The act of ‘meditation’ seems to have multiple definitions. Ask around and you’ll hear all sorts of ideas, often prefaced with hesitance or confusion about the subject.
It’s just emptying your brain, right?
I hear that one most often. And it’s a little bit true, from my perspective. If I had to offer a definition of meditation based on my experiences, it would be the act of focusing on the present moment, often in silence, allowing yourself to listen to the thoughts that pop up in your mind — without judgment. For me, it’s about being aware of what’s happening right now and listening to subtle hunches or gut feelings.
Meditation is when you connect to yourself, not all the things around you.
The other day, I decided to use my morning work break to go for a walk. I intentionally decided to unplug. That meant no music. No podcast. No Insight Timer.
My goal was to walk — and feel the sun.
At first, it felt a little awkward, since I often use solo walks to catch up on podcasts or listen to recorded meditations. Instead, my intention was to just absorb the summer day.
As I made my way around the neighborhood, I took note of the ideas that bubbled up and thought it might be fun to share what happened during a simple 15- minute walking meditation.
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First off, this post. I decided it might be an interesting topic for you. People tell me meditation is difficult or they think they aren’t doing it right. (FYI: Sit or walk in silence. That’s it. You’re doing it right.) So, I made a mental note to write about this experience to help educate and inspire others.
Next, I noticed a huge magenta and yellow peony flower. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the blooms on my own peony plants and was surprised to see a neighbor’s plant in full bloom. The blossoms were gorgeous and fragrant. I stopped to snap a photo.
With my nostrils filled with flowery perfume, I thought about a dream I had the other night and what it might mean. It helped me put a few puzzle pieces in place about something I’ve been worrying about. I felt a sense of understanding.
Later, I noticed an unkempt yard with an uncommon, swirly metal fence around an abandoned garden bed. I liked the rusty metal shape and tangled blades of grass. I took a photo. I love photography, so it’s not surprising it’s often paired with a walking meditation.
Finally, a perspective I had about an ongoing concern shifted. Again with the puzzle pieces. I was able to visualize a change to help commit the shift to memory. Here’s hoping that sticks. It will ease some of that earlier worry I mentioned.
I was almost home and I noticed some trees being trimmed. My memory drifted to last fall when we did the same in our yard, and our loving senior dog was still by our side at that time, playing in the leaves. I cried. Then I thanked the universe for having her in our lives for 15 years. Grief is shifting to gratitude.
That’s it. I allowed my mind to drift. I acted on my little hunches to stop and snap a few photos. I let my thoughts bubble up and work themselves out. For me, that was a meditation walk.
Just me and my thoughts.
I read an article yesterday that mentioned how overstimulated we are most of the time, even when we don’t realize it. Cellphone notification pings. Music playing. TVs on. People talking around us. Children asking for things. Co-workers making eye contact. Piles of clutter making us feel behind. Lists begging us to get things done. Dishes needing to be washed. You get the idea.
A walking meditation can temporarily take you away from an overload of stimuli so you can mentally relax. When your mind isn’t processing all that incoming information, it can finally process deeper thoughts and ideas.
Have you ever wondered why you get great ideas in the shower or when you’re relaxing on vacation? Because you can actually think!
So, that’s my take on a walking meditation. What you do or experience will likely differ. After all, we are all individuals. I know some people who only walk in forested areas, or who go barefoot for a greater connection to the earth. Do what works for you. Once you figure out what that is, make time for it.
Until next time,
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