People often ask me how to connect spiritually with Mother Earth. It’s a legitimate question because many people seldom even think about our home planet. It’s taken for granted, and in some cases even becomes invisible in a way, as we walk or drive on it, fly over it or swim in it without considering it as a whole. About the only instances when most people notice the earth is during natural disasters, or when they come across a beautiful part of the planet.
It is easy to feel spiritually connected with the Earth at times, say when you are watching a beautiful sunset lighting her beaches or mountains, or when you are awestruck while traveling in her lush valleys or along her breathtaking mountaintops. But what other circumstances can you influence on a daily basis in order to appreciate the entire being that is the Earth Mother? And how can you connect with her in a way to uplift your spirit?
Here are three simple ideas:
1.) Spend at least five minutes each morning in nature, year round. You may need to get up a wee bit earlier, but your effort will be greatly rewarded. And it will soon be a habit. But, how does one get into nature if, say, you live in a highrise building or reside in the center of a crowded city? It’s easy! Step outside! Presto! You are in nature. (In some cases, like if there is no balcony on your apartment, you can simply open a window and stand as close to its open space as is practical and safe.)
The trick is to get in tune with it. You begin, of course, with breathing. Close your eyes and slowly take in the outside air through your nostrils, filling your lungs to capacity before holding it for several seconds. Then slowly let out the breath through your mouth. Repeat this at least three times. Then, keeping your eyes closed, return to breathing normally, except that with each breath, give thanks to Mother Earth for providing the air you are breathing. Thank her for sustaining you. Even if you are standing on concrete (even on the 35th floor), feel the earth beneath your feet and the sun or stars overhead. Let your thoughts drift away with each exhalation. Simply be with the air on each inhalation. Your breath is the Earth Mother’s breath. Then, listen for and be in nature, even if where you live is noisy. Can you hear a bird? A breeze? Feel the sun? Sense the temperature? Express gratitude to each and all, and to life itself. There is a rhythm to it all, and the closer you get to it, the better you will feel.
2.) The second suggestion is to deliberately go into nature and take off your shoes and socks, put your bare feet on the ground or in a stream, lake, pond, ocean, etc. and sense the world through your feet. Walk around a bit.
If on the ground, try not to leave tracks, or even to step on blooming ground cover (like red or white clover or tiny flowers). While it’s nearly impossible to do so, the attention you give to your footsteps will help you get in tune with the life beneath your feet and to develop more respect for it. Finally, find a quiet spot and sit down, then close your eyes. Allow the sensations of the earth and nature to fill you and to push all other thoughts from your mind.
If you’re in water, try not to splash it. Glide through it and feel it against your skin. Then, stand in one spot, or sit in a comfortable pool, and close your eyes. Allow the water to teach you how to be still and to wash other thoughts from your mind. Sense the currents if you are in moving water and allow them to help you sense a direction in your life that will result in a higher appreciation for the Earth. Let the water cleanse your soul while you remain in your position for at least 30 minutes or longer.
I always suggest that people put their bare feet on the ground or in water (or both) every day, all year long. Obviously, this can be a dicey proposition during the winter, so use your judgment when you think it imprudent to step onto a frozen surface or during an inclement day. But even briefly touching a snowdrift or a frozen puddle or sticking a bare toe out the door into nature can be a breakthrough moment for your consciousness and the awareness of the earth’s seasonal energy shifts. And if you are stuck in an apartment, throw open the window and allow the cold air to briefly pour over your bare feet while you do the exercises above. It’s all like doing a meditation, except that you are actively engaging the experience.
3.) Each time before you drift off to sleep, express gratitude to Mother Earth. Thank her for all of life, for breath, for your heartbeats, for water and the food you eat. Ask that you develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for her existence. You could say something like this at the end: “I ask for more knowledge about Mother Earth and for how I can grow spiritually and be in harmonious service with it.”
When morning comes, or when you next leave your residence, take a pinch of birdseed from a bowl you’ve placed near the door and, stepping outside, scatter the seeds. Doesn’t matter if you sprinkle them on grass or pavement. You are making a kind gesture in return for what Mother Earth is teaching you.
There are many more ways to connect with this beautiful being, of course, but if you can do these, you will not need anyone to suggest what to do next. You will know the way.
It’s the way of the heart, a mother’s way.
Aho & Namaste,
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