Walking Meditation – A New Kind

Traditional walking meditation involves paying close attention to your breathing and every movement of your body as you walk back and forth or in a circle. It can be a refreshing change from sitting still to meditate. But now there is another way to meditate while walking, and it may be more suited to those who don’t want to take the time and effort to learn more traditional methods.

What has changed in recent years is the widespread creation of meditation recordings based not just on relaxing music, but on brainwave entrainment. These recordings, which are available online as CDs or as MP3 downloads, use beats and pulses to actually affect your brainwaves. They slow down the brainwave frequencies to the point where you are in an alpha state (8 to 14 hertz) or even deeper states.

The great thing about such recordings is that they make meditating almost effortless. All you have to do is listen with headphones and your brain is guided to a meditative state of consciousness. They are quite powerful, and if you listen while laying down they will often put you to sleep in ten minutes or less. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem if you use them for walking meditation.

To use them in this way, it is best to have an MP3 player and get the brainwave entrainment downloads. Listening to a CD recording works fine, but a portable CD player is more likely to skip while you are walking. MP3 players are just easier to use.

You can still do the traditional form of this meditation if you prefer, with the assistance of the recordings to make it easier to achieve the meditative state. But because of the power of these tools, you can also try a walk along a trail or beach, of in some other beautiful place, and without the concentration solely on your breathing and body movements. You can look around as you walk, and enjoy the beauty.

It is best if you stick to level trails and other surfaces that are easy to walk on without too much concentration. Otherwise you are not likely to get into the alpha brainwave state. In fact, any involvement with your surroundings will make it somewhat more difficult to meditate, but the effect is worth pushing beyond the usual practices of focusing only inside yourself or on immediate point of contact with the outside world.

Other practices that are a part of meditating are still helpful. Breath through your nose, for example, and you get deeper breaths that use your diaphragm more. Observe your surroundings without mental comment to the extent possible. When thoughts do arise, choose not to engage in them, and just let them go. Sometimes labeling them makes it easier to drop them. Say “memory,” or “irritation,” or whatever is the most accurate label, and then return your attention to observation of yourself and your surroundings, without analyzing or thinking about them

Not only is this easier than the traditional approaches, but it is also a different experience. Observing the beauty around you is always a pleasant activity, but with the help of meditation recordings your thoughts will intrude less, and you will essentially see with new eyes. Try a walking meditation like this, and you’ll have a new appreciation of the world around you.