Soothing Worry: Finding Peace Within the Earth Element
(Part two of a two-part series on Earth)
In part one of the Earth series, we met the anxious, over-thinking mind. What happens when this mind interacts with daily events? It tends to create more worrisome thoughts. This state of mind runs on energy from the Earth element, depleting the resource of Earth.
Physiologically, Earth energy or Qi, is needed for digestion, and absorption of nutrients and Qi from food. The same energy that we use to digest our food is used to digest our thoughts. This is why it is recommended that when we eat, we just eat and enjoy our food. Enjoy the meal and allow the Earth Qi to digest well, to absorb the Qi from the food, and to send that Qi out to our muscles.
Sorting out business or emotional dramas, going over schedules, counting calories, creating a new marketing plan, mulling over the messy house – all of these things can wait until after the meal. Mixing worry and over-thinking with eating strains the Earth Qi. Digestive organs are not getting all the Qi they need, and neither is the mind. The meal is finished, yet the food and the worries are not completely digested. I don’t have to tell you what the rest of the day will be like.
How does this mind find peace?
I use a two pronged approach. First, I use logic to view the present moment–are any of these worries actually happening right now? If the answer is yes, as in the raging person in the car behind me has gotten out of their car and is coming toward me–then it is time to prepare and not sit there worrying! If the answer is no, as it usually is, then it is time to breathe and relax into the present moment.
Logic, the intellect, is a useful tool to set the stage for peace. Take the time to logically notice, your surroundings, your body, your breath, the temperature, your location, the sounds, your actual present moment. Projections are based on worries of a supposed present moment–but wait a minute–what is really going on in the present moment? The habit of over-thinking/worry can take away the calm and safety of the present moment.
Satisfy your mind that the present moment really is one of safety, the ground is supporting you, your body is functioning just fine, people in your care are OK right now. Notice that the projections in your mind are really only there–in your mind–not in your current location. Now you can settle your body into a restful position. Let your intellect rest, it has done its job. Bring your attention to your breath, and now to the breather of the breath, into the mystery of you. Noticing how the majority of things and processes go on without you even noticing.
Most things, like the beating of your heart and everyone else’s heart, happen “on their own.”
The Earth is spinning, the moon is cycling around us, the seasons are changing, the kids are learning to walk, the sun is setting, the grass is growing all while you sit in stillness, breathing, being, wondering, feeling into the mystery of moment.
With this practice, you build experiences of a calm mind. You build an ability to recognize the spin of worry and over-thinking, and utilize the ability to move out of that state, and into calm. Over time, the pendulum swings and you find yourself more often enjoying the moment, noticing how the flow of life takes care of itself.
(Link to part one)