Despite the fact that humans live on Earth, many of us are grossly divorced from it. I always used to ask my poetry students at Srinakharinwirot University when the last time was they actually touched the earth, meaning, touched grass, soil or sand with their bare hands and feet. Most of them were stumped and unable to remember the last time they had made direct, physical contact with our planet. Think about it. We go through our days wearing rubber and leather shoes, walking on concrete, tiles, pavement or traveling in cars and buses. Then, people spend evenings and weekends watching television for how many hours a day? How many hours in a month? How many hours in a year sitting in front of a box that projects artificial light and artificial truth as well?
Ironically, many people claim that they love to watch so-called nature documentaries on television without recognizing how grossly unnatural it is to sit in an air-conditioned room watching a box with photos and sounds 1000 hours or more every year. Only on holidays do most people actually take time to walk the beach or picnic in the park. This alienation from earth leaves people very wanting and disconnected from the source of life. Most ancient cultures have developed elaborate ceremonies to honor and respect mother earth, also known as Patchamama in the Inkan tradition in Peru and Argentina.
Modern “culture” distracts us from the true culture beneath our very feet. Please, take off your shoes and walk in the garden, stretch out in the park, jog along the beach or do whatever you can to simplify your relationship with the only planet you can call home. See how this makes you feel. Do you feel better after walking on the grass? Do you feel more grounded? Do your feet feel cooler and more relaxed? I remember when I suggested this technique to my brother John to help him feel more grounded. His response was that there was a foot of snow on the ground and no way was he going for a barefoot walk in the park. Fair enough! So, adjust accordingly! The sad thing is, most people in modern society have no time for these supposedly “trivial” rituals of getting in touch with our planet. Truth is, getting in touch with your planet will help you get in touch with your self. I trust you will take the time to nurture your relationship with this planet. I trust you will tread gently on this soil.
An additional exercise recommended by Bisong Guo and Andrew Powell in Listen to your Body is to put on some old clothes, lie down on the grass and absorb the yin energy of the morning dew. This is a fun way to get all dirty while benefitting from the natural energy of the morning earth. Rolling on the morning dew might seem a little bit crude to those with higher education and a belief that anything wet or dirty should never be touched. This morning ritual can serve as a symbolic gesture of ignorance with the very earth that nourishes and sustains every step of our lives. This is exactly what we need to reconcile this nasty divorce from the earth that so many of us have suffered. This can inspire a reciprocal concern for the well being of our planet for which we are all responsible.