11.3.2 Zen
People who are grieving often gain solace from walking in the country. Zen has made gentle walking meditation into profoundly regenerative exercise so that healing is available in the natural world around us. We walk slowly, harmonizing our steps with our breath. We do not allow our attention to become dissipated in our surroundings, but, nonetheless, a sense of communion with the natural world grows in a subliminal way. Occasionally, we may stop and gaze at a flower or hug a tree or just touch the earth, but for the most part, we just walk gently, each footfall making real contact with the earth. This simple practice is wonderful. In groups, pairs or alone, we can make walking meditation a regular part of our day. Generally, when we do walking meditation, we are not going anywhere. We walk simply for the sake of walking and of being in touch with life, step by step. Every so often a member of our group may ring the mindfulness bell and we pause long enough to return to stillness inside. Once this practice is established as part of our life, we will begin t catch ourselves at other times hurrying unnecessarily, and we will stop a moment and then continue more slowly, enjoying each step and really being here, rather than just rushing on towards the future.
Walking meditation enables a person to retain connection with the elements. Even though the human world may sometimes seem barren, the wind and the flowers, the rivers and the clouds, still speak to us, and teach us everything.
David Brazier