It’s essential for success in meditation. And you might even say, for success in life in general.
So why aren’t more people doing it? Properly, I mean.
In essence, being grounded is about having two feet planted squarely and safely on the ground. Which keeps you from drifting aimlessly with your head in the clouds.
Can you see how that is a perfect basic starting point for everything we do in life?
The What and the Why of Grounding
Being grounded makes you feel more balanced. More in control of yourself.
It makes you more immune to the distractions of the mind and your emotions.
And it makes it easier to stay focused in the here and now.
But why is that? Why can a seemingly simple routine like grounding yourself have such a profound effect?
Once again it all comes down to energy.
While it’s absolutely true that we are in essence energy beings, there’s also no denying that we have a physical body. And the building blocks for that body have been provided by the Earth. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and all that, remember?
Through this basic matter that makes up our body, we are connected with the Earth. In a way, we are of the Earth.
But this is where the trouble starts. Because we don’t feel that connection anymore. As a species, we like to think of ourselves as separate from – maybe even above – all the rest of creation.
This separation creates a problem for our body. To thrive, it needs to feel connected with the larger whole from which it originates.
This separation anxiety hinders your emotional wellbeing and your spiritual evolution as well.
Because right here and now, that physical body of yours is part and parcel of who you are. It influences your emotional and your spiritual experiences. And vice versa.
It’s the foundation on which you build your spiritual you.
And without proper grounding, the spiritual you will be like that golden statue with feet of clay: pretty at first sight, but dangerously unstable on closer inspection.
So instead of skipping straight to the bells and whistles of the higher chakras, we should start at the beginning: grounding.
The Mother of all Classics
If you’ve ever dabbled in meditation, you may know this one. It’s so widespread, I call it the mother of all grounding classics.
Before I tell you how I feel about this all-time classic (spoiler: I’m not overly fond of it), I’ll run you through it quickly.
- Imagine a root or a red ribbon sprouting from the end of your spine, and growing into the earth.
- Let it sink deeper and deeper into the earth. And as it goes deeper, imagine how it grows smaller branches on all sides, spreading wider and wider.
- This deep and wide root system makes you as strong as a tree. Through this root system you can draw in energy from the Earth. And you can drain away any energies you want to get rid of.
That, in a tiny nutshell, is the root grounding exercise.
Although I recognise its value, my main objection is that it’s too visual.
And to some people’s tastes, downright weird: “A red ribbon growing out of my what?!”
For a grounding exercise to really work, you have to feel it.
And in that respect, asking you to picture a root extending from your spine might be a bridge too far, in my opinion.
Feeling it makes it real
Merely visualising isn’t enough. Actually feeling it, that’s what makes all the difference. It’s what makes it real. And as a result, more effective.
This means you have to engage your imagination more broadly, by involving all your senses.
How does using your imagination make something real, you might ask.
First of all, to your subconscious, what you imagine can be very real. It’s why dreams, nightmares and scenes in a book or a movie have such an effect on your emotions.
Secondly, your imagination is the bridge to the spiritual you. To your higher self.
Your imagination sets in motion a process that is then gradually and smoothly taken over by your intuitive and spiritual side.
So when you do the exercise below, don’t just simply see things. Try to imagine what it feels like.
And equally important, all you need is your heartfelt intention to ground yourself.
Be the tree :-)
- Breathe. With each breath, draw your attention a little bit more inwards, focussing on the movements and subtle sensations of your breathing.
- Now imagine you’re a tree, standing somewhere nice, quiet and sunny. Your feet and your legs are your roots. Your upper body is your sturdy trunk. And your arms and your head are your crown, the branches and leaves reaching up to the sky.
- The airiness of your crown, and the wind gently blowing through your leaves, all that feels very nice of course. But we’ll be focussing on the lower parts in this exercise: your roots and your trunk.
- Imagine what it must feel like to have your legs / roots planted in the soil. They extend deep and wide into the earth, like a strong anchor.
- Your roots secure you to the ground. Firmly and safely. But in case you’re wondering, this isn’t the same as being trapped or stuck. Not at all.
This is more like an emotional security thing. A bit like a child holding on to a parent for comfort. Both safe and happy in the knowledge that neither of you will ever let go.
- With your roots you pull yourself snuggly and securely to the earth. This connection makes you feel strong. Invincible. The elements might batter your trunk and your crown, but your roots keep you safe and upright. Through your roots you will always be able to regenerate.
- Do you feel how strong your trunk is? Can you feel the tree’s width and solidity in your upper body? From your pelvis and your gut to your chest, try to experience the strength of the tree trunk.
- And feel the flow of life, from your roots, upwards through your trunk.
- If you can feel the connection and the flow, then simply enjoy the experience for a while. Draw in the energy through your roots. Let it flow upwards to your entire body. And then let it leave your body, through your heart, your head and your arms.
- When you’ve had your fill, the feeling will start to fade. Gently bring your attention back to the present moment. Wiggle your toes. Let out a deep sigh.
- Give yourself a hug if you feel like it.
And then go on to enjoy the rest of your day.