With Earth Day approaching later in the week, this is a time that many will honor the Earth. Many won’t, and it makes me wonder: Why? I think life is a confusing illusion. By all outward appearances we are disconnected and alone. This concept is something I struggle with on a regular basis, especially when I allow my ego to guide me. When we feel alone and disconnected, maybe honoring the Earth is unnecessary.
But the Earth is home for me, and although there are times I feel very alone, connectedness is a state I often long for. I find that the more I practice being mindful, the more connected I feel to the world around me; even when I am physically alone.
I remember studying existential psychology in school. It is the belief that there a two main crisis’s points in life. The first is that we are ultimately alone and the second is that we will die. Have you struggled with this too? Or better yet, how often have you struggled with this? For me this struggle comes in waves, like the currents in the ocean. The more I fight it, the more it takes me under. But if I let go, and ride the wave out, I tend to suffer less.
While this existential crisis is real enough, it seems like it is the ego that needs to be separate, unique and special. Ultimately, though, we are all connected. If we still ourselves and listen to our inner wisdom, the God that lives within each of us, and every other aspect of creation, then we are able to see the truth in how connected we really are.
Today’s Mindfulness Practice: Awareness of the present moment and your five senses is helpful in feeling connected. Sit comfortably and still in a quiet place. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose slowly and deeply. Then exhale slowly and deeply. Take several breaths to calm your mind, allowing unwanted thoughts to leave your mind as quickly as they come. Now notice your connection to the Earth. Notice how your chair or the ground holds you up and supports your body. Notice your feet and arms and how they are resting. Notice what is supporting your feet and arms. If your feet are touching the ground, notice that it is the same ground that everyone else is walking on. Notice any noises. Do you hear people or other creatures? Notice that you are breathing the same air that they are breathing. Continue to move through your body noticing anything that is connected to the Earth or another being. Breathe deeply and evenly.
This mindfulness exercise can be practiced formally in a quiet, isolated place, but it can also be practiced informally, especially in group situations where you may be feeling disconnected. If practicing informally, you may want to engage in the group by listening or even talking, while noticing the subtle ways you are connected to the group.
Post contributed by Mary How. Mary is the owner of Angelfish Creations, LLC and editor of the Flying Fish Blog.