May 11 2018

Thich Nhat Hanh – Walking Meditation

Published by at 7:58 am under Poetry

Walking Meditation
by Thich Nhat Hanh

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

— from Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh, by Thich Nhat Hanh


/ Image by Leonid Afremov /

Something for us today by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen monk, peace activist, author, meditation teacher…

This doesn’t feel entirely like a “poem” to me; it’s more like rhythmic, chant-like set of instructions. Reading these words I can almost hear Thich Nhat Hanh’s gentle voice offering these suggestions to us as we engage in walking meditation.

Often we imagine a very stern notion of what meditation is, and it involves sitting rigidly still. Walking meditation invites us to move, to interact with our environment — but with a sense of presence, with full awareness, with resting mind. This allows the body to move in its natural fluidity without growing stiff. It encourages a full, easy flow of the breath.

But, in walking meditation, we are not marching from point A to point B–

We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.

We are dropping the purpose and destination from our stride. The way we walk is important. Resting mind, allowing mind, welcoming heart.

It is not an easy thing to move through a garden or down the sidewalk without becoming attached to the thousand things we see or think. The reflex is to collapse the awareness with each small encounter, like a fisherman with a net, trying to ensnare and possess the world. But to keep that net of awareness open, spread wide, to witness the magical moment, to watch it dance for its instant in the sun, and then to allow it to drift past, that is the gentle work of the meditator.

To walk through the world, with a sense of peace in the heart and belly, feeling simple happiness beneath the worries of the day, touching the earth and being touched by the earth, seeing and encountering without constricting the awareness, secure enough to know ourselves, where we are, what we are part of… we are doing walking meditation.

Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

Have a beautiful day!


Recommended Books: Thich Nhat Hanh

Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy & Liberation


Thich Nhat Hanh, Thich Nhat Hanh poetry, Buddhist poetry Thich Nhat Hanh

Vietnam/France/US (1929 – )
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

More poetry by Thich Nhat Hanh

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Thich Nhat Hanh – Walking Meditation”

  1. marrobon 11 May 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I like the physical/sensual quality of both the poem and your expanding
    comments Ivan. It’s often tempting (for me at least ) to ‘float away’
    while meditating. Touch Earth brings a deeper connection. Thanks.

    Worth reflecting too on the reciprocal rhythm of earth being safe
    if WE feel safe enough. Like Mother mirroring Child and vice versa.

    Which reminds me –
    Happy Mother’s Day to all who nurture …even when it doesn’t seem we get it right.

  2. Carol Burnson 12 May 2018 at 4:32 am

    Thank you for this writing Ivan. I do love Thich Nhat Hanh and his writings. And
    thank you marrob for your thoughtful comments. Thich Nhat Hanh and Thomas Merton
    were friends briefly before Merton’s death and I loved Merton’s description of
    Thich Nhat Hanh – (I can’t find it now, but this is close) a cross between a snail and
    a piece of road grating equipment. Would that we all might be. . .

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