To accompany Breath, Loving-Kindness, or Forgiveness practices.
First of all, when you practice the Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation (TWIM) approach to meditation, Walking Meditation is specifically used for exercise and it is to be done in between your sitting meditation sessions to keep your blood flowing so you have good energy for your investigation.
The first thing is that it’s very important to remember:
- Smile all the time while you walk!
- Stay with your object of meditation the entire time!
- Do not put your attention on your feet!
- Remember you are doing this for exercise and walk at a normal pace.
- Don’t look around; keep your eyes in front of you.
Stay with your object of meditation the entire time you are walking. Keep your eyes down to the ground about 6 feet in front of you while you walk. Do not look around you with any particular interest or take a nature hike and forget your meditation.
Now, one thing that happens during retreats, and it’s very frustrating to me, but I can’t get people to stop doing it, is that you’ll be sitting on the floor and you’ll say to yourself, “Well, I’m uncomfortable.” It may have been 45 minutes or an hour or something like that and then, you suddenly get up off the floor, and sit in a chair.
If you get up from the floor and just go to a chair and sit, what happens is that your mind starts to dull out because you haven’t got your circulation going so well. So, don’t do that! Instead, please get up and begin walking.
The Walking Meditation is every bit as important as your sitting meditation. You don’t have to do the Walking Meditation super slowly, you can walk at a normal pace. Just remember to stay with your object of meditation and relaxing all the time. Consider this as practice for continuing the meditation as you move around in your daily life.
Now, at first the Walking Meditation is going to be somewhat difficult because you’re not used to it. In life you are used to walking around or going from here over to there. You’re used to thinking this and thinking that and ho-humming around.
This Walking Meditation is a very important aspect to training that helps to break old habits of thinking instead of radiating Loving-Kindness while you’re moving in life. With this kind of walking you want to keep your meditation going on your spiritual friend from the time of your sitting, as you are getting up, and going outside to walk or, if you are using another object of meditation, you want to keep this going.
Walk no less than 15 minutes after 30 minutes of sitting meditation. When your walking is good, walk longer. You can walk up to 45 minutes. That is the maximum time. I don’t think any longer than that is really useful because you get tired after that.
After you do your walking with your spiritual friend or on the breath, as the case may be, come in, sit down again and continue to do more sitting meditation.
Please understand that it is best that you sit no less, and this is sitting, not just sitting and walking — just sitting — no less than 6 hours a day during retreat times. Sit for no less than 30 minutes each time you sit and sit longer if you have a good sitting.