Labyrinth Walking Meditation
If you keep up with FORGE Outdoors activities on Facebook or the forge-wi.org webpage, you may have noticed our upcoming event: “Labyrinth Walk at Alice’s Garden.” Walking the labyrinth comes from a tradition of walking meditation and mindfulness. What is walking meditation, and why should you give it a try?
Walking meditation is an important part of mindfulness in many cultures, and is most commonly attributed to practices in Zen Buddhism. Jack Kornfield describes walking meditation as “a simple and universal practice for developing calm, connectedness, and embodied awareness.” Walking meditation involves slow, thoughtful, and intentional movement through a space. Labyrinths, especially those in nature, provide a path for one to follow while focusing attention and observing one’s body in relation to the natural world. If you’ve never tried meditation or mindfulness practices before, this might feel new and strange. Take a step into this practice, especially if it is your first experience with mindfulness!
Meditation and mindfulness can be especially helpful for trans and non-binary folks. In an article on Medium.com, La Sarmiento says that meditation was life changing for them as a transgender person: “Before I started meditating, my strategy for being loved and accepted in the world was to be what everyone else wanted me to be. Even though I was meeting others’ expectations, I wasn’t happy.”
La Sarmiento says that meditation “has allowed me to be more of who I am and to be really comfortable with that. I’m saying that from a place of not only my identity as a person of color or my identity as a transgender person, but more of the fullness of my humanity. I can love and accept and honor the parts of me that experience anger or sadness; the parts of me that experience grief or fear; the parts of me that for a long time had a really difficult time receiving love. I now have the capacity to relate to whatever is happening — the full catastrophe of life (as Jon Kabat-Zinn calls it) — with as much compassion, kindness, gentleness and understanding as possible.”
Each of us approaches meditation from a different level of experience or interest. Some of us may have found meditation helpful in the past, but have never tried walking meditation. Others may have little interest in mindfulness at all. On July 7th, 2019, at Alice’s Garden, we will gather as a community to experience walking meditation in any form that speaks to us. Let’s take this opportunity to slow down and exist exactly where we are. Let’s take this moment to connect with one another and the various forms of life that surround us.