This morning, we did something different in meditation class: a walking meditation. About 20 of us went across the street to the park, our teacher Jamie struck a chime on his singing bowl, and we were off.
I shut my eyes and started out. At first, I couldn’t get the self-conscious grin off my face, thinking how silly I must look to the passing cars and pedestrians. But then I stopped thinking and began to focus – partly because I had to.
With my eyes closed, each step was an adventure. Lift the leg… bring it forward… wobble slightly on the other… put the leg down. At one point, the ground wasn’t where I expected it to be and I fell forward slightly. Ah, expectations… valuable lesson there. Stop thinking. Back to mindfulness. One step at a time, with full curiosity about each subsequent step. So different when you remove your ego with its endless expectations.
There were big trees in the park, and I worried I might walk smack into one. But as I focused closely on each step, I could feel the ground changing under me. Some slight softening of the earth, coupled with an incline, signaled that I was nearing a tree. Something would tell me to stop and I’d open my eyes slightly and I’d see a tree either in front of me or next to me.
We did this for 25 minutes, but it seemed like a matter of seconds. I could have done it all day. It was the best meditation I’ve had yet — a powerful demonstration of the benefits of staying firmly in the present moment and paying rapt attention to it. We are, after all, walking through a park with our eyes closed… if only we knew it.