Seen that is a practical type book, here is an excrpt with one of the simpliest exercises. Try it. Enjoy. Share Your Experiences.
This is an exercise that can be performed everywhere, every time we walk, even while moving from one room to another.
Before beginning with walking, sense for a moment, the contact of your feet with the ground. Be sure that your body is in a relaxed and upright position, and if you don’t need your hands to carry something, relax your arms at the sides of your body.
Try to keep your gaze relaxed and your eyes focussed on nothing in particular. Just look at whatever comes to your eyes.
Begin with walking, maintaining the attention on the contact of your feet with the ground, step by step. Also, be sure your walk is light and gentle, such as you are caressing the ground that sustains you.
Gradually, begin to expand the sensations of your body from the feet to the rest of your body: sense the rhythmic movement of your arms, the flow of your breath, your back and head straight, … until you achieve the whole sensation of your body.
Also, feel the air touching your body in motion.
Gradually expand your awareness on the other senses: sight, smell, hearing and even taste. Once more, don’t seek any particular sensation, just keep yourself attentive on whatever you are able to grasp, moment by moment.
Probably, in the first moments while beginning this practice, you’ll feel your body clumsy, stuck, rigid, or such. Just notice this without trying to change anything. Just follow the movements of your body, gently, with your attention. After a while, this feeling should cease, replaced by a sensation of lightness, such as your body walks alone, propelling you.
It’s inevitable that, during this practice, some thoughts will arise in your mind. When you notice a thought, don’t try to stop it, just notice it and continue to keep your attention on the act of walking with all the five senses. If a thought distracts you from this and you begin to daydream, once you realize this, just focus your attention back on the act of walking. It’s a normal thing to be distracted by thoughts, sounds, smells… so we have to be patient and persevere with returning our focus on the practice.
If it’s easier for you, just take a light note about what you are experiencing: “thought”, “sound”, “smell”, “itch”, etc….
Be present to anything that comes to your attention and make it part of your experience.
Try, when possible and when you remember it, to perform this exercise for at least ten minutes. Of course, you can gradually extend the duration of this practice and maybe it could become an intentional habit – a new way of experiencing the act of walking.
It would be a nice thing, having the habit of walking with presence, would it not?
Once you’ve reached the expansion of your awareness on your sensations, you’ll probably experience a different perception of things, such as all that surrounds you is more vivid, alive, a more real world … with you included in it, as part of a world that contains you. You’ll experience a moment of lucidity, aware with your whole being, of walking on this Earth.
–from the chapter “Ritualization of Life” of “The Book of ‘Little things“