Touching the Earth for Young People

tin-n-drawing-mother-and-childTouching the earth is a practice developed by Thich Nhat Hanh to help us connect with the many different aspects of who we are: our blood and spiritual families; the country we live in; and all beings– animals, plants and minerals. When we are connected to our roots, to all that sustains us, we are happy and solid, no longer isolated and lonely. The following text is a version for young people written by Sr. Steadiness and Sr. Swiftness. For the original text see Teachings on Love, by Thich Nhat Hanh or click here for the Five Touchings of the Earth and here for the Three Touchings of the Earth and here for more practices.

You may like to introduce this practice by telling the story of Buddha and Mara and how the Buddha took refuge in the earth in a time of difficulty. (See introduction to Touching the Earth).

At the sound of the bell, we breathe in and joining our palms, touch them to our forehead and then our heart. This is to unify our mind and body. Breathing out, we open our palms and bend down, either kneeling and touching our forehead to the floor (the child’s pose in yoga), or laying our whole body flat on our belly. We turn our palms upward, in a gesture of openness, receptiveness and surrender. We relax completely and allow the text to enter deeply our body and mind while lying on the ground.

Touching the Earth I see that I Am a Child of the Earth

(bell, children touch the earth)

The earth is like my mom and dad. From the earth I receive delicious foods to eat like wheat to make bread, rice, apples, and carrots, and even chocolate from cocoa beans. The earth gives us material to make our clothes, like cotton and wool from the sheep and wood and stone to make our homes. The earth takes such good care of me. I feel happy to live on the earth.

I feel my body lying on the earth. I feel my arms and my legs and my face touching the ground. I feel that the earth is solid and can support me. I see the earth covered with many plants and trees and beautiful flowers, making the air clean and pure. As I breathe in I can feel the fresh, cool air fill my body. I feel calm and relaxed.

I feel happy and safe on the earth.

(bell, stand up)

Touching the earth I feel connected to my mom and dad

(bell, children touch the earth)

I am the child of my mom and dad. Even though I may not live with both my mom and dad now. I see my mom and I smile to her. I see my dad and I smile to him. I want my mom and dad to be happy. I want them to be safe and free from all worries.

Sometimes, mom or dad gets angry at me, and I feel hurt. Sometimes mom or dad is so busy she or he does not seem to have time for me, and I feel sad. But other times Mom and Dad take care of me and we can laugh and play together, and we have fun. Mom and Dad have taught me so many things, like how to read, or sing, or do math, or make cookies. I feel thankful to them. I know that my mom and dad were children too, a long time ago, and they felt sad and hurt sometimes, just like me. I know they have had many difficulties in their lives, and I don’t feel mad at them.

I think of my mom and my dad, and I feel their love and support, and I feel happy. I know my mom and dad need my freshness and my smiles to make them happy too.

(bell, stand up)

Touching the Earth, I am happy to be me

(bell, children touch the earth)

I am a young girl or boy living on the planet earth. Sometimes I feel small like a tiny bug or a spider happily crawling in the grass. Sometimes I feel big, like a huge, old tree. My branches reach up to touch the clouds, and my roots go way down deep in the earth drinking from the water under the ground.

Sometimes I am happy like the sunshine, and I make everyone smile. Sometimes I am sad and lonely like a gray cloudy day, and I just want to hide in a tree and cry. But when I cry my tears are like cool rain on a hot afternoon, and afterwards I feel fresh and new. I know whenever I feel sad, or scared, or mad I can go to the earth and she will always be there for me. The rocks and creatures, the plant and flowers, the sun and the dark starry sky are all there for me. I breathe in the cool, fresh earth. I breathe out all my fears, my sadness, my anger. I accept myself. I accept myself when I am happy and joyful, and I also accept myself when I have difficulties, when I am angry or sad. I smile to myself, and I see that I am a wonderful flower living on the earth. I am a part of the earth, and the earth is a part of me.

(bell, stand up)

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.

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