Mindfulness Activity #40
Kissing the Earth Walking Mindfulness
Today, I want to speak to you about the way we begin our day. Often, we begin in negativity before we are even consciously aware. In this way, we invite negative emotions. Perhaps, you had an unpleasant dream, or you were stressed about something the night before. Perhaps you woke up and before you even put a foot on the floor, you were thinking about the least pleasant thing you had to do in the day to come. Mindfulness enables us to be intentional about our thoughts and actions.
What if, instead of attending to the last upsetting thing or fearing the next one, you began the day with intention to be gentle and accepting. How differently would you feel? One of the easiest ways to get your mind to settle is by settling your body first-then the mind follows. We can do this as we are moving to brush our teeth, to make tea or coffee, to prepare to eat breakfast…We can walk not with focus solely on where we are going, but also on how we are going.
We can walk gently. This does not need to be super slow, just with care and attention. The way we walk through the world literally and figuratively can impact our days and our life. The idea of Karma in Buddhism has been misunderstood. A mischaracterization is that you are mean to people in this life and you come back in the next as a cockroach. I am not a Buddhist scholar, but one way to understand karma is the idea that if you radiate kindness and peace, that energy spreads and returns to you in the here and now. Science demonstrates that people who smile to others receive more smiles back.
So today, we will read a brief quote about mindful walking and we will practice walking in a particular way…
Get settled, cue up this timer,
Stand, breathe in and out deeply, then begin the timer and read the following quote:
“We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
Walk until you hear the second chime. When you are finished, noticed what the experience was like. If it was not calm-if it felt annoying, that’s fine. It is difficult to cultivate willingness and attention. Make it your intention to feel your feet on the floor anytime you need to move today. Make an effort to walk with peace as if your feet are kissing the earth. Notice and invite the pleasant in today, even if only in interludes throughout a challenging day.