For this week’s spiritual practice, we’ll explore walking meditation.  Perhaps the easiest definition of this practice is meditation in action.  It’s about practicing mindfulness while moving.  There are many forms of walking meditation.  When I first learned walking meditation in seminary, we all got up as a class and walked around a large classroom at Andover Newton in silence.  We were invited to walk slowly and deliberately, focusing on each breath.  At first, it felt silly to all be walking in silence in circles around a classroom.  But what was amazing is that after awhile, if you really focused on your breathing and let your mind quiet down, you did somehow reach a different level of consciousness.  

Think of whirling dervishes in the Sufi tradition.  Their movement is a form of physically active meditation.  This practice is unique to Sufis, of course, but can bring to mind forms of active meditation in many religious traditions. 

Below are a few forms of walking meditation you may like to try, revised and adapted by yours truly.  These walks were originally shared with me by my Spiritual Director when I was on an 8 Day Silent Retreat at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, MA last year.  And I encourage you to give some of them a try!

1.) All My Relations Walk
-The purpose of this walking meditation is to consciously pay attention to the relationships that exist in our natural world.  How does the wind move through the trees?  How does the light show up at particular times of day?  How do birds communicate with one another?  Notice all of the relationships present in the natural world.  End this walk with a gesture of gratitude, thanking God for the beauty of relationships all around.

2.) Being as a Blessing Walk
-Go out into a natural setting and ask, “Who am I in this family of living things?  How am I part of the natural world?  How is the natural world part of me?”  Set your intention to just be within the natural world.  Have humility as you notice that you are just one small part within the Spirit’s community of living beings.  Remember that you are not a human doing, you are a human being.

3.) Gratitude Walk
-Expressing gratitude is one way to praise God.  We can express appreciation to God for everything and everyone we encounter, and that is the intention of this walk.  Notice all that is around you and find a way to express gratitude.  “Thank you, God, for this tree that teaches me the power of being rooted.”  “Thank you, God, for the sun that teaches me to shine my own light.”  What lessons can you learn from creation?  Can you thank God and have gratitude for all living things? 

Pastor Lauren 

Thursday Thoughts 7/29/21

Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash