By Muzaffar Ali
February 28th, 2011
In the orient, the feet with extremely opposite interpretations present a powerful and invincible culture. On the one hand, they are looked down upon and on the other, paradise lies at feet of the mother, where touching the feet is like according the highest respect to another. They are not to be pointed at people you respect or extended towards a sacred place. For example, you don’t sleep with them turned in the direction of Kaaba.
Being barefoot signifies shedding your ego, your defences, being receptive, being in a state of utmost respect and submission. All healing of the mind, body and soul comes from the feet in the orient, which the occident is slowly discovering for itself. The body has a complex network of invisible energy channels through which Chi, the vital energy of life travels. Everything is energy. Life is receiving and directing energy. Energy becomes anything. From aura to product. From power to wealth. Energy manages human beings and resources. Energy takes you into a virtual world. You become someone you are not. You bring people to life.
On the spiritual plane energy is ethereal and invisible. It is born out of surrender and submission. It charges you beyond human conception and comprehension. It is the only form of energy that is accessible to all. Like air and water it comes free of cost. It comes from a deep inner peace.
The concept of physical cleanliness and physiological wellness to manifest itself in a spiritual way has never come together so strongly as in being barefoot. Any space which is considered sacred where human beings congregate to receive a charge or a blessing has to be visited barefoot. Homes in every evolved Indian culture from Kerala to Kashmir are all barefoot areas. All mandirs, mosques and dargahs are barefoot zones.
There has to be a religious and spiritual significance to it. Human beings relate differently to each other if they meet each other without shoes. They surrender to each other unconditionally. They relate to each other without the baggage of their egos.
The equation of respect and reverence subconsciously steps in between the host and the guest. These time-tested socially-designed norms created the culture of co-existence. No eastern classical dance is performed with shoes, no song is sung with shoes on. It needs a spiritual connect with the soil on which it is going to be performed, form which energy is going to pour forth. It needs to have the triangular connect with the performer, the Divine and the audience.
The foot has a point for every organ and every single function in the human system. The Western culture, with its shoes on that symbolise status, and purpose make it impossible to take them out even when they visit a church. They feel they have been stripped of their identity if they are to do so. Even people of the orient styled in Western attire begin to feel the same way and particularly in high heels with even Indian attire like a sari. Your will to live is the cause of all cures. Only positive thinking conquers all adversity. Conquest of your mind is the conquest of all metabolic processes going on in your system. And all this comes from the continuity of cultures, a way of living, control of your energy meridians, traditions of healing in which everything begins and ends with your feet.
— Muzaffar Ali is a filmmaker and painter. He is the Executive Director and Secretary of the Rumi Foundation. He can be contacted at www.rumifoundation.in
Source: The Asian Age