Walking as meditation...

by Christina


Prior to May, I'd never heard of Thich Nhat Hanh. And then, everywhere I turned I found books, quotes, images and websites authored by or dedicated to this man. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, and a peace and human rights activist. I first discovered his work while poking around the most wonderful bookstore on Martha's Vineyard with "walking" on my mind. I'd picked up many books, reading the back covers, thoroughly enjoying myself but I'd not yet found anything I had to bring home. Then, I found this book "How to Walk" by Thich Nhat Hanh. Each page has a thought to contemplate; it's easy to read, very inspriational and doesn't require a huge time commitment.  

I mentioned to my daughter how excited I was that I'd found this book. How perfect it was considering all the time I was devoting to the topic of walking... thinking while walking, thinking about walking. She said "Mom, why do you need a book that tells you how to walk? It's easy...you put one foot in front of the other, repeat." Aah, grasshopper, yes, it appears easy but there's so much more to be gained from walking than the simple act of one foot down, repeat. At least that's the message contained within this book.  

And then I noticed a photo at the place I was staying...

Perhaps I'd seen quotes by him before and just ignored them.

Perhaps I wasn't ready.

Perhaps I wasn't living in the moment enough to see what was in front of me.

Perhaps I was just too busy walking for the sake of putting one foot in front of the other to be aware of the need to appreciate each step.

Perhaps I was too busy thinking about the product to appreciate the process. 

Time to slow things down a bit and take mindful steps. Yes, setting goals when it comes to walking is good but if we lose sight of what's to be gained from each walk, each mile, each step perhaps we are too numb to notice our surroundings.

Mindful Monday's Peace Tip #2 is a reading from Thich Naht Hanh's book "How to Walk." You might consider replacing the word "sitting" with "knitting" as you read this.

People ask me, “Why do you do walking meditation?” The best answer I can give is, “Because I like it.” Every step makes me happy. There’s no use in doing walking meditation if you’re not going to enjoy every step you make; it would be a waste of time. The same thing is true with sitting meditation. If somone asked, “What’s the use of sitting for hours and hours?” The best answer is, “Because I like sitting.” Sitting and walking can bring peace and joy. We have to learn how to sit and walk so that we can produce peace and joy during the time of sitting or the time of walking. We have to learn to walk so that we can enjoy every step. Mindfulness and concentration can bring a higher quality to our breath, to our sitting, and to our steps.
— Thich Naht Hanh

May you find an awareness of being present with each stitch and step that you create and take throughout this week. May you find peace and joy in all that you do. 

Footsteps in the sand. South Beach on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Footsteps in the sand.

South Beach on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.