Touching the Earth — Connection with Our Ancestors

Touching the Earth — Connection with Our Ancestors

Discussion date: Thu, May 28, 2009 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday we will practice the Five Touchings of the Earth together after our sitting and walking meditation. Since I was first introduced to the Touchings several years ago, I have felt very open to what they might teach me. The first time I did the touchings, I had a sense of release when I layed down on the floor with my arms outstretched. It’s possible I was just so fatigued from the day that what I was experiencing was a sense of relief from sitting and standing up all day! However, over time, I’ve realized it’s something more than that. As Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, this practice helps us return to our roots in the Earth, in our ancestors, to help us feel that connection. With this practice, we become aware of both our smallness and greatness, not as something separate but as something connected to everything else.

I really enjoy the progression of the Five Touchings…through contemplating our blood ancestors, our spiritual family, our land ancestors, all those we love, and finally, those who have made us suffer. In all of these beings and groups of beings, there is an opportunity for connection, reconciliation, awakening, strengthening.
This week, since we

are practicing the Touchings between our holidays that celebrate mother’s day and father’s day, I thought we might explore the first, our blood and family ancestors. As you practice these trainings, is it hard to feel that connection to your mother, your father, your grandparents? If so, what is it that is causing the hardness? Is there a way to soften into that? To let go a bit? If there is already a feeling of connection, what are those roots?  If you are struggling with something very difficult between you and your blood ancestors, is there a way to hold both the struggle, the pain, and the compassion?

The full text on the Five Touchings of the Earth can be found on the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center website at: (under ‘Articles and Resources’).

I look forward to practicing with you this Thursday evening.
Peace,Maria Sgambati

Thich Nhat Hanh on the

Earth Touchings:
“The practice of Touching the Earth is to return to the Earth, to our roots, to our ancestors, and to recognize that we are not alone but connected to a whole stream of spiritual and blood ancestors. We are their continuation and with them, will continue into the future generations. We touch the earth to let go of the idea that we are separate and to remind us that we are the Earth and part of Life. When we touch the Earth we become small, with the humility and simplicity of a young child. When we touch the Earth we become great, like an ancient tree sending her roots deep into the earth, drinking from the source of all waters. When we touch the Earth, we breathe in all the strength and stability of the Earth, and breathe out our suffering- our feelings of anger, hatred, fear, inadequacy and grief. Our hands join to form a lotus bud and we gently lower ourselves to the ground so that all four limbs and our forehead are resting comfortably on the floor. While we are Touching the Earth we turn our palms face up, showing our openness to the three jewels, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. After one or two times practicing Touching the Earth (Three Touchings or Five Touchings), we can already release a lot of our suffering and feeling of alienation and reconcile with our ancestors, parents, children, or friends.”

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, May 28, 2009


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