The introspective path
“Unlike the way in which walking meditation is usually practised nowadays, the standard instructions for walking meditation found in the discourses take mental events as their main object of observation.” (Bikkhu Analayo, Satipatthana. The Direct Path to Realization. BWC 2006: 140).
Bikkhu Analayo, one of the most respected living Theravada monks, thus explains the true intentions behind Buddha's teachings about walking meditation.
Today walking meditation is almost always considered an accessory practice to other forms of meditation, intended to force attention towards the physical body in motion. Whatever the reasons for this interpretation, according to Buddhist psychology the only way of facing suffering is cultivating a strong, clear and self-aware mind, and walking meditation share this purpose with all the other postures and mudras.
When Tibetan Lamas intend to offer a student a new, slightly more advanced teaching, they often ask this question: "What is primary between mind, word and body?": In order to make progress in the processes of awareness it is necessary to understand that the mind is the starting point of any other psychological or physical phenomenon. Self-awareness is primarily the awareness of the nature of one's mind, from which it is then possible to understand and consciously influence our creative expressions, our actions and our body.
Mind is primary. Mindtrek has the purpose of returning to our walking the function of introspective practice, of contemplative and psychological practice. Observing the mind while walking is an ancient practice that transcends specific cultures and that has been practiced in all ages especially by hermits and saints, but also by artists, scientists, philosophers (think of the Peripatetics!), strategists and shamans.
In a world that forces us to spend most of our time sitting, getting our body back on the road is a powerful brake from daily routine, and integrating it with introspection, it becomes even more effective today than in the time of Siddhartha the Buddha, the awakened one, when people used to walk every day anywhere they needed to go.