As human beings there is a part of us that finds its identity and meaning in the heavens above us. Looking up at the stars at night we resonate with the vastness of space and time that is evoked. We sense a great mystery there—a mystery that beckons us beyond the mundane concerns of everyday life.
Sometimes, though, when we awaken for a moment and actually sense our feet on the ground, we realize that it is the earth that supports us, and that this support, when fully allowed and experienced, not only energizes us but also helps us to be present to the miracle of Now.
Some of the world’s great spiritual traditions, especially certain indigenous traditions worldwide as well as the Taoist tradition of China, emphasize our relationship to the earth. These traditions tell us that only by consciously grounding ourselves to the earth’s energies can we connect safely effectively with the heavens and live in real wholeness.
What does it mean to ground ourselves? Is there anything that we can actually do, or is it simply a matter of being in the moment? Yes, there is something we can do to help in this process. Take off your shoes and socks and stand or walk or run barefoot on the earth. As you try this, sense the energetic interface between your feet and the earth. You can also hug, with your bare arms and hands, a tree that is itself rooted in the earth.
Of course, in a sense, we are almost always in relationship to the earth, and if we are not present to this it is probably because we are lost in our thoughts, judgments, reactive emotions, and imagination. All it takes is a bit of attention to what is actually happening right here and now—attention to the many tensions that buffer us from the experience of being supported by the earth: our tense raised shoulders, our tense feet always ready to go somewhere else, our tight, constricted breath. As we note these and other conditions of how we usually live something lets go, something relaxes, and we begin to sense our weightedness through gravity and our connection to the earth and its vast reservoir of energies.
Copyright 2008-2011 by Dennis Lewis