18 Jul
Posted in: Practice, Retreat-in-a-Box
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Walking the Question

walking-the-questionPhillip Moffitt gave a unique twist to one of the periods of Walking Meditation we did at the Retreat-in-a-Box for Care Providers last Sunday. He started with the regular instructions: walk about 10 to 20 paces, back and forth, at whatever speed feels comfortable, paying mindful attention to the lower part of your body and perhaps lightly noting “step, step” or “lifting, moving, placing” to help keep your attention on your body. But then he added:

Before you start the actual walking practice, stand for a minute and silently ask yourself this question: What would be most nourishing for me as I perform my role as a care provider? (Or: What do I need to do to take care of myself? Or whatever question comes into your mind.)

Ask the question silently 3 times, then drop it (as best you can). Start your walking meditation, as instructed. Don’t try to come up with an answer. If the question comes back into your mind, try to let it go. Turn your attention to the noting: “step, step,” or “lifting, moving, placing” etc. Do the same if you find yourself trying to answer the question. Just do the normal practice. Then, when the walking period is over, stop and silently ask yourself the question again. Wait for a moment and see what happens.

He said that he has used this practice on several occasions, particularly when he needed to make a decision and couldn’t find any practical/rational basis on which to make it. Sometimes, nothing happens. But often it does. Sometimes the answer presents itself immediately and it’s not what you would have expected, but you recognize it and you know the truth of it. Sometimes nothing comes right away, but you feel like something in you has shifted. And sometimes, you realize you were asking the wrong question!      

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