Here is some fantastic advice for the weekend. No, not about partying or binge eating out. It’s about how to be “here and now” while walking.
This advice comes from none other than the renowned Vietnamese peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh and ordained Zen Buddhist teacher Nguyen Anh-Huoing. Together, they have penned a delightful book – Walking Meditation: easy Steps to Mindfulness.
The idea is simple - pay attention when you breathe and walk, without looking like a weirdo. The book explains, “By practicing mindful breathing and walking, both your mind and body will naturally become lighter, calmer, and clearer.”
By simply linking your breath to the steps you take, you become aware of the wholeness of the moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh reveals that he likes to meditate in airports. He arrives early for flights just so he can walk around, slowly but not too strangely, paying attention to and breathing in the hustle and bustle. He suggests that we can all do this, whether walking from the parking lot to a shop, taking 10 steps to another desk across an office. Every time we remember to pay attention to our breath and our steps while going through daily life, he says, we create a temporal and physical space of tranquility.
Seems like such a simple and easy to follow advice. But pay attention to your mind and you will see how thoughts rage, one topic to the other, never quiet for even a moment. The trick is to first quieten the mind, giving it the work of “looking” at the breath – mind is a money, keep it occupied with your breath and you will achieve quietude.