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Touching the Earth

--by Tracy Cochran (Apr 17, 2017)


In the great myth of the Buddha’s journey, there came a point when he is completely overwhelmed. As he sits meditating under the Bodhi tree, the devil Mara sends temptations to distract him from the wish of his deepest essence. Mara flashes images of the Buddha as a great leader, as a huge success in business with mountains of money, surrounded by beautiful women. He shows the Buddha that can make India great again if he would just give up his quest to awaken, and get up and do something. The Buddha will not move.

When temptation doesn’t work, Mara tries fear, conjuring visions of terrible armies howling for his blood. These armies are external and also internal, legions of anxieties and fears. But the Buddha does not flinch. Slowly, he reached down and touched the earth. The classical explanation is that he is asking the Earth itself to bear witness to his many life times of effort. Not his blinding brilliance or his unique talent, mind you, but his effort, his perseverance, his willingness to show up no matter what. His willingness to fail and fail again. “Ever tried. Ever failed,” writes Beckett. “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” The Buddha understood what the Christian author G.K. Chesterton meant when he wrote, "Everything worth doing is worth doing badly."

Touching the Earth symbolizes humility, coming down out of our thoughts, out of the busy hive of ego, to join the rest of life. The Latin word humus, the rich living earth, is related to the word humility. When difficulty arises, it creates a clearing in the deadening trance of habit. We remember that what really matters is not the list of worries and desires we spend so much time thinking about every day. What matters is much more essential. Being alive, for example. Taking part in life, having a chance to give and receive in the most elemental ways, taking in the beauty of the world and giving back where we can.
 
At moments when the ground gives way beneath our feet, it’s good to remember the power of touching the earth, descending from our racing thoughts and fears to an awareness of the present moment. When words fail, we can sometimes discover a new voice and a new kind of determination. We can rise up rooted, like trees.

Tracy Cochran is editorial director of Parabola magazine. She has practiced meditation for decades,  and is a teacher at the New York Insight Meditation Center and the founder of Tarrytown Insight, a weekly meditation group in Westchester, New York. The reading above was excerpted from her blog on determination.

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On Oct 14, 2017 sharp Man wrote:

 



On Apr 18, 2017 Tim Buchanan wrote:

 Dirt under my fingernails from Sunday's yard work. Dirt in the Central Valley is to be cherished. You can crawl in it with pleasure, soft, sandy, forgiving. We take much for granted but the soil here is the reason the Central Valley is the agricultural center of the world. My dirt, your dirt, the neighbors' dirt, we are all in separable, and we all owe our existence, in part, to the dirt. 



On Apr 18, 2017 Liz Mitten Ryan wrote:
I like physically touching the earth, sitting in  my shorts in the warm fragrant garden earth in the sun, weeding, thinning... the little plants, walking in the garden in my bare feet,  breathing in the essence of the new life,  amidst the sounds of birds and little flying bugs. I love touching the new bark of the aspens, like baby skin and the soft spring green needles of the fir trees, sitting in the grass beneath them lost in the miniature world of twigs and moss, stones and new grasses and wildflowers. The earth wants us to take the time to exchange our love for her...
 

1 reply: EVA | Post Your Reply
On Apr 15, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 We all are journeying. Life is a journey. The upward path of our life journey is not always easy. We encounter hazards that may thwart our upward journey. We may fall down and fail. We may get overwhelmed. We may go through fear, worry and anxiety. We may feel like we are losing the ground. The temptations may allure us. And we may succumb to them. But we build up our inner strength, get up and keep moving on the upward path. I have been a traveler on this path for a long time. And I have encountered small and big difficulties. I have been practicing Mindfulness Meditation which has kept me grounded, steadfast and awakened. I have fallen down and I have gotten up. Mindfulness practices have created inner strength in me to continue my upward journey. I see my original face when I remove the veil of my self-focused thoughts and cravings. I hear my original voice when I become still and hear the sound of silence. I feel full and complete. Nothing is missing. I feel  like a chi  See full.

 We all are journeying. Life is a journey. The upward path of our life journey is not always easy. We encounter hazards that may thwart our upward journey. We may fall down and fail. We may get overwhelmed. We may go through fear, worry and anxiety. We may feel like we are losing the ground. The temptations may allure us. And we may succumb to them. But we build up our inner strength, get up and keep moving on the upward path.

I have been a traveler on this path for a long time. And I have encountered small and big difficulties. I have been practicing Mindfulness Meditation which has kept me grounded, steadfast and awakened. I have fallen down and I have gotten up. Mindfulness practices have created inner strength in me to continue my upward journey.

I see my original face when I remove the veil of my self-focused thoughts and cravings. I hear my original voice when I become still and hear the sound of silence. I feel full and complete. Nothing is missing. I feel  like a child nurtured by the Mother Earth.Life is a mystery and a miracle. My heart gets filled with joy, humbleness, and gratitude.

May we remain awakened to see the Divine Light that shines  everywhere and all the time!

Namaste.

Jagdish P Dave

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On Apr 15, 2017 david doane wrote:

To me, touching the earth means staying grounded, present, humble, and not going off into ego-driven grandiose desires and goals.  I experience touching the earth when I stay in the present, responding to what is happening in me, in the other, and in the situation at hand, and staying true to myself.  What helps me remember to be rooted, when I do remember, is trusting the process and not be hypnotized by an ambition or outcome I want to accomplish.  Attachments unroot me.



On Apr 14, 2017 Abhishek wrote:

From a desire to fly high, my intent has moved to being rooted to the earth.....my Mother the Earth is what holds, what sustains when the winds change direction....

Being rooted, I try and experience my one-ness with everyone and everything else rooted in that same mother-energy.....I feel home.