Our support, anchor, and witness
Support. Anchor. Witness.
These are strong, comforting words. To have all three in one’s life would be a blessing indeed.
In his free online course, The 30-Day Wake Up Challenge, the American spiritual teacher Adyashanti explains that the ground is our support, our breath is our anchor, and the sky is our witness. In other words, these three things are never far away.
In our increasingly urban lifestyles, we’re less aware than our ancestors were of the earth, the breaths we take, and the sky. They trekked across open plains and up rocky mountain passes, taking notice of the ground beneath their feet, their breathing audible and deep. Then they slept, totally exhausted, under a canopy of stars that witnessed their presence in the landscape.
Today I decide to be more like my ancestors, to be conscious of earth, breath, and sky.
The ground is my support
The highway from my home in the wetlands to the city of Albany forms a silver ribbon through farmlands. I see red dirt on the verges, winter puddles in paddocks, a stand of ancient paperbarks. The ground holds up the highway, the red dirt, the winter puddles, the paperbarks, and me.
Usually, I sense myself enclosed in the car, feet on pedals, hands on steering wheel, moving across the surface of the earth. But today it’s different. Today I feel something new. Like the paperbarks, I have roots sunk into the earth. I feel a connection to the whole planet as it whirls through space, keeping a firm hold of me as it goes on its appointed path.
The ground is my support.
The breath is my anchor
I consciously listen to my breath as I cross the car park at work, and I take a particularly deep breath to smell a pink rose in the garden bed near the entrance to the building. Another deep breath before I open the door, another as I listen to it shut behind me, then another before I turn on the computer. As I continue to take conscious, audible breaths throughout the day I find myself sinking into my heart area or into my shoes. I leave the brain space in my head and enter the rest of my body. This causes my thoughts to slow down or sharpen.
These breaths anchor me in the present moment.
The sky is my witness
Ah, the sky. An ever-changing painting that includes me because I am beneath it. When I first wake up, the sky is black, with pinpricks of stars. No moon. Later it lightens as the sun sends emissary rays of light to alert me to its imminent arrival on the horizon. Then the sky is blue for a few hours before purple rain clouds billow to the north and drift south. Through the windows at work I watch rain fall from a sky that has turned pale grey. In the early evening, while taking my daily walk with my husband, the sun disappears in a splendiferous cacophony of colour: red, orange, peach and pink. I see these colours and, in their own way, these colours see me.
The sky is my witness — and I witness the sky.
What a day! What a day it’s been! I’ve been upheld by the support of the ground. I’ve felt anchored by my breath. And the sky has witnessed my presence.
When I started the day, I’d wanted to understand what Adyashanti was talking about. Now I feel the sense of his words — almost at a molecular level.
Are you feeling vulnerable? Confused? Alone?
Consider the ground, your breath, and the sky.
Feel supported, anchored, and witnessed.
We — you and I — share these three things, every day.
With love, Marlane