Carefully. Slowly. Lifting one foot from the ground. Standing and balancing on just one leg, with all the weight of my body sustained by this one limb. Moving the foot that is in the air forward, lowering it. Heel touching the ground, and then my instep, the ball of my foot, and my toes. My entire foot, from heel to toes, is touching the ground. Both feet are now resting on the ground. Pausing for a moment.
The heel of the back foot is now leaving the ground, and for a moment only its toes are in contact with the floor. The weight of my body is shifting from the foot in the back to the one in the front.
Lifting. Moving. Placing.
Heel of the back foot leaving the floor.
Weight shifting to the front leg.
Moving slowly, lifting the foot in the back, trying to keep my balance, controlling all sorts of muscles, compensating here and there in order not to fall. Correcting. Tightening. Releasing. Adjusting and readjusting. Maintaining the balance. Moving the foot forward and placing it on the ground: heel, instep, arch, ball, toes. Resting. Starting the movement all over again.
Up. Forward. Down.
Lifting. Moving. Placing.
“Am I here? Am I really here? Can I feel my feet? Can I feel the soles of my feet? Can I feel the weight shifting from heel to toes? Can I feel that? Can I come back to paying attention to my walking and the sensations in my body when I catch myself distracted with other things? Am I thinking or am I feeling the sensations?”
“Too much thinking! Less thinking and more sensing!”
Redirecting the attention back to the sensations in my body as I walk.
Walking slowly and mindfully. Lifting, moving, placing, and resting. Walking as if I had never walked before. Paying attention. Staying alert to the sensations in my body. Discovering how to walk again.
“How did I learn such a complex movement? How can I, in my day-to-day living, perform it without even consciously thinking about it? How is this possible?”
Observing. Noticing. Witnessing.
Extracting great joy from walking mindfully. Not only marveling at the intricate and complex movement that I was able to master, but also at what I am able to mindfully capture with my senses, what I am able to see, hear, smell, touch, and perhaps even taste now that I am moving slowly and mindfully. Paying greater attention to the world that surrounds me. Seeing things that I wasn’t able to see before. Stopping. Looking at the big things and the little ones, looking at what is near and what is far away from me. Seeing all the magic, mystery, and miracles that surround me. Letting the beauty penetrate me.
Noticing it. Appreciating it. Savoring it. Absorbing it.
Seeing what arises and what passes way. Noticing birth and death, the pleasant and the unpleasant, and the impermanence of all. Letting it all in.
I feel the coolness of the breeze! I feel the warmth of the sun!
I breathe and walk, I walk and breathe… slowly, mindfully!
I am here, now, whole, perfect, and complete.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
“The kingdom of God is available to you in the here and the now. But the question is whether you are available to the kingdom. Our practice is to make ourselves ready for the kingdom so that it can manifest in the here and the now. You don’t need to die in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, you have to be truly alive in order to do so.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Walking with Peace and Presence
Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.
Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store
– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”
– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”
– “Silent Peace Walk”