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Walking Meditation

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Recently the truly wise Bruce Morgen (see his Words of Wisdom website at: http://www.atman.net/realization/ turned me on to a teacher I had not been aware of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 10, 2013
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      Recently the truly wise Bruce Morgen (see his Words
      of Wisdom website at: http://www.atman.net/realization/
      turned me on to a teacher I had not been aware of before,
      Kenneth Folk http://kennethfolkdharma.com/ I then enjoyed
      very much reading lots of what he shares as well as
      watching YouTube videos by and about him. Here we have a
      nice sample Kenneth has given us permission to use. Enjoy!


      Walking Meditation

      I used to hate walking meditation as taught by my
      American vipassana teachers. The slowness of it was
      painful to me, and I rarely felt that I was doing it
      right. I practiced walking meditation between sits on
      retreat because there was nothing else to do. Then,
      while on a one-year retreat in Asia, I noticed that
      the Burmese yogis often walked fast, or at normal speed.
      They didn't even always walk in a straight line.
      Sometimes they walked in a circle, or wandered. My whole
      idea of what walking meditation could be opened up to
      almost infinite possibilities, as did my relationship
      to it. Where I used to grudgingly use walking as a way
      to kill time or to set up the sittings, nowadays I use
      the sittings to set up walking. Formal walking meditation
      is just one step away from awareness during daily life
      activities, so I love the utilitarian aspect of it.
      I walk fast, I walk in the woods, I stop, I squat down,
      I stand still, I stare off into spaceĀ… what I rarely do,
      though, is pay attention to my feet. I do breath-counting
      1-10, starting over when I get lost, or I notice the
      breath at the mouth and nostrils, or I play with putting
      the locus of awareness outside the body, and watching as
      from above; I love walking meditation.

      Here is just one creative way to do it, inspired by a
      Shinzen Young technique that Shinzen in turn attributes
      to Sasaki-roshi:

      Walking with expanding and contracting energy

      Set aside some time to walk without distraction. Decide
      in advance how much time to spend on this session and do
      what I call the "mental mezuzah;" imagine touching the
      mezuzah and saying, "for this period of time, I'm leaving
      all of my planning and worries with you. I'll pick them up
      on the way out." This conscious commitment, for a finite
      period of time, is the key to remaining relatively
      undistracted during the session. Without it, the mind
      worries that all of the important things that need to be
      done will never get done, leading to catastrophe. So you
      make a bargain with your "thinker;" you promise that you'll
      get back to those important things, but for this 15 or
      30 minute period, we're going to let go of all that and
      just be present. It's a mini-vacation.

      The walking can be done outside, preferably when few people
      are around, or it can be done in your own living room. You
      just need 15 feet or so to pace back and forth. Walk at
      whatever speed is comfortable for you. Stop and start whenever
      you feel like it. Follow your gut, there are no rules.

      Imagine an energy field around your body, something like a
      magnetic field or a cocoon. Don't worry if it isn't clearly

      Notice that in any given moment, the energy seems to be
      either expanding or contracting. It's either moving outward infinitely toward the ends of the universe, or it's pulling
      back into the core of your body. If it's expanding, gently
      and silently note to yourself, "out." If it's contracting,
      gently note to yourself, "in." At first it will seem subtle,
      as though you are imagining it. Later, it will be obvious
      and undeniable. Don't rush. If you feel yourself tensing up,
      remember to breathe, and relax the tension.

      Expect nothing. See what happens.

      Kenneth Folk
      January, 2010
      (Revised, March 2011)
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