Ursi's Eso Garden
Your Competent Esoteric Guide
Tuesday, 27. May 2008
Kinhin - Walking MeditationPerhaps you envision meditation as something completely peaceful and still. Not always. Meditation is a tool for calming and concentrating the mind any time, any place. Sitting meditation comes first because it's easiest, but there are other kinds. One of the most important is walking. Now that you've tried sitting, try kinhin, a Zen form of walking meditation.
Don't think about it, just experience it. You will find not thinking about it very difficult at first. You may take pride in your movement when it's smooth and graceful. If you're beaming with pride or thinking too much, remember that you're just walking — no reason to get puffed up. Relax your thoughts and let your mind calm down.
If you can manage this slow kinhin, try speeding it up, letting your arms relax and swing normally. Try doing kinhin outside. Eventually you'll be able to bring kinhin awareness into normal walking. It's the first step toward bringing meditation into your whole active life.
Fast Walking Meditation
In Japan kinhin is done really fast. It must feel good after a long session of sitting meditation. You're probably not doing whole days of meditation like Zen monks do, but you might want to try this during finals time or some other time you've been sitting too long and need action.
The meditation techniques we've talked about so far are usually done indoors. For fast walking meditation, it's best to have a large space to walk in. Unless you live in a big house, it will be easier to practice outside. The back yard is often good, since you won't run into anyone there, and no cars will run into you. Plan your route before you start the meditation. Walking around the perimeter of the yard is good. Try to stay on flat ground.
Sit in meditation for a few minutes until you can follow or count your breath without getting lost too often. Stand slowly. You can take the same posture as in kinhin, or you can let your arms hang normally at your sides. It is a bit harder to do with arms hanging because they'll begin to swing. Don't let it bother you, just let it happen naturally. Next, start walking. Keep your eyes half open so that you can see where you're going, but don't focus on any one thing. Don't risk tripping and falling over, just don't get hung up on what is in your field of vision.
Start slowly for a few breaths. Once you're moving and able to return your mind to breathing, you can pick up your speed to a normal-to-brisk pace. Remember, you are still meditating. You may be tempted to start thinking, to look around, even to stop at an interesting place such as the fridge or the basketball hoop. These are thoughts. Don't follow them. Let them fall away. Return your mind to meditation. Tougher here, isn't it? You are expanding your meditation farther into your life. You can practice fast walking meditation anytime you walk.
This article was excerpted from 'Buddha In Your Backpack' by Franz Metcalf.
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