he concept of grounding is one of the most profound that mindfulness has to offer. Grounding is about dropping out of our usual compulsive thinking loops and experiencing the felt reality of our body. It also asks us to remember the earth and our fundamental connection to it. When we do this we sense that we are supported; that gravity gives us weight and a sense of ‘here-ness’, we can feel stable like a mountain. Compared to our usual speedy mode of thinking and doing, it feels like being turned the right way up again, like when you come home after a stressful day and drink a relaxing cup of tea, look out of the window at the weather and the trees and think ‘That’s better!’.
IIn order to experience grounding we need to drop down. Dropping down feels like releasing tightness from our muscles and our attitude, like breathing out a sigh of relief and letting it spread through our whole mind/body system. It’s as if we say to ourselves ‘Let go of all that effort around having to get somewhere, be something and hold yourself together and just be a human being supported by the earth’.
or most of us our body is a vehicle that gets us around. We assume we have
control over it and want it to perform in order to support our day to day agendas. If it complains or doesn’t function efficiently we can be angry, ashamed, frustrated and destructive towards our body.
In these practices we’re fundamentally shifting our orientation towards our body.
What if we don’t have dominion over our body and instead belong to its sentient ‘is-ness’, just like the body may be seen as belonging to the earth? What if we can inhabit our body with reverence for its intelligence and soulfulness? What if we were to discover that we are not just our thoughts – we are the visceral, organic, intelligent mystery of the more-than- physical body. As author Guy Claxton says ‘’We do not have bodies, we are bodies’’. The new discipline of neurobiology confirms the understanding that our biology is our consciousness. Our body works as a system to create the possibility of perception, cognition, intelligence and action. Really admitting this truth requires us to rethink and re-feel ourselves radically. It may ask us to begin to surrender our sense of top down dominion over our body. If we can, the rewards will be of untold value, as we are relieved of some measure of the stranglehold that egocentricity has upon our soma.
the body is the gateway to true
meditation, to healing and to transformation
In recent years my practice has been transformed by the teachings of Dr. Reginald Ray from Colorado America. He emphasises that the body is the gateway to true meditation, to healing and to transformation. However he’s not referring merely to the physical or mechanical body that we often think of as different to our mind – the body we see as a vehicle that we use to get about in the world, like a car. The body he’s referring to is something much more beyond what we can think about. But it’s not beyond what we can experience.
The following practices are mindfulness-based but have been deeply influenced by Reggie Ray’s somatic meditation which takes body and earth awareness to another level.
Natural Breath – is a sitting practice which guides us to come into a tender, grounded relationship with our living, breathing body. The emphasis is on being soothed and feeling safe and connected to ourselves.
Earth Relaxation – is done lying down and is about softly surrendering to being held by the earth, allowing ourselves to melt and dissolve our tension downwards while being cradled by the earth’s presence and giving ourselves up to gravity.
more audios coming soon