Ground yourself. Yes, that’s it. No need to read on, unless you would like to know how easy it is?
How many times in the last few days have you taken a moment to appreciate the little things, all the seemingly insignificant things that would have a massive impact if they were suddenly taken away?
If you’re one of the few that has: congratulations, but you’re in the minority. Or maybe you’re like me, and take time on occasion but not nearly often enough. Some people never do. I’m not saying that people who don’t take the time to appreciate the little things have no gratitude, that they’re unhappy or they don’t appreciate these things. But really, those few moments make all the difference. Gratitude is like salad; we will appreciate the benefits of eating more salad eventually, but unless it becomes a regular meal it doesn’t get the chance to do us much good.
We all spend so much time on autopilot flipping from one role, feeling or action to another. One moment you’re mum, scared when you see your child doing something crazy, and the next you are counsellor when a friend phones needing some advice. With how many roles we all play during any normal day, it’s no wonder that we could all do with taking some time out to get back to ourselves. But when I mention grounding to most people it gets a negative and defensive reaction, like I have insulted them in some way.
In the spiritual sense to be grounded means to appreciate and enjoy life. It’s the complete opposite to being carried away on the endless delusion that everything will improve once we get over the next big hurdle, which is how most of us live our lives. We get up, go to work and return home all on the hope that something good might happen in the evening to make it all worthwhile.
Grounding is about being in touch with your deepest innermost feelings, as well as your surroundings and nature. At this level you have caring, generosity and mindfulness. From these grow clarity, insight, joy, confidence, adaptability and balance. Unfortunately we spend so much of our time operating on an entirely different level. Zen teaches us that everything starts with caring and arises to whatever we choose it to be. So, for example, when you’re on the road and a driver puts your life at risk through some stupid action, you almost immediately jump to fear and anger. But in reality you would have gone through many other states of mind even in those few milliseconds. Let’s say we reverse the thought process – it ended with shouting or violence (technically they are the same thing,) and prior to that it would have been anger, then fear, continuing right down until you got back to caring. That is the root, the locus of where every emotion and reaction comes from.
So how does grounding help? Well, it gives you space and a little time to recognise what is happening and to choose your path; your reaction, how you deal with any situation. It also simply makes you feel good, it allows you to shed some of the pressure that might have been weighing you down and silences a few of the thoughts bouncing around in your head for a while.
Sounds great, right? So how do we ground ourselves?
It’s really simple. You take time out, become aware of your breathing and relax. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel yourself relax with every exhale. It might help you to imagine a pillar of light shining out from the top of your head. As you breathe in, this light passes through your forehead, down to your chest and down your front to the base of your spine. As you breathe out, the light goes up your back and out through the top of your head, rejoining the column above. Here’s my 4 Step Meditation to clear your mind which will help.
Alternatively you could try some guided meditation.
Please let me know how it goes in the comments below, did you feel better?
Updated for 2023