Mindfully Walking, Touching Peace With Each Step

Lions walking mindfully

Thich Nhat Hahn teaches us that mindful walking is one of the most powerful tools we have to reconnect with the present moment, step by step, throughout our busy days. I recently listened to a webcast of Thay’s talk at the Understanding Our Mind retreat in Thailand, on March 26, and it reminded me about the transformative power of mindful walking.  Here, I have extracted the essence of his teachings on mindful walking to help us all touch more peace.

Thay said the following:

 “Many of us are hungry for love, understanding and peace.  We can curb this hunger and get nourishment and joy from every step we make.  Every step can bring us back to the present moment.  Every step can make us solid...

We are solid because we are not pulled back to the past or pulled forward into the future.  Many of us are imprisoned by our memories and sufferings in the past.  We cannot enjoy the present moment.  And, many of us are filled with fear and anxiety about the future...

A mindful step can help us to be free and solid.  Every mindful step helps us cultivate more solidity so that we are free from the regret and sorrow of the past as well as uncertainty, anxiety and fear concerning the future...

Happiness is not possible without solidity. There is no true happiness without freedom...

As we walk throughout the day, practice walking in such a way that every step helps us to be solid and free."

Here is how to put mindful walking into practice:  When you are walking from one side of the room to the other, from your desk to the water fountain or from one building to another, be aware of the contact of your feet with the earth.  Visualize yourself making deep imprints on the ground, like a lion leaving their footprints on the earth as they walk. 

Be aware of the air as it enters your body.  It may help you to discover how many steps you usually make comfortably for an in-breath and how many steps for an out-breath. The out breath is usually longer than the in breath.

When you breathe in, you may say to yourself
I have arrived in the here and now.

Paying attention to our breath instantly connects our body to our mind and generates the energy of mindfulness.  Mindfulness helps us to truly arrive.  If you are concentrated enough, you can arrive at 100%.

When you breathe out, you may say to yourself
I am arrived.  I am home.

True home is in the here and now where life is possible. Walking like this frees us from all regrets, sorrow, anxieties and fear.  Walking like this will bring us more solidity and peace.

Photo by Waldec, from the Creative Commons.