Tao Te Ching, “Bones of the All” and Linking to the Earth

by | Jan 21, 2011 | Five Elements, Taoism, Taoist Meditation | 15 comments

The phrase “bones of the all” in the Daodejing is sometimes referred to as meaning something old or ancient, but the true meaning is that all and everything is in the Earth.

Daoists hold the position that the Earth is a living entity with a consciousness of its own. Just as you have a consciousness, so does the Earth. And just as what is most active in your body changes from day to day, the Earth also changes.

You have the choice to link with any living being. What is meant by “linking”? When you go internal, it’s your consciousness that feels inside your body. The way in which anyone can clearly feel inside their brain or bone marrow, for example, is through their consciousness.

Now your consciousness has many interesting qualities. You can feel inside your body by linking with your body, by somehow focusing on, joining with and becoming one with it. Eventually you become aware, in tandem with your body, and do whatever it is you’re trying to do. Likewise, you can link with an animal, a tree, a human—even the Earth.

The Earth is a funny creature, but it’s no different than a human being or an animal. If you pay attention to and put your energy into one particular human being, that person will respond.

Likewise, if that human being does not get attention from any other human beings, he/she will not respond and very often becomes ill or goes crazy. The strongest example of this is babies who are never touched and die of crib death. They die from not having any real human contact.

Now if you consider very powerful relationships, there’s always one thing about them—regardless of sex or even the nature of the relationship itself. It’s the ability to just sit together and somehow fulfill each other.

For many marriages the biggest single factor that holds it together is that when the partners lie together, they are fulfilled. What happens is that each person settles into the energy of the other—each person’s energy flows into the other’s energy. Women are usually aware of this more than men. Making love is not just in the action, it is in the energy flow. And, at the end of the day, that is what people really remember, or at least that’s what holds people together for long periods of time.

The Earth is no different. Equally, the Earth responds to the tension of human beings. The Earth doesn’t need us, we need it. All the people on the Earth could die, but our relationship with the Earth intrinsically has to do with the fact that we pay attention to it.

If you use the Earth’s energy to rejuvenate you and, while you do that, you somehow have the feeling of what is coming into you, then this is a mutually beneficial relationship. I recommend people do this for a simple reason: otherwise the Earth might decide to get rid of us just as a dog doesn’t need fleas, but tolerates them.

Some people can make contact with the Earth and dissolve the energy inside themselves. To a certain degree, you will not be able to know if what you are dissolving is yours or if it’s some pain the Earth is having. And, it actually doesn’t matter because as one goes, the other will go too.

It will not be one, it will not be the other; it will be both. It is like when two people sit in a room or when your cat or dog sits next to you and it’s just quiet. You’re just being. You can do the same with the Earth. You can use its energy. And, if you care about the Earth, you can also help the Earth by what you’re doing with your awareness and intent.

To start, you have to link to the energy in the Earth. The mountains are the easiest place to link with the energy of the Earth, much more than flat lands. For example, in China many people practice amongst trees, so they can link with them. The energies of the different layers of the tree activate the energy layers in their body.

All you have to do is simply stand, sit or lie down in nature, close your eyes for about 20 minutes and let your mind go very, very quiet. Then, when your mind is finally still, do your best to link with the Earth. Leave your own body out of it and go into the layers of the Earth. A little appreciation for the bones of the all truly can go a long way.


  1. David

    Thanks Bruce, I used to do this when I was younger without really knowing what the effect was. I’m going to back into the country more often and just sit under a tree.

  2. Zulkifli Alinazar

    Yes I like this, I ‘ll start practicing it and hope will be able to link with the earth. Thanks Bruce.

  3. Ulrich

    Good thing to do (I’ve tried to connect with the earth a few times, with differing success), but I’m not sure that it’ll be enough, considering what we already did to the earth and our fellow creatures….

  4. Marisol

    Thank you Bruce! Valuable article and practical exercise for connecting.
    When I pay calm/ sustained attention to her, she answers.

  5. Geoff

    This has always been dramatically easier for me in the country than in the city, and I first discovered this when I first learned how to meditate. When I would go out into the woods, especially when I sat on a very large boulder, I could easily begin to feel the energy of the earth filling me and helping my breathing deepen and slow. Later I discovered that a weaker, but similar feeling occured when I meditated in the quiet of the deep of the night. Part of this clearly happened because my mind was quieter, but also perhaps the earth’s energy was more accessible as well. Lately I have been trying to allow my central channel to serve as a conduit for energy from the stars to flow down to the center of the earth and then flow out to the whole earth. I find that this happens more easily if I have allowed my mind to quiet through meditation for at least 10-20 minutes.

  6. Kevin Hartwell

    Always a pleasure Bruce, thanks for sharing and I hope you dont mind if I pass this article along.

  7. Jane L

    Thanks for this blog Bruce. The depth of this practice is profound. I wasn’t expecting the Earth to have an ’emotional body’ and the level of its pain resonating within my own being was a surprise. One question: Normally when I connect and exchange energy with any other being, it is offered in quite a passive manner and I always instinctively disconnect when the exchange ends and close with a grateful heart. The connection with the Earth was deep, strong and long and encompassed the whole planet. The energy exchange and dissolving didn’t come to a clear end and after 90 mins I had other things to do. When I came to close the exchange and disconnect, I couldn’t work out how to disconnect! The rational mind then said ‘why on earth would you want to disconnect from the Earth? Stay connected!’ I guess this makes sense but some guidance would be reassuring!

  8. Kevin Hartwell

    Isn’t it a bit ironic that the way we pay “attention” to EARTH seems to be the way we pay “attention” to our-SELF? – disconnected – and that both of which are actually one.

  9. Alex

    Hey Bruce, maybe you or someone here can affirm, or not the following observation, which has to do with connecting with the earth. I’ve been aware for years of a kind of background noise that sounds like big generators or ship’s engines running in the distance. I only hear it when its very quiet and there is no wind, often late at night. But I hear it everywhere, all over the world. I’ve read that the earth’s crust has its own fundamental, very low frequencies around 7 and 13 HZ, as though the crust itself vibrates. Any thoughts?

  10. Sascha

    Hi Bruce,
    that is very nice and true! I hope you can reach many people so that the human race can benefit from this. The more important point is in my opinion, that people get aware of nature and so get a feelng form the earth (the place where they live) so they will change their attitudes and their actions. In this way i could be good for the nature too. Learn to feel and later to link will help people to know themself.
    So thanks for your words!

  11. Phil McK

    Thanks so much for the increasing depth of teaching which constantly informs my practice. I remember some 20 yr ago you stating the necessity of an attitude of humility when connecting with &/or asking for any energy from the earth. Later at a Fire meditation I was able to get to the core of the planet, but only that once. After a few years of working that practice I’ve been able to do it again, bypassing the local energies closer to the surface, which one may not want especially in a big city. The deeper connection feels like being pulled down into first gear. Now I’m working on making it effortless, allowing the nourishment to flow upward with a minimum of pulling. And of course, always grateful for the opportunity to live on this sphere.

  12. Mary Hawkes

    From my schooldays. I used to hurry home and go and sit under a tree to sit, read and later do homework. I have always found some particular woods very therapeutic.

  13. Tom Umland

    One of the most share worthy Facebook posts I’ve seen in a long time.

  14. Holly Haven

    I’ve gardened for many years – never use anything mechanized – always dig with my hands. I don’t plant “pretty” – the garden looks chaotic because I plant whatever feels right for the earth and its creatures, along with a few vegetables. I’m happiest there on hands and knees because of the way earth’s energy permeates me, and all the miraculous things I see out there.

    Grateful for this post because I hadn’t considered connecting with the earth’s pain and now will practice doing that.

  15. Tim

    Thank you Bruce, for sharing your clear and deep wisdom, and for, bit by bit, leading me toward living a healthy, peaceful, aware, and ever-connecting life.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Access 3 free reports: Secrets of Tai Chi, 30 Days to Better Breathing, and Dragon & Tiger Qigong:

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This