A SIMPLE FORM OF MINDFULNESS WALKING MEDITATION By Dr Ian Ellis-JonesMindfulness is simply the presence of a calm, alert, steady, open, deliberate, ‘curious’ butchoiceless (that is, accepting, non-judgmental and imperturbable) awareness of, and bareattention to, the action of the present moment ... one’s body, body functions and sensations, thecontent of one’s consciousness (thoughts, feelings, images, memories, etc) and consciousnessitself. Mindfulness is awareness of awareness. Mindfulness is training in self-culture, self-improvement and self-help.Although most, if not all, mindfulness instructors and practitioners advocate some individual,personalised tuition and guidance in the beginning ... for very good (and not self-serving)reasons ... what follows is a very simple or basic form of mindfulness walking meditation for useat home, in the office, in the park ... or anywhere for that matter.Most people dont know how to walk. Sad but true. ‘Walking meditation is an art!’ writes MartineBatchelor. ‘You are not going anywhere, you are walking just for the sake of walking.’ Walkingmeditation helps to foster calmness, relaxation ... and, most importantly, awareness. As with allmindfulness, the ‘key’ is to be aware as you walk.Walking meditation is meditation in action, using the natural movement of walking to fostermindfulness. It is the bare experience of walking. For many, including myself, walking meditationis the preferred form of mindfulness meditation, and ordinarily should precede a sittingmeditation as it centres the mind.How does walking meditation differ from ‘normal’ walking? Well, walking meditation is similar to‘normal’ walking but it is considerably slower, as well as deliberate, intentional and mindful. Nowthis is important. Walking meditation is not physical exercise but wakeful presence.In order to engage in walking meditation, first choose a quiet place … without distractions. Itmay be indoors or outdoors. All you need is a short path, which doesn’t have to be a ‘path’ perse but simply one you ‘create’, so to speak, by walking backwards and forwards ... or, if youprefer, in a circular fashion. The path should be some 3-10 (preferably around 6) metres inlength, must have a definite ‘start’ and ‘end’, and its surface should be flat and even.Walking meditation has been described as ‘walking with presence and mindfulness’. It is awonderful means to connect mind and body with the here and now, for it keeps one centered inthe present moment. Begin by standing at the beginning of your path. Start with a ‘standingmeditation’ (‘Standing, standing’) for a minute or two. The focus is on your body ... not yourbreath ... in a walking meditation. Feel the sensation of your feet ‘pressing’ against thefloor/earth. Does it feel hard or soft? Warm or cold? Feel the whole body standing … and laterslowly and gently turning (‘Turning, turning’) ... with awareness. Focus your attention minutelyand purposefully on each action. Remember, you are not going anywhere ... you are justwalking.In sitting meditation the focus of attention is the breath. However, in walking meditation thefocus of attention is the moving body. Walk barefooted or with socks only … preferably. Nowbegin to walk slowly. Focus on each step. Feel each step as it comes. Be fully present witheach step. Notice every sensation of the walking process. Walk ‘flat-footed’. Place the foot downflat … heal first … toes later. ‘Left, right, left, right …’ Steps short … about 15- 20 cm apart.