The energy-body balance is crucial for successful meditation, as well as for physical and emotional health. Consequently, our bodies need to be refreshed, our energy sources need to be regenerated, we need movement to literally open ourselves. In addition, movement practices enable us to slow down and examine our very actions in minute detail; they become a form of both stillness meditation and rational meditation, uniting body and mind.
Walking Meditation is perfectly accessible; we can do it anytime, anywhere. In essence, it is an examination of time. Like other practices, its goal is to root our awareness in the present moment. We succeed by being mindful of every aspect of walking—from the pressure of our weight on the soles of our feet, to the articulation of foot-ankle-leg-hip as we take each step, to sensations between our toes, inside our shoes, and up through our torso to our heads, necks, shoulders and arms. Finally we stop, and experience ourselves standing, noticing what it feels like to no longer be moving—and recognizing the intricate balancing act required to “stand still.”
Ritual walks in which participants pay attention to both their inner landscape and the outer landscape are part of almost every culture and spiritual tradition. They may involve trekking through sacred countryside for an hour, a day or even a month. More commonly in Buddhism, these walks involve remaining focused and present while circling clockwise a temple, a statue, a stupa—or even a room. We may focus on our breathing to still our minds or on a mantra to open our minds. Either helps reinforce mindfulness.
Practiced for thousands of years, yoga uses breath and movement to give us a much healthier, more harmonious body—and a clearer path to meditation. Today, many people use it simply as exercise to gain increased strength and flexibility. But in truth it can be practiced on many levels, the highest of which can lead to heightened awareness and even heal emotional trauma. Ultimately, yoga becomes its own form of meditation, connecting body, mind, breath and spirit.
Translated from the Chinese, Qigong literally means life energy cultivation. Qigong balances the body’s energy by aligning breath, movement and awareness. Practitioners coordinate rhythmic breathing with slow, stylized movements, a calm mindful state and visualization of the life energy moving through their bodies. The result: a meditative practice that generates both exercise and healing.
Life is complex, puzzling and often painful.
Sometimes it seems there must be a better way
to manage—and there is. It is as simple as looking
at a problem through a different lens.
ASK A QUESTION
Whether we are troubled or merely curious,
it can be helpful to turn to someone noted
for wisdom. Rinpoche is pleased to answer questions
about life, the Dharma or Buddhism in general.