GSI: Sandra Black
Fear is within us; consuming our thoughts and coloring our perceptions. Ahorn blares to your right – do you contemplatively choose to ignore it, concludingthat the warning was not directed at you? No, you involuntarily orient your eyes andmind to the sudden stimulus. Fear drives us, binding us to actions of which weseemingly have no control. Through the meditative examination of my own fears, Ishall attempt to form a deeper understanding of their root causes, allowing me to better circumvent the fear-based automatic responses that compel my actions.When I began my first walking meditation, my intent was not to study fear.Rather, it was simply to cut down on the distraction of wandering thought patterns,so that I could recognize the attentional states that lie beneath. To accomplish this, Iadopted a form of walking meditation from the Vipassana tradition, through whichone labels and thus becomes aware of the mind’s meandering path (Silananda,1991). Those unfamiliar with walking meditation may find the sound of it a bit odd.After all, it seemingly contradicts the more traditional sitting meditation technique,which one performs in a quiet setting. By its very nature, a walking meditation isdone in a world filled with stimuli bidding for one’s attention. Instead of closingone’s eyes and looking within, one is obligated to look upon the world with seeingeyes. According to the Zen master Ta-hui, meditating “in the midst of activity isimmeasurably superior to the quietistic approach.” (
) Such a meditationchallenges one to maintain his focus, while at the same time allowing for a morecomplete understanding of the senses. I chose a walking meditation because itallowed me to observe my interaction with the world in an aware state.