I talked in an earlier post about how many people tell me they feel adrift in their life, not tethered to any deep sense of purpose, not deeply a part of any community, not really close to many other people. Yet most say they would really like to feel more connected and rooted in a community.
Below is another exercise for grounding and strengthening our sense of purpose. Try this one as well. It comes from the great 6th century BCE Chinese Daoist sage, Lao Tzu, in poem or stanza form.
EXERCISE: MEDITATION FOR GROUNDING AND STRENGTHENING OUR SENSE OF PURPOSE
I recommend you find a quiet place and sit alone or with someone you feel close to. Sit silently for a few minutes, and then read this stanza out loud. You may find it helpful to read it a few times. Then sit with it for a bit. Notice what you feel in your body. You can write in a journal afterward and also share the experience with a friend or loved one.
We Are A River
Our life has not been an ascent; up one side of a mountain and down the other.
We did not reach a peak, only to decline and die.
We have been as drops of water,
born in the ocean and sprinkled on the earth in a gentle rain.
We became a spring, and then a stream,
and finally a river flowing deeper and stronger,
nourishing all it touches, as it nears its home once again.
Don’t accept the modern myths of aging. You are not declining.
You are not fading away into uselessness.
You are a sage, a river at its deepest and most nourishing.
Sit by a riverbank some time, and watch attentively as the river
tells you of your life.
– Lao Tzu (translation by William Martin)
Another great way to work with this meditation is to go out into nature and actually sit by a stream and read this stanza there. Then sit quietly and let nature speak to you. Notice what you feel in your body. This is a great outing to do with a friend.
About the author – I hold a masters in public health education from UC Berkeley and a masters in counseling psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies. I’ve been a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist since 1991, and am certified in Somatic Experiencing. I began my medicine man training in my first vision quest in 1973. I was initiated as a medicine man under the training and supervision of Theresa Dintino. I studied Aikido for 30 years and received 3 black belts. I live and practice in Oregon and Sebastopol, and enjoy playing music, tending our apple orchard, and spending time with my two wonderful children.
Jerry Allen, LMFT, SEP, MPH, Anishinaabe Mashkikiiwinini (Medicine Man)
Gratitude Way Medicine Man Counseling & Coaching – firstname.lastname@example.org