by Venerable Esika
he Buddha said that mindfulness must be applied to the four postures of the body, i.e. walking, standing, sitting and lying down.
• While you are walking, you must be mindful of it as it is-
• While you are standing, you must be mindful of it as it is-
• While you are sitting, you must be mindful of it as it is-
• While you are lying down, you must be mindful of it as it is-
So, in every posture, there must be mindfulness.
We instruct meditators to practice walking and sitting meditation alternately so that they can
concentrate more easily and hence attain insight into the walking and sitting processes. Every
session of sitting must be preceded by walking because in walking meditation, the movement of
the foot is more distinct than the abdominal movement when sitting. When your meditation
practice matures, you may then need sitting meditation for a longer period than walking. When
you have reached the sixth stage of insight knowledge, you may practice sitting meditation
longer than walking you may sit for two or three hours and walk one hour. At that stage, your
concentration is good, deep and strong enough to realize the dissolution of nama and rupa
(mental and physical phenomena). But in the beginning of the practice, you need walking
meditation longer than sitting because you are not yet able to sit for long but can walk longer.
You can attain some degree of concentration more easily in walking than in sitting.
So first of all, you should practice walking meditation by being aware of stepping. When you
make a left step, note it as left. When you make a right step, note it as right. In this way, note left,
right, left, right, or just stepping, stepping. Labeling or naming is not so important as the mind
that observes the movement of the foot. You should lay stress on awareness, sharp awareness of
the movement of the foot.
When you practice walking meditation, you must not close your eyes. Instead, your eyes must be
half closed (that means, relax and keep your eyes normal) and you should look at a place on the
floor about four or five feet in front of your foot.
You must not bend your head too low. If you bend your head too low, you will soon feel tension
in your neck or shoulders. Also, you may have a headache or dizziness. You must not look at
your foot. If you look at your foot, you cannot concentrate well on the movement. Nor must you
look around here and there. Once you look around, the mind goes with the eyes; then your
concentration breaks. You may have a tendency or desire to look around when you feel that
someone is coming towards you or passing in front of you. That tendency or desire to look
around must be very attentively observed and noted as tendency or wanting to look until it has
disappeared. When the tendency or desire has disappeared, you won't look around. Then you can
maintain your concentration. So, please be careful not to look around so that you can maintain
your concentration and make progress in your attainment of concentration by walking
meditation. Your hands should be locked together in front or behind. If you feel you should
change the position of your hands, you may do so, but mindfully.
When you have an intention to change position, you should note intending, intending. Even then,
you should change the position very slowly and every action and movement involved in the act
of changing must be observed. You must not be unmindful of any movement or action. When
you have changed the position of your hands, then you should continue to note the movements of
the foot as before.