Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Alternate Activity 3: Walking Meditation

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Music player
  • Soft instrumental music

Preparation for Activity

  • Find a quiet open space outside. If the weather does not permit this, find a large room with space for participants to wander around.

Description of Activity

Youth experience a meditation on their faith journey.

Explain that participants will use a form of meditation called "walking meditation" to explore their personal faith development. Say that many different religions use walking meditation or walking prayer as a way to engage the body in a spiritual practice. In this case, we are using a walking meditation as a continuation of the journeying metaphor.

Turn on the music and follow this script:

Find a space that gives you some distance away from everyone else but is close enough so that you can still hear my voice. Make sure that you stay within your ability to hear me as we take part in this walking meditation. [Pause for a minute to let people find their space]

Once you have found your spot take three slow breaths. Feel the air as it passes through your mouth and nose and moves into your lungs. Feel it as it moves out of your body. [Pause]

Now thinking about your shoulders and back, let the tension release as you continue to breathe.

Now think about your legs. Give each one a little shake to loosen them up.

Now take your first step. Pay attention to how the pressure feels as first your heel and then the rest of your foot make contact with the ground. Focus on that feeling as you continue to walk. [Pause for the count of 10]

As you continue to walk imagine that you are walking on a path. What is the path made of? Is it the concrete of a city sidewalk or the dirt of a trail in the woods? Is it even or bumpy? [Pause for a count of 10] Now imagine that this path is a path along the story of your life.

Start by thinking of yourself as a young child. What were the earliest stories that were told to you? What did your parents or caregivers tell you about god, about right and wrong? What were the rituals practiced at home? Did you go to church? [Pause for a count of 10]

Continue to walk, paying attention to the feeling of your feet touching the ground.

Now think of yourself when you were in elementary school. Was this how old you were when you first started to go to church? Did you have friends at the church? What were the religious holidays that you celebrated? Were you told any stories from the Bible or other religious books? What did you think of them? If you did not belong to a religious community, how did your family and friends foster you spiritually? [Pause for a count of 10]

Continue walking and thinking about your spiritual and faith journey. Where are you right now? Have you had a spiritual practice? What is it? Have you questioned your faith? Have you found any answers? Continue to walk, paying attention to your feet and thinking about these questions. I will stop talking for about five minutes as you walk and think. [Pause for about 5 minutes]

Now that you have thought about your past and present, look forward to the future. Where are you going? Where do you want to be in ten years? [Pause for about 1 minute]

Slowly come back to the group. As you do, reflect on all the images and thoughts you had during this meditation. When you get back, please take a seat and stay silent until everyone returns.

Once everyone returns, stay in silence for a moment or two. Then ask the group the following reflection questions:

  • How did that feel?
  • Were you surprised by anything? Did you learn anything about yourself?
  • What do you think of walking meditation? Have you ever done it before? If so, how was this time similar or different?

Including All Participants

If you have a participant with mobility issues, you will need to think about how will adapt this activity for their needs. Talk to them directly and show them the script. They will likely have ideas for how to adapt the activity to their needs.