Today we explore walking meditation. This can be done in a number of ways. Here we explore the Wu Wei walking meditation.
A Kabbalistic version can be done by the following exercise also.
The Taoist practice of “aimless wandering” through places of great natural beauty is a wonderful way to cultivate Wu Wei. As we practice, little by little we revive our capacity to move in the world with the kind of joyful ease and spontaneity that we see in young children. At the same time, we are nourished deeply by the elemental energies – by the plants, minerals and animals, the earth and the sky.
Time Required: 30-45 minutes, or longer if you’d like
1. Choose a place to practice. This might be your neighborhood park, the courtyard of an apartment complex, a mountain meadow, or a forest with a gentle stream flowing through it. What’s important is that it be a place where you can connect with the elements of the natural world, and a place that you feel inspired by.
2. Sit or lie down directly on the earth. (You can use a blanket underneath, if you’d prefer.) Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep slow breaths, and feel your connection to the earth beneath you. Feel the breath moving into and out of your body. Let go of any thoughts of past or future, as though there were no past or future – only this delicious moment, here and now.
3. Now open your eyes, and let your gaze gently scan your surroundings, noticing and appreciating the beauty of this place. Notice also what you’re hearing (birdsong perhaps), smelling (the scent of pine needles) and feeling (a gentle breeze on your face).
4. Next, let yourself begin to wander – to stroll about in this beautiful place, without an agenda of any sort. Be guided by what catches your eye, or perhaps a mysterious sound, or perhaps just your intuition saying: “let’s see what lies in this direction.”
5. Feel free to pause whenever you’d like, to sit or lie down again, or to examine something in great detail: to notice the texture of lichen on a rock, or the innermost folds of a blossoming rose. As you explore in this way, do your best to remain at a feeling and sensing level, without a lot of mental analysis.
6. If you notice that you’ve gotten lost in thoughts of the past or the future, no problem – simply bring yourself back to the practice: to wandering about, carefree as a child, in this beautiful place, letting your curiosity and gratitude guide you.
7. When your allotted time for the practice is up, or when your intuition tells you it’s time to end the session, sit down once again, and take a couple of deep slow breaths. Generate a feeling of gratitude for having the opportunity to spend time in such a beautiful place. Notice how you feel, in your body.
8. Then bring that energy with you, though the rest of your day!
1. Don’t worry if this feels a bit awkward at first. Many of us are so used to structuring our days with agendas and schedules and check-lists, that moving in a more spontaneous way can feel a bit odd at first. But you’ll soon remember how wonderful it is!
2. Be clear about the difference between this practice of “aimless wandering” and simply spacing out! Spacing out is what happens when we are drawn into thoughts of the past or future – when we get sucked into a “movie” being created by our thoughts. Aimless wandering brings us into the fields of our senses, and into a direct relationship with the elements of the natural world.
3. Notice the difference between honoring your own intuitive desire to move in one direction or another, and engaging in judgment. The sweetness of the “aimless wandering” practice is that there is no absolute “right” or “wrong” way to do it. Each of us discovers what’s right for us!
4. As you become more adept at the practice, your sensitivity to the energies of the place will increase. Enjoy this!
What You Need:
· a precious human body
· a place of great natural beauty
· a blanket to lie on, if you’d like