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Best Medicine for Everything

Yesterday I woke up wrecked. A late dinner of fish and white wine has done it to me before. But I was at table with spirited Italians, the octopus fresh and cooked with love, the flavours evocative, the conviviality compelling. Turned out it was someone’s birthday also, so there was no refusing the ice cream cheesecake, with a glass of Spumante of course.

Let me make this clear. I am a yogi, a vegetarian for most of my life. I rarely drink, and if I do, I measure my wine with a thimble. (Ok, go ahead, laugh!) But every so often, I need to do the opposite to know once again why I live the way I do. So there I was, with a raging headache, queasy stomach, and the best part of the morning gone.

Too weak for my usual yoga practice, too much brain fog to write or read, I needed relief, and the rest of the day was about getting just that. It came to me directly from the earth. The sun already hot, the garden needful after my month’s absence, I donned a pair of shorts, grabbed a bucket and dug my hands into the soil.

Most of us (myself included) expend a lot of energy eradicating dirt from our environments. Though those activities have their place, we must never forget the value, the power, the extraordinary healing capacity of dirt. Whatever grief, anxiety, agitation or fatigue you may feel, dirt is medicine.

Gather fresh mountain moss, drink deep the perfume of pine needles, crush petals of jasmine, basil or rose—essences to enthral, transporting you to landscapes fantastical, your distress with the fragrances dissipating into ubiquitous ether. Walking on soil is good, but wriggling your barefoot toes into it is better, yet best of all is digging your hands into it too. The sensitive nerves of your fingers connect to teeming life, like electricity completing a circuit.

Your body tunes to symbiotic harmony with green growing things, to earth rhythms, recalibrating your being to nature’s cycles, the inhale and exhale of Divine Mother. Modern life creates disconnect. Dirt—actual dirt— provides an antidote.

A cauldron of transformation created by sunlight, dirt is tomb and womb. It is the corpse of life that came before, yet alive with worms, seeds, bacteria, all busily nourishing growth that forms flesh and bone. Even at the physiological level, dirt nourishes, its beneficial bacteria vital to gut health and thus our brains. In Indian philosophy, earth is the densest element, stable substance providing structure. Its densest form is precious stone, light crystallised, with earth and light belonging to a continuum. Earth is the visible face of spirit.

Gardening becomes spiritual practice when mind surrenders and divine intelligence takes charge. Pulling weeds, pruning overgrowth, planting seedlings foster serenity of mind and spontaneity of action, with awareness naturally penetrating surfaces to release into the sacred substratum where all things merge. Devotion to dirt is potent medicine, because it purifies hearts to worship.

(Add your comments below, my friends!
Have you ever discovered the amazing healing power of digging into the earth???
Share with friends that may be hurting. It is an easy practice for all to access.)

Om shanti

2 thoughts on “Best Medicine for Everything”

  1. I notice when I pull the weeds in my back yard there is a real satisfying feeling when the root pulls up easily,like I’m literally uprooting the anger or sadness in myself. When I was threshing and thrashing the earth around my tree in my flip flops, I was sinking easily soI flipped them off and immersed my feet in the soil. It felt so good. I got sidetracked tho as I was concerned my neighbours would think I’m a freak. Haha it has made me realize I want to make my garden more private so that I can immerse my being into it when I want, with out the curtain twitchers lurking. Hahaha

    1. I love that feeling when weeds come out easily too, Siobhan! Life is too full of obstacles, so instant results are so satisfying. An emotional purge for us at the same time that the plant can breathe freely! (Btw, I am beyond caring what the neighbours think. They have caught me too many times sprinkling chilli pepper powder around my plants to discourage the wild pigs. A definite nut case . . . but who cares?!)

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