Earth Touching


Here is the foot of a tree.
Here is an empty, quiet place.
Here is a small sitting cushion.
Here is the cool green of the grass.
My child, why don’t you sit down?

Sit upright.
Sit with solidity.
Sit in peace.
Don’t let your thoughts lift you up into the air.
Sit so that you can really touch the Earth
and be one with her.
You may like to smile, my child.

Earth will transmit to you her solidity,
her peace, and her joy.
With your mindful breathing,
with your peaceful smile,
you sustain the mudra of Earth Touching.

There were times when you didn’t do well.
Sitting on the earth, it was as if you were floating in the air,
You who used to wander in the cycle of birth and death,
drifting and sinking in the ocean of misperceptions.
But Earth is always patient
and one-hearted.
Earth is still waiting for you
because Earth has been waiting for you
during the last trillion lives.
That is why she can wait for you for any length of time.
She will always welcome you,
always fresh and green, exactly like the first time,
because love never says, “This is the last”;
because Earth is a loving mother,
She will never stop waiting for you.

Do go back to her, my child.
You will be like that tree.
The leaves, the branches, and the flowers of your soul
will be fresh and green
once you enter the mudra of Earth Touching.

The empty path welcomes you, my child,
filled with grass and little flowers,
the path among the fragrant rice paddy
that you walked on, holding your mother’s hand,
is still impressed in your mind.
Walk leisurely, peacefully.
Your feet should deeply touch the earth.
Don’t let your thoughts lift you up into the air, my child.
Go back to the path every moment.
The path is your dearest friend.
She will transmit to you
her strength,
her peace.

Your diligent awareness of your breathing
will keep you in touch with the earth.
Walk as if you were kissing the earth with your feet,
as if you were massaging the earth.
The marks left by your feet
will be like the emperor’s seal
calling the Now to come back to the Here;
so that life will be present,
so that the blood will bring the color of love to your face,
so that the wonders of life will be manifested,
and all afflictions will be transformed into
peace and joy.

There were times when you did not succeed, my child.
Walking on the empty path, you were floating in the air,
because you used to get lost in samsara
and drawn into a world of illusion.
But the beautiful path is always patient.
It is always waiting for you to come back,
the path which is familiar to you,
the path which is so faithful.
It knows deeply that you will come back one day.
It will be joyful to welcome you back.
It will be as fresh and as beautiful as the first time.
Love never says, “This is the last.”

That path is you, my child.
That is why it will never be tired of waiting.
Whether it is covered now with red dust
or with autumn leaves
or icy snow—
do go back to the path, my child,
because I know
you will be like that tree,
the leaves, the trunk the branches,
and the blossoms of your soul
will be fresh and beautiful,
once you enter the mudra of Earth Touching.

–Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
from Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh

Stream or dowload audio meditations from the book Touching the Earth

Mindfulness Retreat for People of Color 10-24 through 10-28, 2012

Living Beautifully, Living Solidly: A Mindfulness Retreat for People of Color
Wednesday, 10/24 – Sunday, 10/28
Blue Cliff Monastery, Pine Bush, NY
click here for flyer 

“Through the daily practices of mindful living offered during the retreat, we will have the opportunity to reconnect with the beautiful sources of joy and peace within ourselves. Practicing to stop, rest, and listen deeply to our body and mind, we can rediscover and nurture the deepest roots of solid living. At the same time, we will also learn concrete ways to embrace and take care of our difficulties and suffering in order to open the path to healing and growth. Attendees: People of Native-American, African, Latina/o, Asian Pacific Islander, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern Ancestry (as well as a small number of their Caucasian family).”

Info and to register: / 845-733-4959 x21.

Day of Mindfulness, 11-10-12

Coming Home, A Day of Mindfulness

in the Tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
with Meditation Teachers Anh-Huong and Thu Nguyen

Saturday, November 10th, 8:45am-4:30pm
University City, Philadelphia

A wonderful introduction to mindfulness for beginners,
 this day welcomes practitioners of all degrees of experience,
inspiring and supporting each other as a family of practice.

When the world feels difficult, uncomfortable or frightening, we may feel like we want to “go home” to a place that is peaceful and solid, where we can relax, let go, and be who we really are. Mindfulness opens a path to that true home. In this daylong retreat, we will enjoy practices to rest, refresh and renew ourselves, including mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful movements, mindful eating, and total body relaxation. All can be applied anywhere and any time, to help us to return to the true home within ourselves. There will also be a short talk on mindful living, and the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s insights and experiences.

Anh-Huong and Thu Nguyen have been practicing mindfulness for thirty years and have led mindfulness retreats in the United States since 1988. They are the principal Teachers of the Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax offering non-sectarian training in and practice of Mindfulness, and in 1992 were among the first students to be ordained as meditation teachers by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Registration is now open!
Click here for more information and to Register.

There is no set fee for this retreat, and no one will be turned away because of cost. Financial support as appropriate to your circumstances is greatly appreciated. Donations are fully tax deductible. Wheelchair accessible. Public transportation and parking nearby.

Walking Meditation 9/19/2012

 In support of World Peace Day, all are invited to come & enjoy

A Walking Meditation with Peaceful City Sangha 

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012,
5:45-6:45 pm

Beginners welcome! Instructions in Walking Meditation will be provided.

The mind can go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, a gentle wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.

Walking meditation is a practice of mindfulness– of being fully alive and present right here and now. When we walk, we let go of all our thinking, worries and anxieties. We just enjoy walking. And the wonders of life reveal themselves: singing leaves, playing children, our own steps and breath. With every step, we come home, to ourselves and to the world. With every step we practice peace.

Please gather at 5:45pm at the South West corner of Rittenhouse Square.
(one block South of Locust Street and just West of 19th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103)

For more information, please email  info@ or call Sara at 215.852.4375.

 (click here for flyer)