How to Walk

My Summarized Learnings from Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

How to Walk

“The first thing to do is lift your foot. Breathe in. Put your foot down in front of you, first your hell and then your toes. Breathe out. Feel your feet solid on the Earth. You have already arrived.”

We frequently walk with the sole purpose of getting from one place to another. But where are we in between?

I’ve never really thought of it this way — but this book taught me that walking and sitting can bring peace and joy. Mindfulness and concentration can bring a higher quality and enjoyment to our breath, to our sitting, and to our steps.

To live in the present moment is a miracle.

I have arrived.

When we return to our breathing, we return to the present moment. There’s no need for us to struggle to arrive somewhere else. Why are we in a hurry to get there?

To be mindful is to be truly present with your body and mind, to bring harmony to your intentions and actions, and to be in harmony with those around you.

Stop saying “I’m too busy to do it” because we don’t really really need to make “separate time” outside our daily activities to be mindful.

I walk for you

Being able to walk (and, without pain) is a gift and something we shouldn’t take for granted. With that awareness, I enjoy every step and appreciate that I’m alive. This mindfulness brings us to notice that we’re alive and healthy, and strong enough to walk by ourselves. Being aware is enlightenment and that alone brings much happiness. When you walk, it can be a celebration. When you notice your breath, you are celebrating life.

You can walk mindfully on the busiest street. In the commotion of a big city, it’s still possible to walk with peace, happiness and an inner smile. Walk slowly, enjoy every step with joy, pay attention to your in-breath and out-breath — just focus on your walk and listen to your body. This is what it means to live fully in every moment of your life everyday.

Walking is a wonderful way to calm down especially when we’re upset. To stop the incessant thinking in the mind, it helps to focus on the body. When things aren’t going well, it’s good to stop the thinking in order to prevent the unpleasant, destructive energies from continuing.

When you walk, only walk. Don’t think. Don’t talk.

Walking meditation is a way to practice moving without intention. It simply means walking while being aware of each step and of our breathing.

We can practise mindful breathing anytime — in between business appointments, or walking to the bus stop. We can keep our steps slow, relaxed, and calm. There’s no rush, no place to get to, no hurry. It can release our sorrows and worries and help bring peace into the body and mind.

Many of us walk without chains, yet we aren’t free.

We’re tethered to regret and sorrow from the past. We return to the past and continue to suffer. The past is a prison — but you have the key to unlock the door and arrive in the present moment.

Then, there are those who are prisoners of the future.

We don’t know what will happen; but worry so much that the future becomes a kind of prison. But truth is — the real future is made of the present.

When we know how to take care of the present moment the best we can, that’s all we can do to assure ourselves of a good future.

We build the future by taking good care of the present moment.

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