One day, years ago, I was eating lunch with a friend in the outdoor commons at Naropa University.
She said, “There’s something different about you.”
I noticed it too. I felt more present, alert, awake, alive.
“I know what it is!” she exclaimed. “You’re in your body.”
I wouldn’t have put it like that, but I’m so glad she did. It helped me see something vital about myself. Much of the time, I’m not in my body.
I mean, sure, in one sense, where else would I be? Yet, isn’t it interesting how we disconnect from our body, our emotions, and the present situation entirely. It’s like life keeps knocking at the door, but nobody’s home.
I’d like to say from that moment on I lived squarely inside my body. Of course, that’s not the case. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn again and again, especially right now. This pandemic, the terrible death of George Floyd, all of the protests happening worldwide, it’s a little crazy making.
How do we cope with it all?
A week ago, I might have said, “I dunno.” Anxiety surging out of nowhere. Sleepless nights. Struggles with depression. That’s been my experience.
Reggie Ray has said, “To be awake, to be enlightened, is to be fully and completely embodied.”
Being embodied means being present to who we are right now. It means finding ourselves smack dab in the middle of ourselves, feeling our emotions, our energies, our physicality, the rawness of reality.
Disembodiment, on the other hand, is the tendency to disconnect from our experience. It’s ubiquitous in our culture. I mean, how disembodied do you have to be to hold your knee on your victim’s neck for eight minutes while he repeatedly says, “I can’t breath,” and cries to momma?
So much sadness as I write this.
Embodiment relates to the earth element of our being. Earth represents stability. When earth is balanced, we feel grounded, stable, connected, and able to focus. There’s a steadiness about us that connects us to joy.
As my teacher, Tenzin Wangyal, says, “When there’s not enough earth, we feel flighty, spacey, agitated, without anchor.” And that’s just how I’ve been feeling in all this.
So, for the sake of my sanity and wellbeing, I’m remembering once again that I need to make touching earth a priority.
What do I mean by touching earth?
Well, it could mean literally going outside and getting our hands in the dirt, but we can also touch earth with our awareness.
Like how on my morning bike rides, I connect with earth in my body. I feel the breeze on my skin and the beating of my heart. I notice the ways my body is getting stronger. I also enjoy the sound of dirt and rocks under my tires. I appreciate the rich redness of Colorado soil. I take in the greens of spring.
In meditation, the challenge is to move my awareness into my body. I quite literally relocate myself. Get out of my head, so to speak. The sensations are palpable.
As I settle into the natural stillness of my body, things do stabilize. New energies arise that I didn’t know were there. Traditionally, this is called great bliss.
In these difficult times, touching earth is a practice that helps me enter directly into my body’s aliveness and receive all it has to reveal.
The body is, after all, the temple of the holy spirit. It’s inseparable from the divine energies that inform the human experience.
If you are looking for a way to feel more stable and grounded during this tumultuous time, I invite you to give touching earth a try. Just shoot me an email if you have any questions about that.
You have within you the ultimate guide for your life—a direct connection to the deepest wisdom needed at this very moment. With this in-depth training program, Dr. Reggie Ray teaches us how to go beyond the veil of the thinking mind to tap the vast intelligence of your body. Informed by more than four decades of scholarship and practice, Reggie shares somatic insights and protocols to access embodied awareness and the source of immediate fulfillment.