If you find yourself out of sorts, meaning if you find yourself conscious, it’s helpful to keep your feet on the ground—literally.
Our hands and feet are our main instruments in this fly by night half-assed symphony we call ordinary life.
Our feet take us everywhere, they help us navigate through our surroundings. They carry us and support us.
Our hands provide for us, and they let us interact with others directly, touch to touch, hold to hold. They reach, and grasp, let go, and push away. We use them to create and destroy. They’re our primary instruments in day-to-day life.
It’s easy to overlook them and take them for granted. But anyone who loses a hand or foot will tell you how precious they are. So, let’s just pause and take a breath, and be grateful that we have our hands and feet. Imagine what it’d be like living without them.
Now that our hearts are in the right place, we can work with the mind. Try to concentrate on your hands, put your mind in them. Feel. Touch. Move them around a little. Open and close them, maybe flip off a Do Not Loiter sign if there’s one around.
We get so wrapped up in watching the mind that we forget the body, that they’re both connected. In fact, they’re indistinguishable. Often times, alleviating suffering in the mind is as simple as getting out of your head and into your body, into your hands in this case.
Your hands don’t give a f*ck what you’re going through. They’re not drowning in stress and misery. That means we aren’t either, not completely. Hands don’t judge, they don’t envy or gossip or get lost in wishful thinking. They’re just hands, doing hand stuff.
So, just do hand stuff. Pay attention to motion, how even the simplest action like turning on a faucet has a quiet elegance to it. How the hands seamlessly flow from one action to the next. Feel the surfaces they land on, how even the lightest touch is known and felt.
We can do the same thing with our feet. We can feel the floor or ground beneath us, we can feel the impact of each step. We can turn, and skip, and jump, and dance. We can wiggle our toes or kick rocks at mimes.
Just like the hands, our feet are just feet, they’re not bothered by our thoughts and feelings. They don’t have fragile plans, they’re not running from memories. Just this step, and this one, and this one, and this one.
A lot of the unpleasantness we encounter in life comes from limiting our focus onto one tiny parcel of our current experience. I had to have minor surgery on my chest once. They numbed up the area, but ya can’t get it totally numb. “Does that hurt?” my doc asked.
“A little,” I replied, “but my nose is fine.”
One-sidedness causes suffering. Life in two dimensions. But we don’t have to be pieces of paper carried around by the errant winds of circumstances, yearning, and confusion.
We’re bigger than we think, we have more dimensions than we think. We’re like mountains and giant redwoods. Like the earth itself really. Unlocking that view is a straightforward matter: hands on the wheel, feet on the ground.