Walking hurriedly prints anxiety and sorrow on the Earth. Instead of walking as a means to arrive at a particular destination, we can see it as an act in itself—walk to enjoy walking. When walking in meditation the goal is to print peace and serenity on the Earth by being in the present moment and enjoying each step for all the wonder that the world can bring us along the way.
Peace can be found in every step by coordinating our breathing with walking. Being aware of the contact between our feet and the Earth, we can slowly take three steps with each in-breath (repeat “in, in, in”) and slowly take three steps with each out-breath (repeat “out, out, out”). To be comfortable, we can take as many steps per breath as necessary.
When we need to stop, we should remain mindful of our breathing—then start walking again. Walking in this way, we come to realize that peace is not something to chase after. Peace resides internally—by walking slowly in mindfulness, we can enjoy each step and all the experiences that come from the walk itself.
There is a difference between eating to consume, and eating to eat. In the former, we chew food and swallow it simply to nourish ourselves. In the latter, we are mindfully aware of the food we eat and the process in which we eat it. By using our senses to observe the food, what results is a truer appreciation of what the food is and where it comes from—providing a stronger connection to the food and the Earth. This process also fosters consciousness of the quantity and quality of the food we eat.
When eating in a group, it’s helpful to look at all those around the table with a smile and mindful breath. Doing this better enables us to get in touch with ourselves and others at the table. We can assist others’ mindful eating by speaking positively about the food. This serves two purposes: it helps people become more mindful of the food; and if conversation turns negative, a mindful comment can be used to redirect people toward the positive. Not all on Earth have as much access to food.
Being mindful of this allows us to give thanks for our circumstances, while feeling compassion for those who have less. Alternatively, occasional silent meals (or at the least, individual courses of meals) can assist in the practice of mindfulness because silence allows us to more easily appreciate the food and the process of eating mindfully.
(adapted from Peace is Every Step)