As you walk upon the sacred Earth treat each step as a prayer.
This quote came to me in a bar of organic raw chocolate – an Easter present from one of my students (they know me so well!). The quote is on my prayer table at home so it’s been a few months that I have been contemplating what this could actually mean for my life. It’s a massive undertaking – to make each…step…a….prayer! It caused me to consider what this could look like and I came up with the following (it’s always a work in progress of course):
- Practise Gratitude: either as you wake or before you go to sleep stop and thank the universe for all that it provides – the warmth of your bed, healthy food each day, clean water. We have so much more than we care to stop and realise. I have found that practising gratitude makes me feel I have everything I need. In a culture of scarcity gratitude makes us realise that we have enough…that we are enough.
- Live with presence in every moment: being truly present and aware in the ordinary moments of each day (in every step) rather than waiting for that extraordinary “someday” when everything will be perfect.
- Tune into your breath: there is a sacredness to our breathing that cannot be overlooked. It’s the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we die. It brings prana (life force / energy) into our body that energises us for our daily tasks. Connecting with it throughout the day feels like a prayer to me.
- Recognise the sacred every day: We are so busy with the daily grind that we forget to notice the small moments throughout the day that are truly sacred. Donna Farhi says:
Moments of lucidity…connection…[and beauty!] have always been there they are simply awaiting our arrival.
The prayer here would actually be arriving – smack bang into our life as it is.
Some of the most sacred of moments for me are those in nature – surfing with dolphins, watching the sunrise and sunset and hearing the warble of magpies. I imagine Black Elk (the author of this quote) lived in harmony with the rhythms of the natural environment. Read my post on connecting with nature here:
- Create a sense of balance: if we are off centre / out of balance then there is no chance that we will even get close to treating each step as a prayer. Modern lifestyles are what we call “rajasic” in yoga / ayurveda – filled with over-activity! If you feel off centre start to note the qualities of your mind / body / lifestyle and cultivate the opposite to balance out e.g. create time for rest and relaxation, reduce or eliminate stimulants, try massage with sesame oil to ground you or yin yoga (a nurturing practice where poses are held for a long time) – the perfect antidote to constant movement.
I suppose the greatest prayer of all is to live with love and compassion towards everyone and everything on the Earth. These practices might get us a little closer to this beautiful thought – that our life could be lived as a prayer.