Clear Your Mind, Breathe, and Stand on Your Feet

red flowers near trees

During the pandemic, it was virtually impossible to see what was going to happen in the near future. Some things were occurring at a blinding pace, and we simply did not have any control over certain situations. When our minds are in turmoil, a firm awareness of our feet as the center of our axis can actually help calm our thoughts and strengthen our minds. A Buddhist monk once told us that when our mind is in turmoil, we should be aware of the soles of our feet, to help feel and calm our own presence. “Feet on the ground” is a Japanese idiom meaning a stable, steady, and calm state of mind & thought process. The feeling of being “grounded” will help you find the answers you need. Being aware of your feet as the axis of your body will help strengthen your mind.

A Change Will Come If You Take a Moment to “Look at Yourself” Every Day

Walking on the soles of your feet is a form of Hoko-zen (歩行禅) —a walking Zen. It teaches you to walk with a keen awareness of your feet. It also helps combat unnecessary or negative thinking. Decide how far and how long you want to walk; avoid talking to other people while walking; and walk in rhythm at a slightly faster pace, keeping your posture and breathing constantly. On your journey to your destination, try to remember things you regret in your life and say “I’m sorry” in your mind as you are walking. On the walk back, think of things you are thankful for in your life, and chant Thank you. After, let’s say, a 10-minute roundtrip walk, meditate for about another 10 minutes afterwards to become more mindful and feel more at peace. Practice by using a route that you can easily incorporate your daily routine. On the way to work, even in the office, be aware of the sensation of the soles of your feet as you walk… right foot, left foot, right foot… to calm your mind.

However, there are times when anger and anxiety are at the highest level, and the mind cannot be subdued so easily. At such times, look down at your chest and try to calmly understand the situation. The important thing is not to deny that you are upset or depressed.

For this reason, it is a good idea to objectively confirm with words in your mind that you are angry or anxious. You can try to understand your mind’s reaction and try not react to it further. This may seem difficult at first, but you will gradually learn to do it.

Ryojyun Shionuma Daiajari is the advocate of Hoko-zen -walking Zen. The Tendai Buddhist master and among the most eminent Japanese Buddhist figures, who is one of the only people alive to have completed two of the most difficult ascetic practices in the Shugendo Buddhist tradition. 

We wish for you to have as many days as possible where you can say, “I like myself better today than I did yesterday” or “It feels good to be me”. In the same way that we take care of our partners, friends, and families, let’s take care of ourselves as well.

Me is written and produced for informational and inspirational purposes only. While we do our best to provide wellness/nutritional information as a general guideline to our readers, we are not certified practitioners/nutritionists, and the values provided should be considered estimates. 

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