Have you ever done a walking meditation? Or even a standing meditation? Jon Kabat-Zinn makes it easy and offers step-by-step instruction in this transcribed excerpt from his "Mindfulness Meditation Workshop".
Now walking meditation. Walking meditation is the same thing as walking only you know that you are walking and sometimes it is valuable to slow it down at first so that you can really pay attention to the aspects of it. So one way to do it is to just become aware of the impulse to lift, say, the left leg and to move the foot out in front of you and to feel it as you place it down on the floor, heel, and then the rest of the foot. That is a lifting, a moving, and a placing. Then the weight shifts over the forward foot and then there is a lifting, moving, and the placing of the right foot and the shifting of the weight and you move forward. Then the lifting, moving, placing, of the left foot. And do not take giant steps or stylize this. This could be very small steps since you are not going anywhere. Then the lifting, moving, and placing. So go for three squares, turn around, and stand where you are before you turn around, breath a few times, and then slowly, mindfully, turning. Then just going back.
In this transcribed excerpt from the "Mindfulness Meditation Workshop", Jon Kabat-Zinn -- who introduced mindfulness meditation to the mainstream -- tells us how to safely transition out of a meditation session and welcome one's body back into the present.
Before we move, becoming aware of the intention to move, inviting your body to move a little now, maybe wiggling your toes, and moving it around. Just exploring movement. We are the kind of lake or the kind of mountain that can get up and walk around. It kind of makes things very interesting. Doing whatever kind of movement you like, just move the body for a few moments in preparation for standing.
The last thing that we will do this morning in this series involves cultivating balance in a standing position, so whenever you feel moved to seeing how you get this carcass vertical. No joke. It is quite an amazing feat requiring the feet. And taking your time making sure that, you know, so you do not kind of let the blood just rush out of your head. What I am talking about is something called the tree. You may know it. Do not do this on some squishy surface because it is bad enough without the squishy surface. Let’s take a right foot and bring it up as far as it will comfortably go on the inside of the left leg.
So why don’t we take a few minutes and just sit. For those of you who are entirely new to this, it is no different from the raisin, only now there is no raisin; it is just your body sitting here. So see if you can sit in a position that embodies dignity, whatever that means for you. And then if you feel comfortable with it, it is fine if you to close your eyes, but it is fine also if you do not. I usually recommend that you try to establish that dignified posture by bringing attention to the spine and the head and see if you cannot get a sense of head, neck, and shoulders being in some way aligned rather than slumped and doing something comfortable with the hands.
“Meditation is simply about being yourself and knowing about who that is. It is about coming to realize that you are on a path whether you like it or not, namely the path that is your life.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Check it out on Elephant Journal.
Jon Kabat-Zinn's terrific "Mindfulness Meditation Workshop" offers instruction in a number of kinds of meditation, including sitting and walking meditation, and answers questions typical to both beginning meditators and experienced practitioners alike. The following excerpt is an example of how Kabat-Zinn makes meditation practice accessible to all of us.
If you are coming to this for the very first time or whether you have been cultivating mindfulness in this way for some time, letting go of the past and letting go of what is yet to come and not only acknowledging, but also directly encountering the fact that here you are right in this moment. So inviting yourself, as long as you are here, to be here 100%. Since the future and the past are not things that we let go of once and for all, and that is all there is to it. It is a continual retuning to the present moment.
For those of you who are totally new to it, one of the most friendly and convenient ways to embrace the actuality of being present is to tune into some aspect of your body and sensations that arise in the body. The breath is a very wonderful one. To just ride the waves of your own breathing in consciousness.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the foremost instructors of mindfulness meditation in this country. In this transcribed excerpt from Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Kabat-Zinn breaks down the utter simplicity and importance of participating in a meditation practice, whether as a beginner or long-time practitioner.
I had it in my mind and it may actually execute if we could figure out some way to do it, to do that little raisin eating exercise which you saw on (Bill) Moyers, or may have seen on Moyers, just because it serves a very important function in the way that we teach meditation in the hospital and in other areas of sort of more mainstream societies and Buddhist meditation centers, where they also use that exercise, which is where I learned it. I was just taking one little aspect of our experience, in this case a raisin, and instead of eating raisins the way we usually do, to eat one raisin mindfully. By the way, take one and do not eat it okay? Part of you is going to want to or throw it at somebody or whatever. Just hold onto it for now.