By Swami Anand Kul Bhushan
When the walker witnesses the walking, it is meditation. In fact, Zen meditation called Walking in Zen.
Walking with extreme awareness, looking only four feet away, lifting each step gradually and putting it down ever so softly to feel and absorb any leaves, twigs or small stones in your sole, being alert to even the smallest sound like falling leaves, whiff of a breeze or the song of a distant bird amounts to Zen Walking. It can’t be explained in words; only experienced in person. Suddenly, all your senses are working at their peak. Without realizing, you are in deep meditation.
An ideal location for Zen Walk is the meandering path created at Osho Dham near New Delhi. Lined on both sides with tall, swaying bamboos in their light yellow and green colours, surrounded by grassy and tall trees, paved with stones strewn with leaves and small gravel, this pathway reminds of a Japanese landscape, the right environment to experience the serenity of Zen Walking.
About 40-odd Osho followers were introduced to Zen Wal before they got lost into this unique experience for the first time.
One of them, Dhyan Jyoti, penned a poem right after her Zen Walk:
With the hands open, feet bare,
I look at life once again
Wind gently playing hide and seek
With leaves both alive and dead,
Life throbbing in shadows,
In sunlight, in specks of dust, Patterns in stones,
No thoughts but just
Simply walking, simply seeing,
I am Here”
Exactly what Osho says by HereNow.-0**99/*+++
“After very long time, I heard so many sounds,’ wrote Anupam Mishra, “These sounds, I had forgotten even existed. It was like meeting my own self. I heard an airplane, the banging of door faraway, a shrill sound of tapping utensils, two men talking, the laughter of women. Then, I started listening to the wind, three different kinds of birds chirping, a leaf falling, a motor cutting a stone, creaking of my own feet bone (never knew it was so frequently) I felt my feet and everything came under it. I felt the cold and I felt my conscious spoke less to my heart or brain. I felt peace.”
Experiencing of inner silence, Archana became aware of the movement of feet, how it is bending, touching the ground and balancing the path of life with small and aware steps. Overall, peace.
“This Zen walk is my first experience in life and it was wonderful. “When I started moving, I felt something strange in my legs and as long as I kept moving and focusing, attention on my every single step, suddenly my mind stopped chattering and every noise coming from outside whether it was of birds or trees seemingly felt pleasant for me. So, I must say is a great experience for me,” recalled Vipin Kumar.
Anushula was diverted as in the beginning as she focused on the feet of the person in front of her. This made her tense. Then the camp conductor made her aware of the tension in her hands and directed her to change her lane. “After this, I practiced letting go of tension in my hands. My mind also let go of the ideas it was holding on to,” she wrote, “My gaze then naturally adjusted to a distance of four feet ahead and I started to experience the flow. I no longer looked at my feet. My gaze was fixed at the changing four feet distance and I gathered speed also. I was no longer focusing on what I was stepping on.”
In Zen walk, Sanjay Mandal found his awareness increasingly with a feeling of the self. “Suddenly, a thought is coming and I am awake on the walk; then thoughts stop and we are feeling the touching of the earth. A sound of birds behind. It was good experience of Zen Walking, he remembered.
Terming it as a very divine experience, Deveindra Jaitly, wrote, “I was more focused. I felt even if a little sensation happened under every inch of my feet, that experience was amazing. Moreover, I learnt to control my emotions.”
Zen Walk made Nitin Rana more comfortable and relaxed. “Felt like meditation in nature. Felt my body with peace. Zen walk stopped the brain’s thought process. Made me feel pain in a different way. I feel different types of sound from the surroundings in a clear way,” he commented.
Awareness while walking brings a different quality to it altogether, said Satish. “I did kind of forget the feel of earth touching my feet, this Zen walking reminds me of that. This somehow connect me to earth or I should say to the very nature itself,” he went on.
“I can feel my soles of feet are very sensitive,” Bodhi Tara mused, “I can feel the sensations and there is a rhythm in walking, the second foot following the first one in the same pattern and I can feel the coldness of stones. Felt this kind of walking can come out of silence.”
There was music even in the walk discovered Ajay Jain, who went on, “I could hear even the smallest of sounds of all birds, trees and other surroundings like airplane. There was a peace and calmness in mind.”
Few thought-free moments; gracefully moving; every step made me observe keenly, awaken and consciously; on the way, getting the sounds of birds; a soothing experience, is how Anurag Singh described his experience.
Terming it as a unique, Sarla Agarwal mentioned, “I did not know when I went into no-mind. All thoughts finished. Then I realised that all my energy had flowing into my head. Experienced exceptional bliss for which I am very grateful.”
Monica experienced silence. Also experienced witnessing that we can be a witness fore very task all the time. The sound of leaves, the silence in the breeze was a great experience. Felt we should live in witnessing, she claimed. “Zen walk reminded me of my childhood friendships and love,” said Sanjay Narayan Tripathi. Lost and then witnessing what he was doing, Dilwar Singh lost all feeling of his being, only the experience of just walking. During this walk, Rinki spiritual silence but had no words to describe it.
This is a wonderful experience, claimed Dinesh Jain who recollected, “This is one of the best meditations because I can do it anywhere and at any time. I was listening to the noise around me. Although I was distracted in between sometime with my thought but again and again, I came back to my present consciousness. I experienced my way of walking. Thanks for this meditation.”
When he started, Alok Mehta confessed he was not conscious. “After a few steps, I understood and with full consciousness started walking. At the start, I was not able to keep in tandem of lifting my legs, slowly it became automatic, putting the left toe forward lifting, simultaneously the right toe in back and automatically got the rhythm. It was only me and walking with the whole surrounding, hearing the breeze and other sounds,” he recalled.
Osho says, “Zen does not divide your life into the mundane and the sacred, it says everything is sacred. So, eating, be meditative. Walking, be meditative. Whatsoever you are doing… taking a bath, be meditative. Wherever you are, you are in the temple. This whole existence is God’s temple! Behave as you would like to behave in a temple. God is present everywhere.”