When Walking Meditation Fails

This morning, I headed out for my usual walk and meditation. Almost from the beginning, something didn’t feel right. My pace was a little slower, the sun was a little higher. But the weather was fine and I was feeling strong.

After I crossed a busy street, the meditation that usually relaxes and delights mecommon-sandpiper_504_600x450 didn’t work. Was it the long list of items still to do before the Design Your Life Camp? Was it the new Persuasive Writing Class I’m teaching on Wednesday? I don’t know. I tried following my breathing. I tried listening to every sound on the walk. I tried imagining letting go of each thought. But my mind raced and bounced, worried and fretted. There are sandpipers here in the fall, shore birds hundreds of miles from shore. I felt that misplaced.

It happens. Even long-term meditators have days in which meditation is difficult. I decided to let it go. Instead, I plugged in and listened to a novel that took a bit to get into, but that I am now enjoying.

I wanted to worry about it. I wanted to figure out why. I wanted to beat myself up for . . . listening to my inner critic. It doesn’t happen often, but when I can’t muster the gift of meditation, I move on. Tomorrow will be another opportunity. It’s hard to be OK with not connecting with a practice that is generally refreshing and invigorating. But the more you are OK with it, the sooner the strength comes back. And I trust it will. It’s important not to beat yourself up, not to over-think it (hah!) and not to quit. Other than that, some days are better than others.

-Quinn McDonald will get up and continue doing walking meditation tomorrow.