This article covers these four questions:
What is grounding?
Why is grounding important individually and collectively?
How do we know if we are grounded?
How do we get grounded?
Grounding–do we feel it in our body? Smell it in earthly aromas? See a light coming from the earth into our body and going from our body into the ground? Is it in a way we think practical thoughts and don’t drift off? Use words with actual distinct meanings?
Is grounding in feeling connected with the elements, an electron transfer between our skin and minerals? Touching material things with care? Having coordinated movements? Being someone who can be relied on? Dwelling in reality and setting realistic goals?
Can being grounded co-exist with lofty aspirations? With love? With intellect, abstract thinking, writing and reading? With creativity? With deep states? With bliss?
It has been said that being grounded is being whole (1). That definition attaches no “downward arrows” to the meaning of groundedness, no necessity to grow more towards the earth. It places no greater emphasis on the earth than on the air or the water. It says that being grounded is just being whole. While for one person, growing “whole” may be towards the earthy direction, another person’s growing “whole” may be their filling in gaps in abstract thought or high states.
Provocative, isn’t it? We can experience our own grounding by being whole for whatever our sacred design is.
But while no one can say what grounding is for you, let us look at where our society is incomplete as a general entity, especially people on a transformative path. In doing so, let us uncover the wholeness where have room to grow into, and call it grounding.
It may be that the ungrounded part of society is ever on a hungry quest for ‘coming home.’ The American dream seems inextricable with having a home of our own, however that is defined for each of us. Extracted from our home, whether it is Americans trying to find some sense of “nativity” on this continent, Native Americans violently forced off their land, Jews wandering in millenia of exile, generations of Palestinians living as refugees, and people made homeless, exiled, or refugees for any of countless human and natural disasters, the topic of grounding forces us to ask, “How are we doing with making our home – personally, locally, socially, and globally?”
What is a home? In Spanish, “home” comes from the same word root as “marriage.” It isn’t home until we are in relationship and have the capacity for intimacy. What does intimate relationship have to do with grounding? Quite simply, a grounded person is here and present, which automatically develops capacity for seeing the other as s/he is, which is authentic relationship.
Furthermore, in Hebrew, the word for home is symbolically connected to the very first letter of the genesis, or creation. What we are doing in the world is to really understand “home.” Home is understanding relationship. Home is understanding materials that a house is built of. Home is understanding the directions in which a home is oriented to face (for example, in vastu, a Vedic science of building, and feng shui, the Chinese understanding of the flow of energy). In addition, a Navajo home known as a “hogun” is built in six sides oriented specifically with the directions, with an earthen floor.
Home is understanding ourselves and how we literally “fit” inside the home’s doors. Home is how we welcome guests. There is a practice that beings on the 5th day after Yom Kippur (after waiting 4 days, one for each direction, or each element) known as Sukkot. On Sukkot, practitioners build 4-sided huts of branches and palm fronds. The practice is to make it feel like a home for joy by eating, drinking, inviting guests, talking, and sleeping in it, while the walls and roof are completely porous to the weather and the stars are visible through any wall and the roof. One of the holiday’s purposes main purpose is to ground, to recognize our complete dependence on what nature gives us to use for good purposes.
So, what are some traditional and modern ways to get grounded?
Dietarily – One person who has studied grounding foods a lot is Dr. Jameth Sheridan. He uses the principles of where on the plant a food comes from, and what its nutrient profile is, to develop a blend of foods he calls “Earth.” The beauty is all the food in Earth are live raw foods, meaning you can keep your wild Life Force, while finding your grounding. The formulator conceives of the grounding foods as belonging either to what is above the earth (leaves and bark), below the earth (roots), seeds, herbal broths, and probiotics. Here are the actual ingredients as Dr. Sheridan lists them, so the reader can recognize grounding foods from the earth (2):
Earth Above – Organic purslane (verdolaga), organic kelp, organic slippery elm bark
Earth Below – Organic Queen of the Meadow root / gravel root, organic nettle root, organic dandelion root, organic hydrangea root, organic marshmallow root, organic ginger
Earth Seeds – Organic sprouted flax seeds, organic chia seeds, organic milk thistle seeds
Organic Earth Broth – Organic miso, organic paprika, organic cumin, organic rosemary leaf, organic sage leaf, organic celery
EarthBiotics – Array of both implantable lactobacillus species and NSOs (natural soil organisms)
Actual Food Nutrient Array – (containing 100% organically-bound) Chromium, selenium, molybdenum, B-vitamins, beta-glucans, and all necessary co-factors
Lifestyle – Other choices in our lifestyle have a huge effect on our grounding. Do we ever walk or stand barefoot outside? How sensually do we relate to the sensations that come from nature? Are we aware of how we move our body, especially our lower body, our core, and our center?
Thought Processes – The word I’ve started using is “imagifestation.” That means that it is one thing to have a rich imagination, and it is another thing to bring it down into the way we relate in the material world, to bring the thoughts into physical reality.
Technology – For those of us who spend less than the ideal amount of time barefoot on the Earth (most of us), one clever researcher came up with a system of fostering the all-important and irreplaceable electron transfer between the Earth and our body. Here is a direct quote from Earthinginstitute.net:
“Earthing, or grounding, refers to connecting your body directly with the Earth.
Earth is an electrical planet, charged with a subtle surface energy commonly known in the electrical world as “ground.” When in contact with the Earth, this tranquil energy naturally transfers to any conductive object—whether it is a metal rod, a wire, a tree or plant, an animal, or a barefoot human—and they become “grounded.”
The known effect of grounding is that it discharges and prevents the buildup of electrical stress. Walking barefoot on the Earth, as humans have done throughout history, naturally grounds and discharges the body. The most reported benefit from people who place their bare feet directly on the Earth and ground themselves is that they ‘feel better.'”
So, what does grounding feel like? How do we know if we’re grounded?
Being grounded, which we now have a better understanding of as being whole, is a feeling of consciousness of the material and elemental world. Being ground is also have embodied awareness of our agreements and our accountabilities in relationship to one another. As much as we activists have a proclivity to feel conscious of the general struggles of the movement, and as much as we meditators have a tendency to feel conscious of inner energies, relationship are where both play out.
The bottom line, no pun intended, is that proper grounding can make the bliss of meditation even more fulfilling and profound by including more of All That Is in relationship to the self. Grounding can also make our activism more effective by becoming systematic and responsible for our commitments within the movement and more feeling of the relationships among strategic partners.
While the popular saying is “after the ecstasy, the laundry,” grounding includes a sense of purpose and life force within every sensation, relationship, thought, word, and action without exception. It is being a whole person.
1. Sir Gabriel Cousens, M.D., M.D.(H), D.D., www.gabrielcousens.com
2. Healthforce Nutritionals, www.healthforce.com