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Spiritual Toolbox: Meditation - Walking in the World

Posted: 07/20/09 12:05 AM ET

Today's blog is Part One of a three-part "Spiritual Toolbox" series on meditation.

When I told a friend that I was preparing this blog, she gave me a copy of The Time Paradox, a recent book by Stanford psychology professor Philip Zimbardo. My conversation with Dr. Zimbardo at the APA convention in 2007 has been very helpful for my dissertation, so I immediately opened the book.

On the page was this statement: "Conscientious People Live Longer" (p. xv).

I laughed out loud -- because these next three blogs are on meditation. Meditation has long been recognized as a path to conscious and conscientious living. Sitting in silence is one form of meditation. There are also many other ways to meditate throughout the day. Today's blog provides suggestions for two ways to walk in the world.


WALKING MEDITATION #1

Name an issue that is of concern to you,
something you'd like more clarity about.
Be open to seeing your concern in a new way.
Be open to letting go of your concern for this time,
and trusting it to a wider Wisdom.

Then go out for a walk.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to what you see . . .
flowers, trees, clouds, ocean, sky.
and
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to what you hear . . .
the birds, children playing . . .
and
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to what you smell . . .
the flowers, the grass, a river or ocean, . . .
and
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

As you walk, be present:
pay attention to your breathing,
pay attention to how you are walking on the earth.

When you return home,
notice what remains with you from your walk.
Consider how this gives you insight into your concern,
and acknowledge the clarity you have been given.


WALKING MEDITATION #2

In her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard writes this:

The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see. And like Billy Bray I go my way, and my left foot says 'Glory,' and my right foot says 'Amen': in and out of Shadow Creek, upstream and down, exultant, in a daze, dancing, to the twin silver trumpets of praise" (pp. 270-71).

This paragraph became the inspiration for another walking meditation.

As you go walking, try this:

When you take a step with your left foot, breathe the word "Glory."
When you take a step with your right foot, breathe the word "Amen."