Walking is so familiar that it gives us a unique opportunity to look deeper within. Since we are just walking, it would be difficult to seek something extraordinary or exciting. And yet within this simple movement, there is so much we can explore.
All the same work we began with jogging — working with various breath patterns and manipulating the course of impact waves through body — can be continued with walking. The impacts are smaller so we’ll need to use more sensitivity, but this greater sensitivity allows us to see small variations in greater detail.
Furthermore, because walking can easily be slowed and tempered to a very calm, even meditative state, it facilitates deeper inquiry while moving. So within movement we can explore such things as minute sensations, ego volition, and spacial perception.
STEP BY STEP
1. Walk very slowly and monitor every minute sensation as weight shifts and various pressures and tensions travel through the body. Bit by bit try to adjust your walking to reduce overall tension and any tension that seems to stick out or rise above the overall tone. At first it will just seem to move around from one place to another, but slowly see if you can balance out all the tensions … as much as possible. :)
2. Experiment with placing your attention in the feet, then the calves, knees, thighs, hips, lower back, upper back. Shoulders, neck. Make note of any changes in your walking as you shift your attention to different places. Experiment with generating the walking movement from different areas. There are so many subtly different ways to walk!
3. Close your eyes, and walk around the room. Note how this changes where you place your attention. As you walk, note any anxiety or fear that builds around running into something or not know where you are. And note proximity to walls and object can create a kind of pressure. Relax yourself and walk in such a way that running into something will not injure you. Don’t worry if you run into things, but pay attention to any self-judgment and your desire to do well.
a. If you’re ambulatory, there is hardly another exercise that you will have more opportunity to practice. Walking is fundamental movement in our daily lives. Use your everyday walking as an opportunity for practice.
b. If you’re not ambulatory, every practice we have done can be modified to whatever level or type of movement you can manage. The walking part, or the jogging, or push-ups, rolls, or whatever, is just a variety of movements that provide stimulus for inquiry. Find this stimulus within your own movement and activity, pay attention to your body, sensations, thoughts, and do the same kinds of inquiry.
c. There is no excuse not to look into and try to understand yourself. Even if we are on our deathbed, we can look and understand what gets left, what remains, what we are not, and what we really are. True happiness and peace can come from nothing else but recognition of our true nature.
When we walk, we usually perceive ourselves as moving through space or through the world. In other words, what we think of as internal we perceive as moving, while what we think of as external we perceive as being static or stationary. But this is just a particular way of looking at things.
As an experiment, try to see things the other way around. In other words, when you walk try to see yourself as remaining stationary while your walking moves the world — and the entire universe — around you. This may take a little work at first. If you need to, close your eyes and imagine empty space moving around you as you walk.
If you get it, the feeling may be a bit disorienting at first. Suddenly you are seeing the yourself and the world in a whole different way. This is just a step in exploring perception. This kind of exercise can point toward seeing all views as conditioned habits of interpretation, rather than inherent experience. More work will likely be need to uncover the depths of this conditioning.
Every day for 1 week, spend 10-30 minutes walking, specifically working different breath patterns and experimenting with spacial perception.
Learn to use walking as a the context in which to work on yourself internally and to do serious inquiry.
preview | introduction | 1 ground checks | 2 turnovers | 3 crawling | 4 push-ups | 5 rolls | 6 sit-ups | 7 transitions | 8 squats | 9 jogging | 10 free move | 11 walking | 12 recovery | comprehensive practice