A Walking Meditation

The Beginning of Things

Here is a walking meditation you are invited to try.

Start by going for a walk for half an hour. You can be alone or with a companion, in a park, a city street, or the country, it doesn’t matter.

Meditation is an exercise in stopping. Stopping has nothing to do with whether you are in motion. We stop our minds by finding out what it is like not to hold the thoughts we usually hold. As you walk, here is one way to imagine your self and surroundings:

This moment you witness the creation of the universe. The world has just begun and, as yet, you know nothing about it.

All things are constantly appearing out of nothingness. As you walk through them, notice them. Let them come to you rather than going out in your thoughts to meet them. Let their names come to you, if they have names. Give only the most simple names to things—tree, person, car, path, can. Or give no names at all. For the moment you can rest from adding values and judgments and stories.

Even to say “woman” or “man” is to push a prior understanding onto the world. Even to say “friend” is to judge and to make other portions of life “not-friend.” There is nothing wrong with doing this; however, for the time of this meditation you can live as if each thing you encounter is utterly unknown before.

If you find that you have moved away into fantasies and assessments, don’t make a fantasy or judgment about that. Just notice that too. Find out who you are when you don’t filter the world through your thoughts and feelings.