Mara tempted the Buddha many times with visions of wealth or sensual images that could be his if he would just get up and walk away. Every time she visited him, however, he would call out to himself, "Mara, I see you!" Then he would touch the earth so that he would know through his physical senses the reality of something tangible, instead of being swept away by the non-reality of his thoughts. Whenever he did this, Mara would disappear.
In our own meditation practice and daily life, we are constantly besieged by confusion, doubt, and desires for things to be other than the way they really are. When we notice this happening, we can also defy these expressions of Mara, just like the Buddha.
First, we recognize that these events are actually happening ("Mara, I see you!"). This alone may have the power to dissolve the suffering that these events can cause.
Then, we need to do our own Earth Touching Mudra by coming into contact with a physical sense object. Feeling the movement of the breath in and out is one of the most powerful sense objects, and it is available to us any time we need it. However, anything we can experience through the five physical senses will serve as fingers touching the earth to help ground us in the reality of the present moment.
The difficult or upsetting thoughts will then dissolve by themselves without our having to do anything about them. Like Mara, they will disappear into the darkness and stop bothering us for a while.
The Task, by Guillevic:
When each dayBlessings,
when each hour
when each instant
earth and you
space and you
bearing the sacred through time
the fields of light.