Mindful (Walking) Meditation

On my walk through Bidjigal Reserve

Everyone needs something to help them re-centre themselves.  So often we hear about the benefits of meditation and yet the regular practice of it seems an impossible dream (to me at least!).  I’ve never been able to successfully meditate, at least the sitting-down, eyes-closed, thumb-and-forefinger-together version of meditation.  What I’ve discovered is that I can “meditate” while I’m doing my exercise.

When we’re ungrounded, off-centre or “all in our heads” life can seem all out of whack.  It’s at these times that we’re most likely to make mistakes, forget things, have little accidents or fly off the handle.  Who needs that! It’s when we feel balanced, together or “earthed” that we take better care of ourselves, eat less, make better choices, rush less and respond more calmly in stressful situations.  Ok!  So it’s a great idea to be centred.  Why then is it so hard to do it?  Why do we spend so little time on it?  Because we forget?  Because we don’t realise we need it?  Because it’s important but not urgent? All of these I suspect.

Following the path of nature

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told I need to ground myself, find my centre and love myself more!  For years I ignored it but then slowly, gently, inevitably I’ve woken up to what Stephen Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” calls sharpening the saw.  I think I’m beginning to master it!  I think I’ve had to slow down in order to make room or space for it.  I’ve had to learn to trust in the process of life and that all things really do come to you if you’re patient.  Now that I’m older I can see the order of things.  From little things big things grow…if you don’t kill it first!

Nature has been my teacher.  For many people time spent in nature (or in the garden) is their sacred time, like going to church! It is for me.  Paying attention or being mindful while I’m  walking releases me from all my worries and woes that are present in my life.  It’s blessed relief.  This is meditation. Space, space, space.  Space between thoughts – the unrelenting, nagging thoughts of what you’ve still got to do. We ALWAYS have more to do!

I invite you to commence the virtuous circle of self care. If you’re not meditating in some form, start something, anything – walking, yoga, guided visualisations, meditation classes.  If you’re already doing these things, do them mindfully.  Switch off your mind by switching on your senses.  Feel the cool air on your skin while you’re walking, feel the sun on your face, hear the birds or the crickets, smell the undergrowth and rotting leaves, pay attention to the colours, the dappled light and the shadows.  The more you do it, the calmer and simpler your life will be.  You’ll be more present.  You’ll laugh more, fight less and love more.  You’ll sleep better, rush less and tell the truth more.  Life will work itself out.  XX

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