‘Look carefully at what is under your own feet.’ (SHUNMYO MASUNO)

‘Look carefully at what is under your own feet.’ (SHUNMYO MASUNO)

Nowadays, many people have lost their footing – they are worried and confused about how to live their lives. That is why they seek out the extraordinary, in an attempt to reset their mental balance.

But. Still. Even once you have pushed reset, the extraordinary remains outside of the everyday.

When you return to your regular life, stress accumulates and the mind frays.

Feeling burdened, again you seek out the extraordinary. Does this never-ending cycle sound familiar?

No matter how much you lament the complexities of life, changing the world is no simple task.

If the world is not going the way you want it to, perhaps it is better to change yourself. Then, whatever world you encounter, you can move through it comfortably and with ease.

Disorder in your mind shows in your feet

It has long been said that you can tell a lot about a household by looking at its entrance hall, especially in Japanese homes, where we remove our shoes upon entering. If the footwear is perfectly lined up, or if it is all in a jumble … you can know the state of mind of those who live there by just this one detail.

In Zen Buddhism we have a saying that means ‘Look carefully at what is under your own feet.’ It has a literal meaning, but it also suggests that those who do not pay attention to their foot- steps cannot know themselves, and cannot know where their life is going. This may sound like an exaggeration, but such a small thing really can have a tremendous influence on the way you live.

When you come home, take off your shoes and line them up neatly by the front door. Just this one thing. It takes only seconds.

Yet by cultivating this habit, everything about your life will be inexplicably sharper and more orderly. It will beautify your life. This is human nature.

First, try turning your attention to your feet. By lining up your shoes, you are taking the next step towards where you are going.





Zen – The Art of Simple Living

Shunmyo Masuno



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