An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
In the poem “Fire in the Earth,” David Whyte tells us of
Moses receiving the command to “take off his shoes” as he approached the
burning bush. This act of humility brought him closer to the earth, to the
ground, and we learn that he “never recovered/ his complicated way of loving
again,” and that “every step he took/from there was carefully placed.”
image provides an invitation to approach our life with reverence and likewise
humility. It invites us to treat each moment as sacred; to step on the ground as
if stepping into a holy place of worship. And we can partake of this worship
regardless of our religious or spiritual beliefs.
Each place can
become the “church” of life, and this church knows no denominations and
requires no dogmatic beliefs. It is open to anyone who wants to play. This
sacredness can help us to move closer to the divine in our lives, however that
divinity be experienced.
We can see how mindfulness can be an exercise in values and purpose, what we might call spiritual.
Mindfulness provides opportunities for us to worship the sacredness of now. It gives us a
chance to touch the divine and to embody the divine ourselves. With mindfulness we can approach any activity with this openness to sacred divinity,
Baba Muktananda admonished his disciples to “Leave Your Shoes with Your Ego at the Door.” Take off your shoes, drop your self-preoccupation and find the truth in this moment. We can bring this deliberateness to everything that we do, especially showing up at work.
Burt Cooper in Mad Men takes his shoes off at work and asks everyone coming into his office to do the same. The ritual can assist being wakeful. Whether you actually take your shoes off or just embrace the metaphor, the opportunity exists to be awake at work.
As we cross the threshold into work we can take our shoes off to find the sacredness that our work embodies. No matter what this work is, that opportunity is present when we are present. Even when our work is less than ideal, which is almost always the case, we can still bring this sense of spirit to our day. After all, this is our life right now. Why not touch the divinity that’s waiting for us?
Mindfulness meditation practice helps us to establish the skills needed to take our shoes off. First we must know that taking our shoes off is a possibility. Next we must be able to take them off; we must be able to untie the laces and release the knots of self-importance. Then we can feel the ground with our bare feet. We can find ourselves home in the ordinary divinity of now.
Try practicing mindfulness right now. Go to my website exquisitemind.com to listen to and download guided mindfulness meditations. CD1 includes breathing and body scan practices; CD2 includes walking, standing, and standing yoga practices.