Learning to Walk

I started taking the Be Calm, Be Happy class with Plum Village UK this week. In the first class we received some input on walking meditation.

I have tried this before but realise after some instruction that I have been going way to fast!

Yesterday morning, like a good student, I set off to a local park to practice. This park is small and has a long loop of winding path perfect for some mindful steps. It was strange to be there with other people, children on their way to school, early morning dog walkers. I felt a bit self conscious (mindful moment!).

I worked with trying to time my steps to my breath. The minute I thought about breathing it seemed very slow, my steps too, were therefore very slow. In the class I had noticed that once I thought about walking, once I focused on it in a conscious way, my steps became very unsteady, I was unbalanced and wobbly, like a toddler. It seems that when I walk to get somewhere momentum carries me without the wobble. When I think about my steps, though,the whole process becomes much more complex.

Of course sometimes I would begin to think, wondering if people were wondering what I was doing, thankful that Simon had come with me so I didn’t feel like a complete loon…then I would catch myself and return to the breath. In, out, left foot, right foot.

Time slowed down and it felt like I had, on some level, been walking forever. I walked in the drizzly, cold morning, noticing the bird song, and gradually enjoying the process, the steady flow of breath, step, breath, step. There was a gentle rhythm that felt soothing.

I had to slow right down. And take very small steps.

Which feels like a metaphor for life.