Walking meditation is meditation while walking. We walk slowly, in a relaxed way, keeping a light smile on our lips. When we practice this way, we feel deeply at ease, and our steps are those of the most secure person on Earth. All our sorrows and anxieties drop away, and peace and joy fill our hearts. Anyone can do it. It takes only a little time, a little mindfulness, and the wish to be happy.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
If I had to label my spiritual path, I would say that I am mostly focused on Zen Buddhism. (I don’t usually use that label for myself, though. I am a terribly inconsistent practitioner.) If I had to pick one of my greatest spiritual influences, I would say that it is Thich Nhat Hanh and his teachings on mindfulness meditation. His teachings are simple: Be mindful of the present moment; you will see that peace and happiness are here and now.
I talk a lot about the technique used for dancing tango, because it is easier for me to find the words to talk about the physicality of the dance. Its spirituality is more elusive. For me, however, tango is just like walking meditation. I relax; I feel at ease; I feel peace and joy.
Walking meditation helps us regain our sovereignty, our liberty as a human being. We walk with grace and dignity, like an emperor, like a lion. Each step is life.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
As soon as I start dancing, I find myself. Even on my most frustrating days, if I can slow down and walk with a smile on my face, I find myself. I feel the grace and dignity that is always there, inside me. I reconnect with the present. I feel my frustrations and concerns drop away as I focus on walking. I find life.
I feel lucky to be a follower in tango, because I don’t know if leaders have this same experience. Leaders tell me that they have to deal with decision-making, with negotiating relationships with other couples on the dance floor, with ego. I get to just walk. I think my favorite leaders are the ones who let go of all of those concerns, smile, and just walk.
Will you walk with me?