Steve Roberts color photo: stone sculpture on stone wall of vegetable garden

As someone who needs all the help he can get, here’s a practice I find useful in growing a more peaceful heart.

With your in-breath, breathe up through your feet and buttocks and fill your entire being with the unconditional love and acceptance of the Earth Mother.  Let her endless light and fire permeate your every cell. 

It sounds easy, and it can be, but there are times it also can be challenging to that part of our ego nature that thinks we’re unworthy of love, especially such abundant, oceanic, no-strings-attached love.  Real love, big love.  “Why, you have more important things to do than breathing,” our ego may screech.  “Get out there and save the world, wash a dish, hit the bricks and make some dough.  Atone for the many times you’ve been a jerk.” 

That’s why we have hundreds of breaths every day––even in our sleep––lots of opportunity to practice.  And breathing in is only half of the practice.

With your out-breath, wash your entire being, your entire consciousness (as much as you can) into the earth.  Let go of everything––your pain, your fear, your hopes, your judgments, your desires, your expectations, your thoughts, your anger, your resentments, your unworthiness…your whole entire life.  Even your love and gratitude.  Hold on to nothing.  Die, in other words.  Energetically.  Die to life, the life of unconditional love and possibility that you will embrace with your next in-breath.

Growing a peaceful heart is not some woo-woo skill you need a secret handshake to learn.  It’s no different than playing golf or making pie crust.  The key is practice.  In this case it’s the practice of placing our attention on what our heart wants most––to live love.    The fun part is we can practice while doing just about anything: weeding the garden, making a speech, saving the world….

I’m not very good at it myself.  I forget most of the time.  But I remember more often than I used to.  And for that I’m deeply grateful.  Another hundred years or so and I’ll be really cooking.

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"I honor that we are killing the earth for the same reason I consider being an alcoholic a privilege: it is a doorway to the profound self-understanding required to make truly healthy choices."

The Essay: Honoring the Killing of the Earth