Daily Devotions
 
Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

One of the more awkward contemplative practices we do at the Edge House is Thich Nhat Hahn’s walking meditation. It’s awkward because, on the surface, it’s almost comically-slow walking. But as you might expect since I’m writing about it here, it’s so much more than that.

Physically, you slow your steps to the point that you can feel the way your foot bends, how your leg takes your weight, how the ground beneath you supports your step. You literally walk as slowly as possible, to the point that I tend to hold my hands out to the sides a bit to keep from falling over. We often do this walking meditation in Burnett Woods across from the Edge House and sometimes on retreat in Hocking Hills.

Spiritually, this extreme slow-motion is meant to encourage deep awareness of your body and the world around you. We move so fast through the world, our thoughts racing as fast as our cars—how do we slow down? How do we even see that we are speeding through? We go to the opposite extreme and walk very, very slowly. 

Hahn says that the whole of walking meditation is this: you arrive with every step. That is all. Read that again, let it settle in your mind: arrive with every step. With each step, we are here and now, not looking backwards or forwards. Here. Now. 

This is one of my most favorite forms of contemplative prayer because it unmistakably integrates my body into the process. It’s similar, actually, to labyrinth walking. Have you been down to the labyrinth in Smale Park? It’s so cool, y’all, highly recommended! A labyrinth isn’t a maze, you can’t get lost. There is only one path in and out and you walk it slowly, intentionally, allowing your breath to deepen and your thoughts to slow. I’ve walked labyrinths in Ohio, New York, Denver, France, and my father’s back yard. Every time—every single time—I find a calm and a release I needed. 

I’ve talked this week about a few of the ways the Edge House students and I pray contemplatively. There are so many others. How do you pray? Do you ever use silence or stillness or slowness as a way to connect with God? What do you find when you do?

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