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River Layne

IMG_1698Meditation walks can be some of the most refreshing and soothing ways to experience mindfulness, and mindfulness brings us joy and contentment. Mindfulness reduces stress and allows us to focus our intentions as well. They are also a great way to get your feet wet in meditation, so to speak. When people first start meditating, they often find it hard to sit very long, and meditation walks are a great way to get yourself used to sitting in a gradual way.

Every Saturday, I enjoy taking a meditation walk through a wooded park in the middle of the city. I start my walk just listening to the sounds around me, noticing birds, crickets, or whatever is in the area. After this, I try to use all my senses. I touch the leaves (making sure not to touch anything poisonous), I look at the colors, I smell the plants and the crisp fall air. As I walk, I breathe deeply and focus on my surroundings. I walk slowly, noticing the way leaves crunch under my feet, and the way stones roll when I step on them.

When I get to a small creek that runs through the middle of the park, I find a comfortable log or rock to sit on to meditate more deeply. Here I sit listening to the sound of the water, to my own breathing, to my heart beating. Any other sounds that encroach on this scene, like far away traffic or children laughing go in one ear and out the other as I bring back into focus the sound of the trickling and bubbling water. I sit quietly like this for about 15 minutes. I don’t bother to time it, but my internal clock seems to know my intentions.

I leave the park refreshed and calm, more centered and ready for a weekend of rejuvenation before the work week begins again.

The local Buddhist centers in many cities have areas where you can do a more structured meditation walk and some even have labyrinths, which offer a different type of focused meditation. I suggest you try a variety of mediation walks to see what you like best. Happy walking. Namaste—River Layne

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