(Q) Many of the seminars I attend begin with connecting to the earth and bringing energy up into our bodies. It’s a good practice but I feel that we are skipping an important first step by not requesting permission from the earth. We send our stress, worry, and other energetic garbage into the earth, assuming it’s okay. As far as I can tell, no one thanks or even acknowledges the earth. Why aren’t we sending our unwanted energy elsewhere? What would a more respectful practice look like?
Pepper: It sounds like you take your spiritual work seriously. I do too. One of the things I most admire about good teachers is their ability to put everyone at ease regardless of what the environment or the day brings. Making people feel warm and welcome in-person or online (especially these days) is a special gift.
Two lama teachers I sometimes study with come to mind. They inject humor into teachings, even the deep stuff. These days most classes are hybrid – some of us are at home in our living rooms while others are seated cross-legged on sanctuary cushions surrounded by generations of buddhas. We have faith in the teachings and accept the current method of delivery. Over 2600 years, I assume people have met in humbler circumstances than ours.
The Buddhist center has a bench where you can sit while removing your shoes, which you must do prior to entering. Even when you are late for class, removing your shoes has a calming effect. I try to do the same at home, but it doesn’t have the same effect. Class begins when the lamas are seated and invite others to do the same, but most of us are still elsewhere – thinking about work or other concerns, hoping the mobile phones we forgot to silence won’t ring, etc. It can be a long list.
After a few moments of silence, the lamas tell us to review our (discursive) thoughts until we are ready to set them down and then say to ourselves and to the class, I have arrived. Sometimes there are breathing exercises or hand mudras that accomplish the same. I have been trying to remember if the lamas ask the earth for permission before receiving her support. I don’t think so. But the beginning and end of almost every practice includes something like . . . may this practice benefit all beings, without exception. I assume that includes earth. Adding faith and intention makes these words potent and real.
Over the years, I think I have put earth/Gaia through the paces! When life was less stable, I sobbed, howled, crawled, and scratched my way back into my own life. I am grateful that earthlove always welcomed me home, no matter what condition I arrived in. I wonder if your teachers trust our earth to do the same – maybe their faith in the process trusts earth to welcome everyone. Long ago, when I was still apprehensive about channeling, Gaia said, “Bring them to the doorstep and ring the bell. I’ll take it from there.” And I would do just that, dropping into a trance at the first opportunity.
Over time I learned that we are filled with more love than garbage, no matter what it looks like from our perspective. In revealing ourselves, whatever we think of as negative or false, turns into the same universal substance and language we call love, compassion, and goodwill. I know you are hoping Gaia would weigh in on this subject. Let’s ask:
GAIA: An easily deceptive riddle asks, what weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks? Almost everyone gets tripped up, at least once. What about ideas? Do positive ideas weigh more or less than negative ones? And now feelings – are positive feelings (or people) lighter than negative ones? It might seem so, especially in a world in constant search of people and things that shine brightly.
A short answer appears next, followed by a brief chat – what you consider worrisome, stressful, anxious, negative, and garbage-like, is not hazardous to Gaia. It is also not hazardous to human health but how you carry it, is. We have determined that a pound of feathers logically weighs the same as a pound of bricks, but this fact has little bearing on your relationship with what you choose to carry. The moment you set down the bricks you have been carrying they become weightless feathers. Whether you dumped your perceived garbage and ran, or politely rang the doorbell first, the effect on earth is the same.
Humans are bright and shiny on the inside, the part that counts. The outer layers, or husk, has many purposes, one of which is to protect the heart. It does this by keeping impurities at a distance, whenever possible. Impurities are judgments you would prefer to cancel, misdeeds of various kinds, and other inconsequential thoughts that have become heavy. These object-like stressors can impede growth, especially in the realms you are approaching, so it is best to empty the dustbin often.
An unintended consequence of protecting the heart from impurities is that trapping them in the outer layers of your being makes them visible, particularly as they accumulate. Some are easy to spot, even by the unobservant. Others can be temporarily disguised by the personality but will eventually emerge. Your expression, he/she has finally shown her true colors, is an example of this. Not wanting to reveal one’s impurities is another reason that humans are concerned with being seen. Perhaps a reminder that your closely guarded secrets are relatively uninteresting to others is in order.
Now, your concern that Gaia is shown due respect is well met and received in good spirit but is not a current concern. The impurities you discard, careless or well-considered, are not toxic. They are as dust in the wind. Please do not be concerned. The surgeon who washes every possible impurity from his hands is already invested elsewhere. Blood left on a sidewalk or battlefield is absorbed by the earth before its stain has washed away. The thoughts you rinse off in the shower dissolve before they reach the sewer. Do not confuse respect for earth’s finite resources with Gaia’s overwhelming compassion for humanity. What you take for granted is freely given, in the best of times and the worst of circumstances. Know this and know peace.