Think of resting on the earth, or being held by the Earth...In beloved Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh's book, "Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet," you will discover a beautiful meditation that explores how stop "trying" and allow the Earth to work through us, so that we can shift our state of being from overwhelmed and tense, to light and effortless.
In times of intense feeling and overwhelm, it is helpful to remember that we are perfectly formed to be who we are, as we are, and that we belong where we are on this Earth--we are part of a harmonious whole.
There's a phrase, "going to ground", which means to take shelter, and it has strong connotations of fear and scarcity. I would like to reframe "going to ground" and bring some more wholesome, nurturing associations into the mix...
Another way of interpreting "going to ground" is to think of resting on the earth, or being held by the Earth...This sort of effortless, peaceful state of being is described beautifully by Thich Nhat Hanh and his disciples and editors, Sister Chan Khong and Sister True Dedication in their recent book, Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet. You can try the following meditation from their book, which explores how stop "trying" and allow the Earth to work through us, so that we can shift our state of being from overwhelmed and tense, to light and effortless.
I believe that this kind of going to ground, in the positive sense, is necessary in order to get in touch with our deepest selves, to see how we are really feeling, and discover what we need at the most fundamental levels of our being. (EWF)
"The Earth is inside of us and we are already in the Earth. We don't need to wait until we die to return to the Earth. We need to learn how to take refuge in Mother Earth--it is the best way to heal and nourish ourselves. We can do it if we know how to allow the Earth to be, within us and around us--just being aware that we are the Earth. And we don't have to do much. In fact, we don't have to do anything at all. It's like when we were in our mother's womb. We did not have to breathe, we did not have to eat, because our mother breathed for us and ate for us. We did not have to worry about anything.
You can do the same now when you sit [in meditation]. Allow Mother Earth to sit for you. When you breathe, allow the Earth to breathe for you, when you walk, allow the Earth to walk for you. Don't make any effort. Allow her to do it. She knows how to do it. Don't try to do anything. Don't try to fight in order to sit. Don't try to breathe in and out. Don't even try to be peaceful. Allow the Earth to do everything for you.
Allow the air to enter our lungs and to flow out of our lungs. We don't need to make any effort to breathe in or breathe out. Just allow nature, allow the Earth to breathe in and out for us. And we just sit there, enjoying the breathing in and the breathing out. There is breathing but there is no "you" who is breathing in or breathing out. We don't need a "you" or an "I" in order to breathe in and out. The breathing in and the breathing out happen by themselves. Try it!
Allow yourself to be seated. Allow yourself to be yourself. Don't do anything. Just allow the sitting to take place. Don't strive in order to sit. And then relaxation will come. And you know something? When there is relaxation, then the healing begins to take place. There is no healing without relaxation. And relaxation means doing nothing, trying nothing. So, while "it" is breathing in--it's not "you" who is breathing in--you just enjoy the breathing and say silently to yourself "healing is taking place," and when "it" is breathing out, you say "healing is taking place." Allow your body to heal, to be renewed, to be nourished. This is what we call in Zen "the practice of non-practice."
If we know the practice of non-practice, we don't have to strive or fight. We simply allow our body to hear. We allow our mind to heal. Don't try anything. Allow yourself to relax, to release all the tension in your body and all the worries and the fear in your mind. Allow yourself to be held by the Earth, whether you are sitting, walking, lying down, or standing. Allow the Earth and sun to embrace you for healing to take place.
Sit in such a way that you don't have to try to sit. You just enjoy your sitting deeply, nothing to do, nowhere to go. And, if you have half an hour of sitting like that, you have half an hour or healing. Or, if you have one day, that is one whole day of healing. It is possible. Make it pleasant, make it healing and nourishing. Don't try, don't make any effort. Simply allow yourself to take refuge in Mother Earth; she knows how to do it, and she'll do it for you."