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Do Moving Meditation To Supercharge Your Practice

Let’s talk about moving meditation, how to practice it, why we practice it, and the obstacles involved.

If you do meditation for some time, you’ll naturally begin to bring it into everyday life, and moving meditation is a powerful way to systematise this process. In fact, in my local classes I teach it from day one to accompany our sitting work. My students discover that it’s possible to meditate whenever, wherever.

Practice it enough, and you’ll realise you can enter meditative awareness whenever you want. This is a life-changing ability.

Let’s start by talking about what moving meditation is.

What Is Moving Meditation?

Though it’s pretty self-explanatory, you might wonder how on earth you can successfully do it. We’ll get to the how-to, but for now remember that moving meditation is simply meditation that we do in movement. This can be when walking around outside, doing tasks at home, commuting, and any other real-life situation you can imagine. If you’re moving, you can meditate.

Many meditators have learned walking meditation, a special technique that involves walking and paying attention to the various phases in each step. This is a powerful technique, but I use the phrase moving meditaton to mean any kind of meditation practiced in movement, rather than a special technique per se.

In my local classes, I teach all meditation practices both in stillness and in movement. We tend to walk slowly to aid the transition between sitting and walking meditation, but it’s good to practice at normal walking speed too.

Why Do Moving Meditation?

You might be wondering why anyone would practice moving meditation. Isn’t meditation always done sitting down? Don’t we need to be quiet and isolated?

Basically, we do moving meditation because it supercharges our practice. Let me explain.

Meditation is a form of mind-body training, and it’s true that sitting meditation is a core part of any long-term meditation endeavour. Think of it as the pure form of training, the chance for you to work on the core skills in an artificial environment, much like you do with any other skill.

But if you can only tap into meditative awareness during your sitting practice, it’s like only being able to ride a bike on deserted roads. What’s the point of meditating for x minutes every day if you never experience enduring benefits from it?

One of my students recently said, “I’ve learned that meditation isn’t a temporary thing – you take it with you.” She’s absolutely right. We take it with us. And moving meditation is what enables that. It gives you meditative awareness on demand.

Moving meditation bridges the gap between the pure form of meditation and the rest of your life, such that you can tap into your new traits – like emotional mastery, an enduring sense of peace, gaining deeper satisfaction from life – whenever and wherever you are. You don’t need to be sitting on a cushion in a quiet room to experience these things. You just need to drop into meditative awareness.

With enough practice, you become a monk in the world. Meditation is no longer just an activity during your day – it infuses and envelopes your entire day. Your training has permanently altered how you perceive and process life. The meditative journey finally becomes clear and you’re so thankful for the work you’ve done.

You deeply “come home” to who you’ve always been but realise that you’re much more than you thought.

Moving Meditation: How to Practice It

1. Choose Your Technique

As I’ve said, I encourage people to try any meditation technique in movement. Moving meditation isn’t a special method – it simply means you do a regular technique while moving.

My philosophy is that you should experiment with techniques you already know, starting with those you are proficient in.

If you haven’t done meditation before, or want some new techniques, check out my article Mindful Moments: 17 Practices for Daily Life, to learn movement meditations tailored to the situation. You can also check out my series of guided meditations.

In my own case, I know a lot of meditation techniques, and I’d go crazy if I tried to use them all in all life situations. My approach has been to find one or two that work well in each situation or activity and work at them.

For example, I know that focusing on sight lends itself well to cooking, so that’s what I do as I’m chopping veg, measuring ingredients, frying, and so on. When I’m out in nature, focusing on sight and sound works great because it helps me immerse myself in the environment. On difficult days when I’m sad or frustrated or angry, I know that working with emotions is productive.

I tailor my moving meditation to the moment, and the nuances are endless. Instead of boring you with the details of my own practic, I encourage you to start experimenting.

2. Start Stationary

Though this is movement meditation, I encourage you to start stationary to establish your attention, if possible. Either stand up tall with eyes open, gently gazing towards the floor, or sit down on a chair. Run the technique for a few minutes before you start moving.

3. Go into Movement

Once you’ve been still for a while, it’s time to start moving. This might mean walking around your bedroom, or doing a daily activity, or walking around the city centre. Whatever it is, make sure you’re moving and trying to practice the meditation as you do.

I encourage you to look directly ahead with a gentle gaze. Try to avoid looking around too much, unless you’re doing a sight meditation, because this tends to stir the mind and distract you from the meditation. Walk tall with the face, body, arms and hands loose, feeling your weight supported by the ground. Also clearly define the end of the meditation to help you give it your all.

Obstacles to Your Practice

When you first encounter moving meditation, you’ll probably wonder if it’s possible. Many of my new students question it when they first come to my class: “I can’t imagine having that level of stillness in daily life”, “You meditate as you walk around the city centre? Are you crazy?”

Their protests are understandable. This is challenging work, which is why almost nobody does it. One student has commented that it goes against all her usual habits, and she’s totally right. This is not normal. When we’re moving, our attention is usually all over the place and we don’t even realise it.

Like all new activities, moving meditations feels strange to begin with, but over time you’ll get used to it. Be persistent and don’t worry if your attention continually wanders. It will wander, and if you have just a few moments of clarity and attention during the 5-10 minutes of practice time, you’re doing well.

This is training: see it as such. Do 5-10 minutes every day to accompany your sitting meditation, and over time you’ll see great progress. The reward is meditative awareness on demand.

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