An Ancient Land With Ancient Teachings
Nepal is a land of mystery, history, and wonder that draws people from all over the world and all walks of life to its high mountains and varied culture. From the towering Himalaya to the rain forest of Chitiwan, the diversity of Nepal's landscape is only matched by the diversity of it's people. Once you fall under the spell of this magical place you will return again and again to find that feeling.
The Walking Meditation is an ancient practice aimed at putting ourselves in touch with the deepest parts of who we are and exploring the inner workings of our souls. On this trip you will be lead by a local Lama, or high monk, and explore the natural environment as well as participate in daily meditations, rituals, and teachings about Buddhism. The opportunity for transformation has never been more clear.
Trekking As A Walking Meditation
When we walk anywhere it can be a meditative practice. This is especially true when we trek through the sacred Himalaya in Nepal. The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh talks about the meditation of walking. He says, "The practice of mindful walking is a profound and pleasurable way to deepen our connection with our body and the earth. We breathe, take a mindful step, and come back to our true home." Nowhere is this more true than as we explore the land and culture of Nepal by foot.
As you trek keep these principles in mind:
- Unite the body and mind: Walking meditation unites our body and our mind. We combine our breathing with our steps. When we breathe in, we may take two or three steps. When we breathe out, we may take three, four, or five steps. We pay attention to what is comfortable for our body. Our breathing has the function of helping our body and mind to calm down. As we walk, we can say, Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I bring peace into my body. Calming the breath calms the body and reduces any pain and tension.
- We are not seperate from the Earth: When we take mindful steps on the earth, our body and mind unite, and we unite with the earth. The earth gave birth to us and the earth will receive us again. Nothing is lost. Nothing is born. Nothing dies. We don’t need to wait until after our body has disintegrated to go back to Mother Earth. We are going back to Mother Earth at every moment. Whenever we breathe, whenever we step, we are returning to the earth. Even when we scratch ourselves, skin cells will fall and return to the earth.
- Let the Buddha walk: Those of us who can walk on the earth, who can walk in freedom, should do it. If we rush from one place to another, without practicing walking meditation, it is such a waste. What is walking for? Walking is for nothing. It’s just for walking. That is our ultimate aim—walking in the spring breeze. We have to walk so that we have happiness, so that we can be a free person. We have to let go of everything, and not seek or long or search for anything. There is enough for us to be happy.
Here is a poem I really love to focus your mind and body on the walking meditation.
I take refuge in Mother Earth.
Every breath, every step
manifests our love.
Every breath brings happiness.
Every step brings happiness.
I see the whole cosmos in the earth.
Text and principles adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh.
As with all of our trips, in Nepal we partner with a locally owned and operated nonprofit organization that is working to improve the lives of communities in the places we travel. We partner with Karma Sherpa and The Karma Project. The Karma Project is a non-profit organization that creates locally owned sustainable tourism companies to provide employment, education, medical services, and job training to people living in remote Himalayan villages. Many mountain communities cannot afford to send their children to school, or to transport loved-ones to distant medical clinics. Money from tourism can make these services affordable.
The Karma Project focuses on these areas of work:
1. Provide medical scholarships for villagers to work as community doctors.
2. Reduce deforestation, landslides, and respiratory problems
3. Provide training, equipment, and support to locally owned businesses
4. Promote supporting companies and organizations.
In the past few years the Karma Project has completed many amazing projects including:
- Providing infrastructure and funding to bring electricity to the remote village of Sibuje in partnership with the community
Create a locally owned tourism company
Partner with international tour companies to provide employment to Sibuje villagers.
Start a scholarship fund for students in Sibuje
To bring you into close contact with land, culture, and specifically the teachings and daily application of Buddhist practice, this excursion will be guided by a local Buddhist monk, of Lama. In addition to your trekking and logistical guide Karma Sherpa, you will be accompanied by his uncle who presides over a large monastery in the foothills of the Himalaya. Under his guidance it is our hope that you will come to learn about the beauty and history of this complex and enduring practice.
Your Buddhist immersion will include:
- Daily meditations guided by your Lama guide
- Instruction on Buddhist philosophy and history
- Connection to monasteries the place of worship for practitioners
- Time to ask questions and learn from your guide
As you walk each day and meditate on the moment our hope is that you find space and time to dive deeply into the questions you might have. To take time to appreciate the present and to come to understand the beauty and connectivity of the Earth.