Monday, September 29, 2008

Finding the Ground

One of my favorite passages from the Tao te Ching is "a journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet."

Here's a simple suggestion for finding the ground of a journey along the path of compassion and authenticity:


I find this advice so useful that I've written it on the white board in my kitchen, in bold red letters:


Now every time I come into the kitchen I have this reminder that all I have to do is breathe. It doesn't matter if I'm distracted by all the "doing" in my life, frustrated when I see the pile of dirty dishes in the sink, or delighted by the antics of the kittens - I can just breathe.

Noticing my breath brings me back to the present moment - again and again. The subtle feeling of air swishing in and out brings awareness of my body, and confidence that I'm a human being, not a human doing. Lungs expanding and contracting remind me to keep my feet on the ground and moving along the path.

Noticing the breath is also fertile ground for relating to other people. Sometimes when I find myself triggered by interaction with another person, I remember to breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Ahh... Discursive thoughts, "shoulds," and judgments become clear for what they are; spaciousness, self-connection, and compassion arise.

The best thing about breathing? It's always there - all I have to do is notice it.

Like the ground beneath my feet.


Post a Comment

<< Home