A Walking Meditation
Take advantage of the opportunity to cultivate presence by trying this meditation where you invite in beginner’s mind (having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions) and release your thinking mind while walking in or near nature. For me, that practice takes place in Morningside Park in Harlem.
At this time of year, winter begins to fade and springtime unfolds, hence the name of the practice. I use this practice to clear my judging, planning, problem-solving mind and replace with with curiosity about where I can find signs of springtime.
I walk slowly, usually the same path through the park, walking in the same direction. My walking meditation usually lasts 35-45 minutes, and I listen to the same playlist each time I walk which helps cue my mind to stay in the present moment at each familiar turn and tune on the path I walk discovering new signs of spring.
I often find myself smiling and sometimes exclaim out loud as I find new buds. Walking the same path each day can add to the impact of the practice, pushing you to cultivate your curiosity as you pass the same plants each day, looking for new signs of spring. I find a notice new plantings each time I walk.
When I pass others on the path, sometimes my thinking, judging minds speaks up. I notice the interruption in my springtiming practice, and then gently invite my thinking mind to quiet while I continue my walk, making space for me to marvel at the day’s new flowers and leaf buds.
I find that repeating this practice of noticing springtime while I walk carries over into other parts of my day. When I make space for this practice, I am less apt to be sharp with my son when he’s messy or ignoring my directions. I’m also less apt to focus on the negative when I talk about my day with others.
I am generally in a positive mindset and mood, but when I get too wrapped up in my judging thoughts, I can be harsh with those around me or feel like I have an enemy persecuting me. Springtiming each morning helps me cultivate my curiosity and reduces the negative commenting in other moments.