I must tell you this experience. We had a yogic hospital in our yoga center in India. We called it Yogic hospital. We did not want it to grow too much because we don’t want to turn in to hospital full time, we are a spiritual center. So we’re keeping it low key.
Once when I came here I spoke and a few doctors – American doctors, who were interested, they traveled to India. They came and stayed there for three days, and after three days one of the volunteers came and told me “All the medical doctors are up in arms, they want to leave!” I said, “What happened?” “They said it’s best that you meet them, they are just off.” Then I said “okay,” and I went to meet them. Then I said “What’s the problem?” They said, “You said there is a hospital! Where is the hospital? There is no hospital here!” I said “Right now there about sixty and odd patients.” “So where is it?”
Their idea of a hospital is, that there must be beds, you must treat sick well, and everybody should be – if you treat them so well, they will not want to become healthy. “Where are the patients?” I said “They’re all in the garden, I put them to work.” We give them the treatment, and therapies, and medication, but rest of the time, I put them to work. Whatever they can do, they must do. Above all, they must sit and work bare foot and bare hands in with the soil. Just being in touch with the planet, because you’re just a drop of this planet. You’re forgetting that! What you call is my body is just a piece of the planet, isn’t it? If you lose connection with the source, will you not get disorganized?
Fitness and wellbeing does not mean walking on a treadmill, having bulging muscles like that, no. To strengthen the integrity of the elements in our system is very important. Is there some way to do it? Yes, there are specific methods with which we can do. One simple way right now is, work with the earth, and water, and plants, and stay outdoors. That itself will do something.
So fundamentally, if there is a certain certain assurance of nourishment happening to the body in terms of food, and there is a clean air to breath, and being in touch with the earth can complete the health process, all together. So if you can’t be in tune with that, if you’re are a very affluent and fashionable, you can have a mud bath, that’s another way. So today you take vacations, go to the spas, have mud bath in a very expensive atmosphere. But every day if you stick your hands into the earth, at least for a few minutes a day, you would see the body would be in a much better condition. Because whenever it’s in contact with the earth the body reorganizes itself.
I would say eighty percent of your health depends on this, how much you are in tune with the earth
The more you are in touch with it, it’s better. You can’t, all of you can’t turn into farmers now. And maybe you’re living on the twelfth floor and you can’t be a gardener either. So at least being in touch with the earth, palms and soles are very sensitive to this. If your hands and your bare feet in contact with the earth, it’ll make a difference. Or at least you do your – I don’t recommend this but, if you are doing your afternoon siesta, do it under a tree. With your spin in contact with the earth, things will happen very well. Or to be in a natural pool of water which is in the earth, like a lake or a river or a ocean, will do tremendous things to the system.
You know the grounding you know, the electricity groundings we do. Is it called grounding here? What you call it? Earthing! It’s called earthing or grounding. It’s called earthing actually. So, when you earth the electrical connections, one thing is to keep it wet because if it is wet, its get conducted better. So this is why in all the Indian temples, why do you think people are making their bodies wet, and lying down on the floor in prostration, is just this. Not just earthing, that special earth, which is energized earth around. So, you want the entire body to be in touch with the thing. So men go bare-bodied, at least their upper body is bare. Women go with wet clothes so that, that contact is there. This contact with nature, weather its earth or air or water is most important. If that is not there, the body will slowly lose its integrity, it’ll lose its stability, it’ll lose many abilities that it is capable of. It may still survive, it may not die tomorrow morning, but it loses its variety of capabilities that it has come with. The many possibilities, the area of possibilities that human system carries, is lost as you lose contact with the natural element.
Especially before you go for dinner or for lunch especially before that, at least for half an hour, walk without footwear. Not on this granite, either in the grass or in the mud outside, you will see body being in touch with the earth, when you eat the food that you eat, the way it integrates it is very different. Digestion will any way happen, but how much you can integrate into the system, depends on how much you’re in tune with the earth. So, even half an hour if you walk without shoes or footwear, and the body remains in touch with the earth, you will see the elements will function with little more integrity than the way it is right now.
“Walking and playing barefoot is really coming into vogue. The yogic systems have always recommended this, and now science is getting there too. Especially for children, not only does this give them better balance, it also helps develop their cerebral capabilities. The nerves of the feet are sensitive, and as they come in contact with the ground, the child develops a better understanding of their environment and also experiences better awareness of the body. Walking barefoot has been linked to better agility, stronger leg muscles, and low risk of injury.”
Being in touch with the earth has many other aspects to it. In the ashram, I always told people, “No matter what work you are doing, at least for one hour a day, you must stick your fingers into the Earth. You do something with the garden somewhere, your hands should get muddy. This will build a natural physical memory in you, a bodily memory in you, that you are mortal. Every day if you are sticking your hands into the Earth, you will constantly – your body will know that it’s not permanent. Because a body has a memory of its own. It’s body’s memory far more significant than the mental memory. Right now, the memory that your body carries, is ruling you far more than the memories of your mind.
The reminder of your mortality is the most key element in your spiritual process
Physiologically on the cellular level, on the elemental level, you are constantly being reminded that you are mortal, if you are close to the earth. See the reminder of your mortality is the most key element in your spiritual process. Why would you long to know something beyond the body? Only because you know it will end one day, isn’t it? Suppose this body was immortal, who the hell is going to sit and meditate? Who the hell wants to know anything beyond this, if this was immortal by itself, isn’t it? Because somewhere even if you are not consciously aware, somewhere deep down, you know your expiry date is on. The expiry date is on, you are trying to stretch it a bit, but you know you have an expiry date. It is because of that, the longing to know. So the fundamentals of spiritual process is your mortality. If you’re reminded of your mortality, naturally you will want to know.
There are various practices in India as to how to connect to the earth experientially. Many, many practices, just sitting down crossed leg on the floor, the body in some way experientially is reminded, there is a reminder for the body that is, this is just this. The moment is in touch with Earth it knows, it is this.
Those of you have very unstable bodies, that is you tend to fall sick very easily, and you know constantly those kind of things. If you just get off your cot and sleep on the floor, you will see it will make a big difference. Just that much! Just may be eighteen inches away you are, just get eighteen inches closer, you will see it’ll make big difference in terms of reorganizing the system.
I would say eighty percent of your health depends on this, how much you are in tune with the earth. Eighty percent! Eighty percent of your chronic ailments can just vanish, simply because you kind of found the little rapport with the Earth on which you’re walking or seating right now.
One simple practice that all of you can start, is the bhuta shuddhi if you have the time, and the necessary focus to do it. Bhuta shuddhi means you know, bhuta means pancha-bhutas or the five elements. Shuddhi means to cleanse that. Whether it is the physical body, or the larger body of the creation itself, essentially is made of five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space. What you call as myself is just a mischief of these five elements. If you know how to organize these five elements properly, if you know how to keep these five elements within yourself, then there is nothing more to life in terms of health, well being, perception, knowing, everything, enlightenment – everything is handled, if only you know how to keep these five elements properly. This elemental play happens in a different way when it’s in touch with the earth.
Every time I hear this, particularly when I am in United States, I still can’t come to terms with it, people calling Earth as dirt. Maybe it’s just another word, but in our mind dirt means – what is dirt for you? Hmm? Trash isn’t it? Dirt is trash. Yes or no? Even in America dirt is trash, no? What is it? Something that you don’t want! Yes! It’s trash, that’s what is trash, something that you don’t want. But soil, here we call it “Thai Mann,” mother Earth.
Why is it we are not reverential to all those things which make our life, sustain our life moment to moment? You just treat them differently. Suddenly they behave differently within you. If you did not drink water for three days, even if God comes, you’ll only ask for water. If we hold your nose for three minutes, you don’t want God, you want a breath, fresh air, isn’t it? One simple thing that everybody can do is, the air that they breathe, the water that they drink, the food that they eat, and the earth that they walk upon, and the space which holds us – five times a day let’s say, if you are too preoccupied at least three times a day, consciously just bring a certain sense of a reverence.
This is a very common thing, you’re being told Matru prema, Pitru prema, this one, that one – Prithvi prema that is love for the planet on which you’re walking, because that’s not different from you.