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The Buddha said that the past is gone and the future
is not yet here. Let us not regret the past. Let us not worry about the
future. Go back to the present moment and live deeply the present
moment. Because the present moment is the only moment where you can
touch life. Life is available only in the present moment. That is why
walking meditation is to go back to the present moment, in order to be
alive again and to touch life deeply in that moment. In order to be
able to touch the earth with our feet and enjoy walking, we have to
establish ourselves firmly in the present moment, in the here and the
In walking meditation, we walk like a free person. This is
not political freedom. This is freedom from afflictions, from sorrow,
from fear. Unless you are free you cannot enjoy walking. I would like
to propose to you a short poem that you might like to use for walking
I have arrived. I am home.
In the here. In the now.
I am solid. I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.
might like to take two steps and breathe in and say, I have arrived, I
have arrived. And when you breathe out, you take another two steps and
say silently, I am home, I am home. Our true home is really in the here
and in the now. Because only in the here and the now can we touch life.
As the Buddha said, life is available only in the here and the now, so
going back to the present moment is going home. That is why you take
one step or two steps and you awaken to the fact that you have arrived.
You have arrived in the present moment.
If you are able to
arrive, then you will stop running—running within and running without.
There is a belief in us that happiness cannot be possible in the here
and the now. We have to go somewhere. We have to go to the future in
order to be able to really be happy.
That kind of thinking has
been there for a long time. Maybe that feeling has been transmitted to
us from our ancestors and our parents. That is why we have to wake up
to the presence of that habit energy in us and to do the reverse. The
Buddha said that it is possible for us to be peaceful and happy in the
present moment. That is the teaching of trista dharma sadha vihara. It
means living happily right in the present moment. When you are there,
body and mind united, you have an opportunity to touch the conditions
of your happiness. If you are able to touch these conditions of
happiness that are already available in the here and the now, you can
be happy right away. You don't have to run anywhere, especially into
When we practice walking, we might be aware that
we have strong feet. Our feet are strong enough for us to enjoy running
and walking. That is one condition for happiness that is available.
When I breathe in and I become aware of my eyes, I encounter another
condition for my happiness. Breathing in, I am aware of my eyes.
Breathing out, I smile to my eyes. This is an exercise, a very simple
exercise to help you realize that you have eyes which are still in good
condition. You need only to open your eyes to see the blue sky, the
white cloud, the luxurious vegetation. You can see all kinds of forms
and colors just because you have eyes still in good condition. Your
eyes are another condition for your happiness. We have so many
conditions like that for our happiness and yet we are still unhappy. We
still want to run away from the present moment, hoping we'll find some
happiness in the future.
Breathing in, I'm aware of my heart.
Breathing out, I smile to my heart. That is another exercise. When you
practice like that you touch your heart with your mindfulness. If you
continue a minute, you realize that you still have a heart that
functions normally. It is wonderful to have a heart that still
functions normally. There are people who don't have a heart like that
and their deepest desire is to have a heart like you. So conditions for
happiness may be more than enough for us to be happy, but we are not
able to be happy because of that tendency to run away from the present
To take an in-breath, to smile, and to touch the
conditions of happiness that are available, is something that all of us
can do. Because of that we can stop and establish ourselves in the
present moment. That is the teaching of living happily in the present
moment. Please train yourself to make the present moment, the here and
the now, into your true home. That is the only home that we have. That
is the only place where we can touch life. Everything we are looking
for must be found in the here and the now. In that way walking
meditation can be a great pleasure and can be very healing.
you have to make any effort to practice walking meditation? I don't
think so. It is like when you drink a glass of orange juice. Do you
think that you have to make an effort in order to enjoy the orange
juice? No. Walking is like that. To really enjoy a glass of orange
juice, you have to be there one hundred per cent mind and body
together. If you are there, mind and body firmly established in the
present moment, then a glass of orange juice will become a real thing
for you. You are real; therefore, the juice is real. And there life is
real. Life exists. Life is deep during the time you drink your orange
When you contemplate a beautiful sunset, do you have to make
any effort? I don't think so. You don't have to make any effort in
order to enjoy a beautiful sunset. You need only to be there, to be
there mind and body together. But if your body is there and your mind
is in the past or in the future, then the beautiful sunset will not be
there for you.
There is a kind of energy that helps you to be
there body and mind together. That energy is called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the capacity of being there body and mind united. When
you drink your orange juice, drink mindfully and you will enjoy your
juice because you are really there one hundred per cent. If your body
and mind are united when you contemplate the beautiful sunset, it means
that you are mindful. Mindfulness helps you to be there in order for
the beautiful sunset to be there too. While you walk, if you allow
yourself to be there mind and body together, then walking will become
mindful walking; it will be healing, refreshing and nourishing.