A warm welcome to our first Audio Meditation blog post. Every few weeks we’ll be looking at a particular aspect of meditation and how it fits into the context of day-to-day living. We aim to present meditation as a set of natural skills that can be easily adapted to everyday life.
And today we look at the practice of grounding.
Both Feet on the Ground
Just as a house needs solid foundations to withstand the ravages of weather and time, there’s a lot to be said for keeping both feet firmly on the ground in this fast moving 21st Century. We’ve developed a virtual world on the internet that’s changing the way we live. It’s a seductive world that’s a far cry from the simple, more wholesome connection our primitive ancestors would have had with their natural surroundings: in rhythm with Earth’s cycles and in tune with its seasons. In fact, our physiology has not yet evolved to cope with the pressure and pace of contemporary living. Our nervous system still interprets everyday stress as a sabre tooth tiger jumping in for the kill, which means that many of us are caught in the ‘Fight, Flight or Freeze’ stress response for most of the time.
Stress is now recognised as a major contributor to ill-health, but what is perhaps less well known is the nervous system doesn’t recognise the difference between different types of stress. So, when we are glued to that computer game, or chat room in the early hours of the morning on our third cup of coffee; when we are pushing ourselves to go that extra mile on a project that excites us; when we have our mp3 turned to maximum volume; or when we are gasping at the thrills of 3D cinema we are bringing levels of stress to our nervous system which may end up affecting our emotional balance; cognitive levels; digestive system; sleep, and immune function.
In these unsettled times, where stimulation and information overload is the norm, it seems to me we need more than ever to reconnect to the ground beneath our feet to help us a catch our breath and come back to ourselves. The practice of grounding, literally, brings us down to earth in a kind of homecoming that takes us out of the trance states of our mind, into the more solid resources of the here and now.
A great deal of ill-health stems from mind/body imbalances, and by that I mean a disconnecting from our fundamental physical and emotional needs through living mostly in our head. In many ways, when we lose connection with our body we lose connection with an integral part of ourselves. Our body is a complex biofeedback organism with an innate intelligence, whose prime directive is for us to thrive and survive. Emotions, feelings, sensations and intuitions are expressions of our needs, which we ignore at our peril, to the detriment of our health and well-being. Grounding is the first step to getting in touch with those needs and with ourselves as a whole.
The benefits of grounding have been recognised for thousands of years in meditation, yoga, tai-chi, chi-gung and different forms of energy medicine and healing. In simple terms, this means using the ground to earth and re-align the body and mind so they can move back towards a state of balance. In most meditative practices this involves taking awareness down into the body and to its connection with the ground beneath it, engaging with that connection and letting the rest happen naturally.
A good way to start putting this into practise is to pause every now and then in your day, and do the following: feel the ground beneath your feet, drop down with your senses into your body, breathe out down towards the ground and bring your awareness to your surroundings. Notice what happens when you do this. Over the next few weeks we’ll be exploring different ways you can use grounding as a natural life tool on a daily basis. For me, it feels like coming in to land after a long day’s flight, drawing in my wings and finding my balance again. I wish you many a happy landing!
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Life-changing mindfulness meditations that put you in touch with the powerful resources already within you and in the natural world around you