With the nicer weather of summer upon us, you might think about shaking up your prayer life a bit. One spiritual practice that often gets forgotten is to use walking as a prayer. In fact, monks and nuns have practiced walking meditation since the beginning of religious communities. Such a movement practice can help us get physically and spiritually fit, and it also helps us remember the value of our bodies. Walking meditation helps reconnect our minds, bodies, and souls.
Usually when we walk we are intent on getting somewhere by a specific time ─ especially true for New Yorkers! But in walking meditation, there is no need for such goals. In fact, many walking meditations are done in circles, or through a garden or labyrinth. The only aim is to feel yourself in your body, to be present to yourself and to God, to be a moving temple of the Holy Spirit. When you have that intention, your every movement connects you to God in a loving prayer. If you need a little help, you can also use a short prayer or sacred word to keep rhythm with your gait. (The Jesus Prayer, or the words “Abba” or “Peace” or “Mercy,” are just a few ideas.)
May we each spend this time this summer being very intentional about the steps we are taking with our bodies. May our walking meditation be a reminder that we were created to use our bodies, our minds, our spirits, and indeed our whole lives as prayers. And may we also be confident that God will be with us every step of the way!