back refreshed and re-vitalized.
I’ll have to say my most magical mediation walks were in Arkansas- where there would be nothing around but me, Iroh (my dog), and the woods. To me, this is the definition of peace. No distractions. Just reuniting a human with nature and its Creator.
Regardless of where you find yourself, I am confident this kind of mindful walking can be done anywhere. I encourage you to discover what works for you and practice that. Whether that includes music or prayer is up to you. I don’t think there is any wrong way to be more mindful in our lives.