Usually we never pay attention to our feet. They are taken for granted, covered up with socks and shoes. When we take all of these coverings off, we realize that our feet are among the most sensitive parts of our bodies. Filled with nerve endings, they connect us to the ground we walk on, as well as to what's going on inside; they are able to absorb wisdom and information we could not receive any other way.

When we enter a zendo, the first thing we do is take off our shoes and place them neatly in a rack by the door. First, we do not want to trek dust and dirt through the zendo, which is always immaculately clean; but more important, we take off our shoes because our feet are precious. We honor and respect our feet, and walk on them carefully. We do not discard what they have to teach. Zen practice is just like this. Nothing discarded, everything used in the way it was intended. We walk slowly, eyes on the floor, concentrating on each step, feeling the floor under our feet as we approach our seat.

Brenda Shoshanna in Zen Miracles