Sadhguru: Every time I hear someone refer to soil as dirt, I can’t come to terms with it. Particularly when I am in the United States, I hear a lot of people calling earth as dirt. Maybe it is just another word, but in our mind, “dirt” means trash – something that you don’t want. I have heard it a thousand times, but something in me still cringes every time I hear this.
What you call as “my body” is just a piece of the planet – it is an accumulation of the food that you have eaten. You are just a small outcrop of this earth, nothing more nothing less. Right now you are an outcrop who prances around. After sometime you will become a small mound. So if you make the raw material into “dirt”, the product is bound to be dirt.
In India, for example in Tamil Nadu, we traditionally called soil as “thai mannu” – Mother Earth. In this culture, we see everything as ingredients of life. This is why we bow down to food, water, air, the sky, the sun, the moon, a stone, a tree – anything! We do not see anything as a commodity, as something that you can use and throw. You cannot use and throw anything in this existence. It passes through you, it is you for a certain period of time, after that it becomes something else. You are only a relay runner, you are not the runner on the planet.
The air that you are breathing right now, the very body that you carry right now, it has been millions of bodies in the past. It has been an insect, an animal, a snake, a cow, a monkey, a human being – I am not talking about the evolutionary process – I am talking about the soil going through every form of life. So this is not a commodity. This is older than you, wiser than you, far more intelligent and capable than you, and a far bigger process than you are as a person. You are a petty little character in this whole game that is happening.
If you want to live well…
The whole focus of modern education and cultures is on how to use and exploit our physical environment – every creature and every substance. Nothing is being offered to enhance the way we experience life. We have learnt to use everything around us, but wellbeing has not happened. Today, in the world, we are building medical infrastructure in such a way that we seem to expect that everyone will be seriously ill someday. There was a time when there used to be one doctor for the whole town and it was enough. Today, every street has five doctors and it is not enough. This shows how we are living.
If we want to live well, being in reverence towards the very earth that you walk upon, towards the air that you breathe, the water that you drink, the food that you eat, the people that you come in touch with and everything else that you use, including your body and mind, will lead us to a different possibility as to how we can live.
The earth that you walk upon has a sense of intelligence and memory. Even if you live in a concrete jungle, it is important to keep in touch with the earth. Create ways for yourself to somehow do this. If your bare hands and bare feet – particularly the palms and soles – come in touch with the earth on a daily basis, it will harmonize the physiological process in your system. Try to spend at least a few minutes in the garden, barefoot, touching plants or trees, because the earth is the basis of life. This is a simple way to connect with the earth.
The time between the day of pradosham – two days before a new moon day – and new moon is particularly conducive for this experience. On these days, the moon creates a certain level of inertia, and your body and its energies are much more connected with the earth than on other days. If not every day, at least from pradosham to amavasya, if not outside, at least in the house – see if you can walk barefoot and sit on the floor, particularly cross-legged. Both bring a deep energy connection and create the experience of being a part of the earth. Lying down will not give you that kind of conscious experience. One thing is we know what kind of meditation will happen when you lie down! Apart from that, how the energies function when you lie down does not support a conscious experience.
A part of the planet
There are various other practices in this culture to connect to the earth experientially. On certain days of the year, people eat a little bit of earth, generally from a termite hill or the like, to experience this connection. A practice to bring the elements into your experience on a daily basis is the Bhuta Shuddhi that we teach.
It would be best if you can be conscious of every breath you take. When you breathe air, be conscious that you are breathing a certain aspect of this planet. When you eat something, be conscious that you are eating a part of this planet. When you drink water, be conscious that you are drinking a part of this planet. You should intellectually understand and be conscious of the connection, but that alone will not bring an experiential connection. A true experiential connection means that you experience the earth as much a part of you as you experience your little finger as a part of yourself.
Walk barefoot, sit cross-legged on the ground, do the Bhuta Shuddhi practice. Whether you eat, breathe, or drink something, be aware that you are taking in a part of this planet. Whatever you do – make it as conscious as possible. It will make a world of difference in how you experience life.
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