The liberating current, ever moving toward higher consciousness, is the pathway most commonly associated with the Chakra System. Until recently there has been less said about sending our energy downward, into the Earth, along the current of Manifestation. This is often seen as less spiritual and, therefore, less worthy of our time and attention. Too many spiritual paths ignore the importance of grounding, at their own peril.
Imagine if you went out into your garden and examined the little plants reaching for the sun. Would you help those plants grow to the sky faster by pulling them up from their roots? No, this would best occur by encouraging the plant to have deep roots, well watered, with nourishing soil.
So, too, our spiritual growth is nourished by a healthy ground.
Grounding is a process of dynamic contact with the Earth, with its edge, boundaries, and limitations. It allows us to become solidly real—present in the here and now—and dynamically alive with the vitality that comes from the ground of all being. While mechanically our feet may touch the ground with every step, this contact is empty if we are cut off from the feelings in our legs and feet. Grounding involves opening the lower chakras, merging with gravity, and descending deeply into the vehicle of the body.
Without grounding, we are unstable; we lose our center, fly off the handle, get swept off our feet, or daydream in a fantasy world. We lost our ability to contain, to have, or to hold. Natural excitement, charge, or prana, becomes dissipated, diluted, and ineffectual. When we lose our ground, we threaten our health, and appear to be not all the way “here.”
The name of the first chakra, Muladhara, means root support. Our ground anchors the very roots for which this chakra is named. Through our roots, we gain nourishment, power, stability, and growth. Without this connection we are separated from nature, separated from our biological source. Cut off from our source, we lose our path. Many people who cannot find their true path in life have simply not yet found their ground – the place where the feet meet the path. They need to look down and see where they are walking, rather than up in the clouds.
Our roots extend downward from our guts—and relate to the instinctual feelings hard-wired into the nervous system through millions of years of evolution. These instincts were designed to keep us alive and healthy. They inform us when we need to rest, eat or stop eating, exercise, or run from danger.
In today’s urban world, there are few people who are naturally grounded. Our language and cultural values reflect the superiority of the high at the expense of the low. Yet we say we get Up-tight, Up-set, and messed-Up. Maybe it’s time we let down a little!
In an alienated and ungrounded culture where most values do not favor the body or its pleasures, we develop pain. Our bodies hurt after a day at the computer or a day of driving. The stress of competition and fast living do not give us a chance to rest and renew, or to process that hurt, to release it. As we develop pain, we become, ironically, more resistant to grounding, for it puts us initially, in touch with our pain. Eventually that pain becomes disease. No wonder we have a health care crisis, when we have been taught to ignore our bodies!
Yoga is a way to connect with the body in a profound manner. Yet some yogis are still ungrounded, instead, responding as we often do in a mechanical society, to mechanical commands from an instructor to move this way or place your body that way. If a student listens more to the mechanical instructions than to the inner prana of their own body and its limitations, they can get hurt, by stretching too far, or moving improperly for their level of skill.
To ground means that the first chakra at the base of the spine must connect to the Earth through the channels of the two legs. Grounding involves opening these channels so that they can carry the excess charge (stress) from the torso down to the earth, and can carry earth energy upward into the body. Pushing into the ground gets the whole process started. In this way the first chakra paradox is that “we must move downward in order to wake up.”
Coming down from the crown chakra, the manifesting current takes our ideas, which begin in consciousness, down into our vision, then through communication into relationship, fueling our will with passion and purpose and bringing the idea into the density and completion at the earth plane, where we experience our dreams as reality. We must open the downward current to effectively manifest.
We need to get back down to the Earth as a sacred ground of being in all our spiritual practices. Honoring the body and our first chakra ground is a good place to start.