Dharma Topic: Walking Peace

Dharma Topic: Walking Peace

Discussion date: Thu, Sep 09, 2004 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, September 9, after our7:30 sitting meditation, we will focus on walking meditation. There will be someteaching, some practicing, and time for sharing of experiences.

Like sitting meditation, walking meditation isa powerful and subtle practice. In the Plum Village tradition, there are twobasic styles: formal walking and outdoor walking. In both, the key element islearning to relax, letting go of our worries and concerns. It is a time to berefreshed through close contact with our lived experience. In A Guide to WalkingMeditation, Thich Nhat Hanh explains:

Take short steps in complete relaxation; go slowly with a smile on your lips, with your heart open to an experience of peace. You can feel truly at ease with yourself. Your steps can be those of the healthiest, most secure person on earth. All sorrows and worries can drop away while you are walking. To have peace of mind, to attain self-liberation, learn to walk in this way. It is not difficult. You can do it. Anyone can do it who has some degree of mindfulness and a true intention to be happy.

We walk comfortably and become aware of ourbreath and our steps. If we like, we can count the steps or coordinate them withthe lines of a gatha or poem. One that many people use is: "I have arrived,I am home." It reminds us to dwell happily in the present moment. There isnothing else we need.

We can, also, intersperse our walking withmoments of rest that allow us to stop and deeply observe our surroundings. Whenwe walk, we generate mindful energy in our feet. When we stop we can consciouslybring that energy up to our eyes. It is a calming energy. It allows us to justbe with the landscape or the flower. The Chinese poet Li-Po suggests thecommunion that is possible when we are filled with mindfulness.

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

Each mindful step we take not only builds ourown capacity for mindfulness; it also sends mindfulness and healing energy intothe universe. Our full presence is our most powerful generator of change.

You are invited to join us this Thursday forsitting, walking, and sharing.

Also, if you can, plan to come this Saturday,September 11, with friends and children, to an open house at Circle Yoga — amindful yoga center near Chevy Chase Circle started by Still Water Board MemberAnnie Mahon. The Open House will be from 12 p.m. to at least 4 p.m., withrefreshments, live music, bubble blowing, mural painting, give-aways, t-shirtraffle, and free guided relaxation sessions for adults every hour. It is anopportunity to see the studio, meet teachers, ask questions, and have fun. Formore information and directions, go to www.circleyoga.com.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Sep 09, 2004


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