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Thread: Barefoot

  1. #1


    Hello everyone, I hope all is well this fine night(or respective time). I wanted to get your opinion on being barefoot. The reason I think this is worth discussing is because I have been barefoot most of the time since last spring. I find the practice of being unshod allows you to be more mindful of where and what you walk on as well as the attachement we have to shoes, be it materialistic in needing the newest or thinking of them as a necessity. Of course I do not recommend you go barefoot every where or in all weather, but next time you do walking meditation(whats that called again?) try it outside with out shoes. I hope this gives a slightly new perspective on your feet.

    Hands together and feet bare,

  2. #2

    Re: Barefoot

    Barefoot is wonderful ... until you step on a nail.

    Then, it is a wonderful lesson in just being present with that.

  3. #3

    Re: Barefoot

    My personal preference is to NOT be barefoot. Even as a kid I disliked being barefoot. For me the reason is simple: my feet hurt when I walk on stones, sticks, etc. Maybe my feet are just ultra-sensitive, but I don't like it. It's not about material things for me (I have one pair of running shoes, and one pair of more formal work shoes). For me, it's a comfort thing.


  4. #4

    Re: Barefoot

    I walk without shoes whenever possible. A Short poem I wrote about it:

    I sit still to try to see the world
    I walk without shoes
    To try and feel it

  5. #5

    Re: Barefoot

    I suppose being barefoot is fine in appropriate settings and climates. I certainly would not expect to see a man walk barefoot into restaurant anywhere other than at the beach in the western world. I live near Chicago wear going barefoot would certainl;y not be practical outdoors for about 1/3 of the year, and where there are diehard folks who push wearing shorts and flip-flops well into December, with a parka!!!

    Let me tell you about a monk I know. Father Anthony lives in Wisconsin. He is also a hermit. He has a flock of goats, a flock of geese, a large roost of chickens and a whole mess of pidgeons. He is also discalced (barefoot) all the time. He does wear sandals when walking on pavement, but until just a few winters ago even walked into town and back, a round trip of 16 miles in those sandals. We finally did get him to agree to wear insulated boots for those walks through the snow when his arthritis acted up about three years ago. He was 67 then. When I asked him why he went barefoot, he told me that when he was made a monk he was never given shoes, just the habit, so he thought he wasn't sup[posed to have shoes.

    I'm not a big personal fan of barefoot at my age for a number of reasons, walking and balance being two majors ones; but also aesthetically old man's feet are just not pleasant to see ops: I used to be barefoot a lot in my youth, perhaps that is why those pegs look the way they do now; just ain't been treated right.

    I bow to your feet,

    Seishin Kyrill

  6. #6

    Re: Barefoot

    Taylor thank you for that lovely poem I liked it very much.

    Kyrill, if you don't mind me asking what sort of monk is he? From the work habit I assumed either Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.

    Hands together

  7. #7

  8. #8

    Re: Barefoot

    Tim thank you. That made me laugh rather alot, thank you.

    Hands together laughing,

  9. #9

    Re: Barefoot

    glad i could be of.....well, you know.


  10. #10

    Re: Barefoot

    I would walk around barefooted, but I can't do it very long before my feet begin to hurt. Probably because I'm flatfooted. The only times I am shoeless is when I'm sitting zazen or sleeping. Or in another's house who would rather not have me keep my shoes on.

    Wow...12 posts in two and a half years.

  11. #11

    Re: Barefoot

    this put me in mind of something oddly funny that happened. When I was a kid, we got new carpet, and my stepfather, who already had a "thing" about people going barefoot, really bore down about it. He was positive I'd get a carpet tack in my foot. (Funny thing was, socks were perfectly fine. Apparently they were magic, and a tack wouldn't penetrate them in his world. He just had this "thing" about bare feet. "Get something on your damn feet! You're gonna get a tack in your foot!" )
    Anyway, that was, like, 1976 or so. He died in 1991. I was home on leave, of course, and getting dressed for the wake when the doorbell rang. I trotted down to get it, and, right there at the foot of the stairs, felt a sting. There was a carpet tack sticking out of the bottom of my bare foot.
    I swear, I could here a deep gravelly laugh. "Told you so..."
    This is an absolutely true story. Still makes me laugh. I miss the old man.

  12. #12

    Re: Barefoot

    I think shoes are necessary from a practical perspective. Obviously weather, allergies, other things that can harm the feet. Interestingly, there are runners who really like running barefoot or even wearing shoes that simulate a "barefoot" experience.

    I typically go barefoot in the house when just doing whatever including zazen and kinhin but not outside. Who knows what I could step on? And personally, I don't really think it has an effect on my practice. It would be similar if I practiced zazen with or without clothes on. To me it's immaterial.

  13. #13

    Re: Barefoot

    Hi Will,
    I also prefer doing kinhin barefooted, are with socks on if the floor is cold I'm more conscious of the feeling of my soles, without shoes on. This helps me to stay in the present moment.

    When the temperature outside is good, I love to walk barefooted in the sand or the grass. The forest is a bit more tricky, with all these little sticks and seeds and stuff .... Less suited for kinhin, but still great for walking (a bit more carefully then :lol: ).

  14. #14

    Re: Barefoot

    Hello all,
    I spent most of my teens barefoot as a young hippy. I remember when we lived in Bethnal Green, (east end of London), going to the laundrette, where all these old ladies who had survived the blitz and all spent a good hour telling why it was bad for my feet to be naked all the time. Of course the end result is that now in my fifties I hate wearing shoes, as soon I can I fling them off. In all these years I have rarely got anything in them, I think you learn where to walk. As for helping your practice, I think its a matter of what you are used to, I cannot sit with shoes, but thats just me. Like all things its a matter of what is comfortable, unless of course you are in a room with a shrine in it, then its respectful to remove shoes and not take the dirt of the outside into the temple, shrine room, zendo or whatever -do.



  15. #15

    Re: Barefoot

    When I am outside, I am usually barefoot. even during foul weather (unless it's winter, of course) After all, they are feet. they cannot be ruined by water or the elements that easily. I can walk out in the forest barefoot quite well, you just need to pay attention to where you step. after awhile it becomes second nature and you can walk at a fairly fast pace, off trails, with no shoes on and no pain.

    It also may seem painful at first, but that is just because the bottom of your feet have not toughened up enough yet. After proper exposure the skin on the bottom of our feet becomes like leather.

  16. #16

    Re: Barefoot

    I happened to see this today in the Japanese news ...

    Professor Akira Otsuka has been leading a research group which has been working since 2005 to develop a pair of shoes to use for walking on a sandy beach. You might be thinking this is akin to developing gloves to stroke cats. However, the professor says the aim was to find an efficient way to walk on sandy surfaces which are hot, may conceal sharp objects and which tend to tire out a walker. He does, however, think they may be also suitable for kids sandpits and playgrounds. Here he is with the prototype shoes made by Atom, a local specialist glove maker

  17. #17

    Re: Barefoot

    Hi Will,

    Father Anthony began as a Capuchin monk in his teens and in his 30's began an Eastern Orthodox monk.


    Seishin Kyrill

  18. #18

    Re: Barefoot

    Thank you Kyrill I appreciate that information.

    Jundo, actually shoes like that have become all the rage around here.

    Hands together,

  19. #19

    Re: Barefoot

    Yeah! My wife and I have a pair of those, except they are much, much cooler in black. :mrgreen:

  20. #20

    Re: Barefoot

    Hello all,

    Haven't logged in here for months! .

    Its sandal weather here in Southern California where the temperature today went upward to 90 degrees.

    Kyrill, I thought of you about a month go when I attended the abbatial blessing of the new abbott of the Benedictine monastery where I go for retreat and spiritual direction.

    Here's the tie in to sandal story. Most of the monks of this particular monastery wear sandals most of the time. So I felt comfortable going to the big ceremony wearing my own sandals. Little did I know that the night before at chapter there was a big discussion whether the monks should wear sandal or shoes for the abbatial blessing ceremony. The prior stepped in, put his foot down, and directed all the monks to wear shoes in deference to the invited dignitaries and visitors that will be present.

    I was the only one who wore sandals that day seated among the "dignitaries."



  21. #21

    Re: Barefoot

    Being barefoot throughout the day is like an extension of walking meditation. One must be mindful of every step as our feet will come to harm if we are careless and we will directly feel the impact of out foot stepping on a harmless insect. It's a wonderful practice and really shows you the power of pain suppression when walking on asphalt on hot days


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