Our everyday existence is full of motion and activity. Sitting utterly motionless for hours on end is nearly the opposite of normal experience. Walking meditation helps us make that transition from static repose to everyday life. Walking is especially good for those times when you are extremely restless. An hour of walking meditation will often get you through that restless energy and still yield considerable quantities of clarity. You can then go on to the seated meditation with greater profit.
Stand for a minute in an attentive position. Your arms can be held in any way that is comfortable, in front, in back, or at your sides. Then while breathing in, lift the heel of one foot. While breathing out, rest that foot on its toes. Again while breathing in, lift that foot, carry it forward and while breathing out, bring the foot down and touch the floor. Repeat this for the other foot. Walk. Pay attention to your sensations. Pay attention to your body, not the things surrounding you.
Every action you perform is made up of separate components. In order to promote the overall habit of mindfulness, you can perform simple activities at very low speed – making an effort to pay full attention to every nuance of the act. Sitting at a table and drinking a cup of tea is one example. There is much here to be experienced. View your posture as you are sitting and feel the handle of the cup between your fingers. Smell the aroma of the tea, notice the placement of the cup, the tea, your arm, and the table. Watch the intention to raise the arm arise within your mind, feel the arm as it raises, feel the cup against your lips and the liquid pouring into your mouth. Taste the tea, then watch the arising of the intention to lower your arm.
Paying attention to your breathing
Total concentration on the ever-changing breath brings us squarely into the present moment. The same principle can be used in the midst of movement. You can coordinate the activity in which you are involved with your breathing.
Every spare moment can be used for meditation. Sitting anxiously in the dentist’s office, meditate on your anxiety. Feeling irritated while standing in a line at the bank, meditate on irritation. Bored, twiddling you thumbs at the bus stop, meditate on boredom.
Try to stay alert and aware throughout the day. Be mindful of exactly what is taking place right now, even if it is tedious drudgery. Take advantage of moments when you are alone.
You should try to maintain mindfulness of every activity and perception through the day, starting with the first perception when you awake, and ending with the last thought before you fall asleep.
The most feasible way to go about the task is to divide your day up into chunks. Dedicate a certain interval to mindfulness of posture, then extend this mindfulness to other simple activities: eating, washing, dressing, and so forth. Some time during the day, you can set aside 15 minutes or so to practice the observation of specific types of mental states: pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings, for instance; or the hindrances, or thoughts. The specific routine is up to you.
Try to achieve a daily routine in which there is as little difference as possible between seated meditation and the rest of your experience. If you are moving through your daily activities and you find yourself in a state of boredom, then meditate on your boredom. Find out how it feels, how it works, and what it is composed of. If you are angry, meditate on the anger. Explore the mechanics of anger. Don’t run from it.
The practice of mindfulness is supposed to be a universal practice. You don’t do it sometimes and drop it the rest of the time. You do it all the time. Meditation that is successful only when you are withdrawn in some soundproof ivory tower is still undeveloped.