A couple of weeks ago one of my clients asked me to teach them how to ground themself. It was -er- an interesting exercise for me.
I was born with both my Sun and my Moon in Earth signs - I am pre-programmed to be grounded. I am in my body strongly, and it is connected to the earth. Between 2003 and 2005 I gained a lot of weight - not unwelcome weight - completely unconnected with my diet and activity-levels, further pressing me to the ground. Just today, someone who knows me very well indeed expressed my relationship with words to the effect of: "after all, you are rock. You find it hard not to be grounded." And this is perfectly true.
When my daughter was little, we spent a great deal of time travelling on the rail system recreationally. Just south of a particular town, the train goes through a tunnel, then immediately on a bridge over estuarine water, then into another tunnel again. I taught her to recognise the difference in energies, by noticing how she felt as the train passed through the tunnels, and how she felt as it passed over the bridge.
We used to walk a steep bush track behind the town we lived in, and we walked it when she was quite small - say, four or five years old. On an early one of those walks, she had difficulties walking because the loose pebbles and fallen leaves that she was walking on slipped around underfoot. I taught her to ground very quickly, by telling her to "put herself in her feet, and make her feet stick to the ground". In less than a minute, she wasn't slipping on the leaves and loose stones any more. She is a young adult now, and and still is firmly glued to whatever surface is below her feet.
It is important when beginning a meditation, pathworking, or ritual activity, to ground and centre. Grounding is important: it attaches you to the real. Centring is important: it allows you to access your inner-world reality immediately and powerfully. In my meditation group, a group of friends as opposed to a class, we take turns to lead the guided visualisation, and I've noticed that many of the members when they lead, pay a lot of attention to grounding, which is healthy, and less attention to centring, which is just as important. When I lead, I tend to incorporate both processes subtlely into the induction routine, so that by the time the whole group is in trance, they are both grounded and centred. When others lead and they do only a grounding induction, I automatically centre myself at the same time, because I never have to waste time grounding.
Over the last couple of weeks, since I've been thinking about this blog-post, I've been watching myself, and the only times I've caught myself being ungrounded is when I've been reading particularly enthralling books, into which I have immersed myself and "left this world" to enter the world of the writer. The last occasion, I took a book along when I left the house, and I sat somewhere reading. When I got up after a couple of chapters to go outside and catch some air, I noticed I was walking unusually gracefully for me, and could barely feel the floor beneath my feet. I was ungrounded. I stamped my feet on the ground and suddenly I was fully there again, fully in me, which also extends into the earth.
During the conversation earlier today where I was described by my friend as being a living rock, I talked about an incident a few years ago, where I slept overnight in a friend's living room a few floors above ground-level. All my life I have slept on ground-level floors, even when I lived in a two-storey house, and my imaginary dream house is a sprawling bungalow - one floor, its space stretching sideways on the surface of the earth, not upwards into the air. I routinely fall asleep by settling my body, then rolling out of my body into the earth below me. In that room I slept badly: rolling out of bed, I had to roll through a succession of rooms and what felt like a huge distance before I found the earth below me. It was really unfamiliar to be so ungrounded.
I also have problems with things like skis, roller-blades, skateboards and even boats, anything that moves around under your feet. After all, I like my feet to be well-anchored at all times, one of the signs of more-or-less permanent groundedness. In many of the public rituals I have attended as a participant, after energy has been raised, the leaders of the ritual tend to get people to be grounded. I always do whatever physical acts they ask for to that end, but feeling fraudulent - I've only ever once needed to ground during ritual in decades, the rest of the time I was already grounded.
It is less easy for people who are not pre-programmed to be grounded. I have a number of dear friends who are water-signs - I like to think of my friendships with most of them in the terms of them being the waves that lap around my rocky shores and erode me into sand. I have Fire-friends: I like to think of them as the heat that melts my rock to lava. I have Air-friends, too - they are the wind that rustles my leaves, moves my sand-dunes and rises my dust.
Many of them, and even Earth-people, have trouble grounding. They don't seem to be able to sense the minerals in every cell of their bodies. I understand that on an intellectual level, but will never understand it on a visceral level - it is foreign to me, as foreign as trying to think in Japanese.
There seems to be a problem, too, with people who know only a little about the Chakras: such people mistake the name of the Base Chakra, which is about labelling its location in the body, with its function, regarding it as somehow "base", dirty, unworthy. Many people who talk freely and often about "opening their heart-chakra" or third eye or crown chakras, seem to want to avoid the lower chakras. In many years' practice, I find that all chakras are important, are healthy, are spiritual. Focussing towards some and away from others leads to physical, mental and spiritual imbalance, which can only be unhealthy. In practice, I find that people who do this, need more help learning to ground than the rest of us, and find it harder to ground when they know how.
Get to know the soil - it is real and spiritual. Get to know the substance of your body: it is real and spiritual. Get to know the element of Earth - it is real and spiritual. And ground - feel your feet, your lower torso, and how they connect to the real world. Without this, you are only half the person you could be.