On Retreat with Rebecca Bradshaw and the Good People of the Yellow Springs Dharma Center
It was the first morning of a seven-day retreat. I arrived the evening before with two friends after driving four hours in steady rain. The day before my departure, I backed my car into a neighbor’s mailbox and destroyed the rear windshield. I was glad to be here.
When Rebecca gave the instructions for walking meditation, I was only half listening; I’ve practiced walking meditation for years. But then I heard her say, “ “When you walk, there is nowhere to go but home”. I was struck by the simplicity and the power of her message and I began to understand and appreciate walking meditation in an entirely new way.
In the past, when practicing walking meditation, I slowed down, paid attention to the sensations of movement beginning in my hips, progressing down my legs through my knees, my ankles and finally the placement of my foot. And I repeated this series over and over. And whenever I noticed my attention wandering away from the experience of walking, whether to the scenery or sounds or thoughts, I did my best to return to the sensations of walking.
But today was different because I returned home, and home was solid and comforting.
The walking meditation felt less like an exercise in mindfulness and more like a practice in self -compassion, kindness and forgiveness. And isn’t that the true meaning of mindfulness?
May 6, 2017