Shambhala Sun Home Free Gift with Order Current Issue Subscribe & Save Half Give a Gift Renew Current Text
spacer
spacer
spacer spacer spacer

spacer






spacer spacer
Print


The Buddha said that the past is gone and the future is not yet here. Let us not regret the past. Let us not worry about the future. Go back to the present moment and live deeply the present moment. Because the present moment is the only moment where you can touch life. Life is available only in the present moment. That is why walking meditation is to go back to the present moment, in order to be alive again and to touch life deeply in that moment. In order to be able to touch the earth with our feet and enjoy walking, we have to establish ourselves firmly in the present moment, in the here and the now.

In walking meditation, we walk like a free person. This is not political freedom. This is freedom from afflictions, from sorrow, from fear. Unless you are free you cannot enjoy walking. I would like to propose to you a short poem that you might like to use for walking meditation:

I have arrived. I am home.
In the here. In the now.
I am solid. I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.

You might like to take two steps and breathe in and say, I have arrived, I have arrived. And when you breathe out, you take another two steps and say silently, I am home, I am home. Our true home is really in the here and in the now. Because only in the here and the now can we touch life. As the Buddha said, life is available only in the here and the now, so going back to the present moment is going home. That is why you take one step or two steps and you awaken to the fact that you have arrived. You have arrived in the present moment.

If you are able to arrive, then you will stop running—running within and running without. There is a belief in us that happiness cannot be possible in the here and the now. We have to go somewhere. We have to go to the future in order to be able to really be happy.

That kind of thinking has been there for a long time. Maybe that feeling has been transmitted to us from our ancestors and our parents. That is why we have to wake up to the presence of that habit energy in us and to do the reverse. The Buddha said that it is possible for us to be peaceful and happy in the present moment. That is the teaching of trista dharma sadha vihara. It means living happily right in the present moment. When you are there, body and mind united, you have an opportunity to touch the conditions of your happiness. If you are able to touch these conditions of happiness that are already available in the here and the now, you can be happy right away. You don't have to run anywhere, especially into the future.

When we practice walking, we might be aware that we have strong feet. Our feet are strong enough for us to enjoy running and walking. That is one condition for happiness that is available. When I breathe in and I become aware of my eyes, I encounter another condition for my happiness. Breathing in, I am aware of my eyes. Breathing out, I smile to my eyes. This is an exercise, a very simple exercise to help you realize that you have eyes which are still in good condition. You need only to open your eyes to see the blue sky, the white cloud, the luxurious vegetation. You can see all kinds of forms and colors just because you have eyes still in good condition. Your eyes are another condition for your happiness. We have so many conditions like that for our happiness and yet we are still unhappy. We still want to run away from the present moment, hoping we'll find some happiness in the future.

Breathing in, I'm aware of my heart. Breathing out, I smile to my heart. That is another exercise. When you practice like that you touch your heart with your mindfulness. If you continue a minute, you realize that you still have a heart that functions normally. It is wonderful to have a heart that still functions normally. There are people who don't have a heart like that and their deepest desire is to have a heart like you. So conditions for happiness may be more than enough for us to be happy, but we are not able to be happy because of that tendency to run away from the present moment.

To take an in-breath, to smile, and to touch the conditions of happiness that are available, is something that all of us can do. Because of that we can stop and establish ourselves in the present moment. That is the teaching of living happily in the present moment. Please train yourself to make the present moment, the here and the now, into your true home. That is the only home that we have. That is the only place where we can touch life. Everything we are looking for must be found in the here and the now. In that way walking meditation can be a great pleasure and can be very healing.

Do you have to make any effort to practice walking meditation? I don't think so. It is like when you drink a glass of orange juice. Do you think that you have to make an effort in order to enjoy the orange juice? No. Walking is like that. To really enjoy a glass of orange juice, you have to be there one hundred per cent mind and body together. If you are there, mind and body firmly established in the present moment, then a glass of orange juice will become a real thing for you. You are real; therefore, the juice is real. And there life is real. Life exists. Life is deep during the time you drink your orange juice.

When you contemplate a beautiful sunset, do you have to make any effort? I don't think so. You don't have to make any effort in order to enjoy a beautiful sunset. You need only to be there, to be there mind and body together. But if your body is there and your mind is in the past or in the future, then the beautiful sunset will not be there for you.

There is a kind of energy that helps you to be there body and mind together. That energy is called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the capacity of being there body and mind united. When you drink your orange juice, drink mindfully and you will enjoy your juice because you are really there one hundred per cent. If your body and mind are united when you contemplate the beautiful sunset, it means that you are mindful. Mindfulness helps you to be there in order for the beautiful sunset to be there too. While you walk, if you allow yourself to be there mind and body together, then walking will become mindful walking; it will be healing, refreshing and nourishing.



spacer
spacer
spacer
Subscribe | Current Issue | Search Archives | Contact Us | Spotlight | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Employment
© 2008 Shambhala Sun | Email: magazine@shambhalasun.com | Tel: 902.422.8404 | Published by Shambhala Sun Foundation