How do we keep plugging away when the odds are against us? Whether we are environmental activists calling for climate justice or dealing with our own inner issues and challenges in life, we need to take care of ourselves if we want to keep going.This simple practice can do that in just a couple of minutes – or it can also lead to profound, long-term transformations and explorations of who we are.
We need to do two things on a daily basis:
- stay grounded in the body and our own personal experience of life; and
- expand our minds so that we also stay connected in the unlimited expanse and potential of the universe.
Both of these practices can be done at once, both are completely aligned with a scientific outlook (requiring no faith), and both can help us to feel both more liberated from worldly concerns and more inspired to defend our earth and what we hold dear from the ravages of capitalist exploitation.
To begin, get into a comfortable sitting position. Try to make sure you have as much chance of silence as possible. This is particularly helpful if you do not have a strong meditation practice behind you. Then simply focus on this with each breath:
- Breathe in and feel the body; the way you sit, the shape of who you are, the fact that you are here. Allow your body to inform you of these facts: you are here, you were lucky enough to be born human, an intelligent, self-aware primate, consciousness manifest in mammalian form on a planet that sustains life. Out of the illimitable things that can happen in the universe, you being born was one of them. Against all the odds, you live, breathe and enjoy consciousness of this fact, every day that you wake up.
By breathing into the body and letting it remind you of who you are – a cosmic coincidence, a member of the community of souls on earth, a person limited and liberated by the very same fact of your humanity – you become more grounded in the everyday and more open-minded to the potential each of us is born with. To be at one with the universe, with our flaws and our passions, to be at home right where we are and to remain inspired to protect our home and all of life on this planet.
This perspective is both cosmic and existential at the same time and draws on two of my core foci over the past couple of decades: Zen meditation practice and the mythic dimension of life and consciousness. Both guide us to be in the body and free of its limits at exactly the same time.
Enjoy your wild life and this unrepeatable moment!