feet among the grass
early in the dawn
before the dew has burned
and there is still time
to leave the world without a trace
I’m sure that you have heard of people talking about earthing. What exactly is earthing? Why is it important? It is incredibly important to understanding our physical, mental and spiritual health. To begin with, human beings are electrical beings. Our heart rate, breathing and nervous system all operate on certain frequencies. On our most basic atomic level, we are space and atoms, whirring fast enough and combining in ways to appear solid. If you have ever plugged in something that was electrical but not grounded, you will understand immediately why this is an important fact. The earth itself is like a giant battery keeping things like plants, animals, and most other matter grounded in a very subtle way. When we are grounded as human beings, we feel better, stronger, more connected, and less stressed.
Earthing is a simple process of actually making a physical connection to the earth. This can be in the form of gardening, swimming in natural water formations, rock-climbing, even, simply walking barefoot on dirt, grass or forest floors.
Our modern lives have taken us further and further from our natural state not just by paving over everything, but also in the processed chemicals in our food, the stray electricity flying around us, disconnecting us by wearing shoes, living and working in high rise buildings; the list could go on for pages. Being bioelectrical creatures, this disconnection creates an increase in illnesses, especially auto-immune diseases. We go to the doctor searching for answers, so many dis-eases with no apparent cause and they prescribe medications that makes us feel worse, in terms of side effects like fatigue, weight gain, disruption of our natural rhythms. The good news is that many of these issues can be solved through increasing our connection to the earth. That is why when you begin to try alternative options such as yoga and meditation, it helps ground your mind.
According to Deepak Chopra, studies have found that connection to the earth leads to decreased levels of inflammation and pain, reduced stress levels, and improved circulation.
So, making a physical connection to the earth is important but, it’s important to note, that there are ways of mentally and spiritually connecting that are equally as important. I’ve already mentioned yoga and meditation as a way to stay “centered”. What does that mean, in terms of mental well-being? Being centered is a way of staying in the present moment. As a behavioral health worker, I reminded my clients often that depression was living in the past and that anxiety is living in the future. Carpe Diem isn’t just a phrase, it is a way of being well mentally. When we focus on what we are doing right now and only right now, not only are we being fully present in our own lives, but it allows us to see that both the past and future only exist in our minds.
Spiritually speaking, as a pagan, centering and grounding is essential for maintaining the mindset necessary to do magick, use our psychic abilities or work with energy metaphysically in any way. I realize that nowadays many aspects in our society denigrate these abilities as “crazy”. Most pagans are sensitive to these energies and work daily to stay centered and grounded as a way of controlling the energy around us.
Centering is the act of gathering oneself together, keeping oriented in the present moment and connecting with our essential self. Grounding is the act of rooting ourselves in the earth’s energy for the purpose of raising energy, working with it in a safe manner and releasing it back into the earth. I can tell when I’m not grounded and centered because I get grumpy, irritable, fatigued, have weird dreams, have difficulty dealing with other people’s emotions, and, for most empaths, can cause illness when neglected long enough.
So… what can you do? There are many exercises to help with both centering and grounding. When done properly they help you immensely to stay both cleansed and shielded. One of the most basic ways to stay centered is mindful breathing. This is simply sitting, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. As I inhale, I focus on the feeling of the air coming in through my nostrils and then focus on the feeling of breathing out of my mouth. I breathe deep from my diaphragm and feel the breath filling and oxygenating my blood as it is taken in and out. You would be really surprised at how practicing this for just a few minutes can bring you back to center.
When I am able to get out into nature and touch the earth, I use the Tree of Life meditation to center, ground and shield myself. This meditation is most effective outside but can be done literally anywhere, even a high-rise office.
Tree of Life Meditation
Find a sunny place to sit quietly and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling slowly, holding the breath for a few seconds between the inhale and exhale. When you feel centered, place your hands on the ground on either side of you. Feel the warmth of the ground, feel the connection between your body and the earth. If you are in a building, imagine roots coming from your body connecting you to the earth. These roots are alive. They are growing, reaching deeper into the earth. Continue breathing as you connect deeper and deeper to the earth. When you feel grounded firmly, lift your arms into the air. Feel the energy of the earth coming from those deep roots, as you continue to breathe deeply. As you breathe, draw that energy up through your body, feel the tingle as it works its way up your spine, imagining that your torso is the trunk of the tree. Feel the energy as it fills your lungs, increasing with every breath. Lift that energy up through your arms, as you do, imagine your arms becoming the limbs and branches and leaves of the tree. Keep breathing, as you imagine that energy running along every strand and feeling the warmth of the sun. Keep breathing and relish in the warmth of being the connection between the earth and the sun. When you are ready, imagine the energy drawing back down your fingers, arms and body and returning to the earth. As you do, place your hands back on the ground and release the energy slowly back to the earth. Don’t forget to thank Gaia for being present and bringing you into balance.