There are rich lessons we can learn by choosing to take off our shoes and step into the world with naked feet.
Here are five things I’ve learned from the power of walking barefoot:
– 1 –
Rocks happen, they’re unavoidable.
– 2 –
Best to make yourself strong and flexible before strength and flexibility are required.
– 3 –
Pain is relative, we can condition ourselves to experience it less.
– 4 –
Stay present. See the rocks. If you kick one, feel the pain. Learn from that.
– 5 –
We have been taught to fear what is natural. See beyond this.
So many of us walk through life in shoes, wearing them constantly, buying the most sturdy and protective ones, we let the shoes take the load for us, releasing our minds from the task of watching each time our foot hits the ground.
Under the protection of shoes, when we kick a rock, we barely feel it, and so do not learn to avoid the rocks of the future. When we step on a thorn, it doesn’t puncture our skin, and so we allow the skin of our feet to grow ever more soft. In this way, we weaken ourselves unintentionally. We make ourselves more vulnerable, attach ourselves to the need for external protection, and develop the perpetual habit of allowing our minds to wander as we walk about the world across time.
It may be that you are happy giving over the power of your health, or the health of your feet in this example, to externals. If this is the case, keep your shoes on. But, for those of you who want to take back control of the health of your feet, perhaps it’s time to start walking through life barefoot more, and find out just what you’ve been missing.
In the beginning, going shoe-less will hurt. You’ll stub your toe without a doubt. I’ve dropped dive tanks on my toes, burned the top of my feet climbing ropes, and stepped on a bee while cooking dinner in an outdoor kitchen. Something like this will surely happen to you should you be brave enough to accept the challenge of disrobing your hidden feet.
However, if you see each injury clearly, and vow to learn from them completely, soon you will find that your feet begin to toughen, no longer feeling pain in the same way, and your mind will become more focused, you’ll see more and more steps as you walk through life. Through this effort you will be rewarded, becoming more adept at weathering pain, you become more brave and less fearful; becoming more mindful of each moment, you remember more of life’s experiences and develop a sense that time moves more slowly and life becomes longer.
In life, if we protect ourselves too much with externals, we lose our ability to handle nature. And then we begin to fear it. In our fear, we create separateness from it, and from this separateness, we stop caring about it, and destroy it as though it is our enemy. But in fact, we are the enemy of ourselves. We make the shields that separate us from Nature. If I were to believe the story of Adam and Eve it would have to be written that, when they ate the apple, they didn’t “wake up” to sin, they “fell asleep” to Nature.
Do not go through life asleep, wake up. Do not fear Nature, be one with it. When we see ourselves inside Nature, we will protect it with our lives.
Be happy with that. Let go of the need for more.