Walking Meditation For Healing

These words of wisdom come form Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, known as Thay by his followers. One of the central teachings of Thay and the practices in the Plum Village tradition is walking meditation.

I remember vividly the experience I had on my first retreat with Thay in 1997. After the morning dharma talk, we would walk from the gymnasium down to the little beach on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

I was suffering greatly at that time from my first encounter with bladder cancer. I felt that it was important for me to walk as close to Thay as I possibly could. Thay likes to walk and hold hands with the children. For some moments, when there were no children nearby, I would hold Thay’s hand, like a little child.

Since then, and even before, I practice walking meditation for healing and mindfulness. When I lift my left foot, I think, “healthy.” When I lift my right foot, I think “free.”

These phrases come from the introduction to Stop Cancer In Its Tracks: Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves:

Lying still,
Breathing in, breathing out,
Healthy cells grow all by themselves.
I am free of cancer!

Tricycle Daily Dharma

January 5, 2014

Walk Like A Buddha

Walking is an important form of Buddhist meditation. It can be a very deep spiritual practice. But when the Buddha walked, he walked without effort. He just enjoyed walking. He didn’t have to strain, because when you walk in the practice mindfulness, you are in touch with the all the wonders of life within you and around you. This is the best way to practice, with the appearance of nonpractice. You don’t make any effort, you don’t struggle, you just enjoy walking, but it’s very deep. ‘My practice,’ the Buddha said, ‘is the nonpractice, the attainment of nonattainment.’

– Thich Nhat Hanh, “Walk Like A Buddha”

Thich Nhat Hann in Plum Villages 2006

Thich Nhat Hann in Plum Villages 2006 ~ photo by Jerome Freedman

Do you know anyone who would benefit from learning to do walking meditation for healing? Please pass this article on to them.

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  1. […] brother, fellow Order of Interbeing (OI) member, and cancer survivor responded to my poem (see Walking Meditation For Healing) with this statement: ‘Thank you, Jerome. I like this: ‘Healthy Cells Grow All By […]