Sometimes we forget that we belong.
We forget that we belong here, now. Together.
Most of us live a step (or many steps) in front of our bodies. We are in constant mental motion, sequestered in our heads. We tend to forget there is support underneath us; that we belong on the earth, in our bodies, with our breath.
Poet John O'Donohue writes, "Our bodies know that they belong; it is our minds that make our lives so homeless… Our modern hunger to belong is particularly intense. An increasing majority of people feel no belonging. We have fallen out of rhythm with life. The art of belonging is the recovery of the wisdom of rhythm.”
Many spiritual traditions offer rituals to create conditions to help us remember our belongingness. Rituals help us to slow down, pay attention, and be present. They help us remember our aliveness and acknowledge the 'unseen' web of life that connects us all.
Realizing our belongingness is at the heart of yoga and meditation, and most certainly my personal practice and teaching. Using mindful movement, rhythmic deep breathing, meditation and relaxation we can learn to welcome ourselves back into our bodies and experience the feeling of belonging on the earth, with our breath, just as we are. When we experience the feeling of belonging, it allows us to remember that we are not only connected by an unseen web of life, but we are the web itself.
The journey of the practice goes something like this:
We LAND on the ground.
The ground is underneath us, holding us up.
The earth longs to hold you. May you remember you belong on the earth; let yourself land.
We ARRIVE on the free flow of our breath.
When we don't resist the breath, it flows freely, in the present moment. The breath is the metronome of now.
May you remember that your breath longs to be with you. It belongs with you. May you arrive with your breath in the present moment.
We RELAX unnecessary habitual tension.
May you release your grip on your body and mind and allow yourself to be supported by your life partners, the earth and the breath. The breath and earth are always there for you. Supporting you. Loving you.
We LISTEN inwardly.
Simply bring your warm attention closer in. Visit with yourself.
May you visit yourself more deeply, listen intimately.
We practice ALLOWING.
As we listen to ourselves, we practice allowing whatever rises and falls - whatever we hear, feel, think - to just be. We practice not judging, staying open when we have the impulse to avoid or amplify. This allows us to experience ourselves as we are in the present moment, allowing us to begin to unfurl ourselves more fully.
May you listen openly, kindly, lovingly to all that rises and falls. To both the resistance and the willingness. May you meet yourself with love.
As author Brene Brown says, “True Belonging doesn't require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
When we practice this way – allowing ourselves to feel more connected to our selves, our breath, the earth – we organically begin to sense our relatedness the others. This doesn't happen simply because we are creating physical connections. It happens because when we feel 'supported' and more relaxed in our bodies with our breath, it changes us. Literally. It changes our neurology, initiating a switch from the stress response to the relaxation response, which release hormones and the chemistry that helps to positively shift our energy, optimism, and our ability to bond.
We are then primed to experience our deeper connections to each other.
As Mother Teresa teachers, We have forgotten that we belong to each other.
How we meet ourselves, how we learn to be with ourselves, can help create a safe space within and between us. This brings us in closer to the real heart of the practice.
And we begin to remember.
When we experience our belonging more, we stop living life as a series of habitual reactions or responses to old storylines. This ups the odds that we don't walk as far out in front of ourselves all the time or that we find our way back to ourselves, our lives, and each other more often.
May we remember that we can allow our bodies to be on the ground, right here, now.
That we can allow our breath to flow freely in our body.
That we can bring our mind back home, onto our breath, into our body.
That we belong here, now.
The Radiance Sutra below, translated by Lorin Roche, is my current deepest practice. May you slow down and spend some time with it, as well as the links to the yoga and meditation practices below. And be sure to visit my weekly blog this month for more heart-centered inspiration.
Radiance Sutras Translated by Lorin Roche #26
The One Who Is at Play Everywhere says, there is a space in the heart where everything meets.
Come here if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity – all are here.
Are you here?
Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Listen to the song that is always resonating.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.
Quiet ecstasy is here, and a steady, regal sense of resting in a perfect spot.
You who are the embodiment of blessing, once you know the way, the nature of attention will call you to return.
Again and Again, answer that call, and be saturated with knowing, “I belong here, I am at home.”
Naturally Calm: Alternative Anxiety Therapies
Anxiety takes us out of our body and out of the present moment. Learn some tools and techniques to bring yourself back.
Yoga Practice Meditation
Enjoy this short meditation anytime, anywhere, to help you come back into your body in the present moment.
Guided Meditation: Deep Relaxation (10-minutes)
Practice a short relaxation to allow you to land on the earth, into the present moment.