These are challenging times, with vast economic, environmental, and spiritual changes. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with stress, worry, or depression – to feel out of control, ungrounded. Staying grounded is our safest and most effective strategy for coping with today’s challenges and finding positive solutions.
Grounding is the kinesthetic sense of being fully present in our body and our environment, moment by moment. It’s the continual flow and integration of sensory, emotional and mental stimuli. Like a sturdy tree, we bend and sway in a storm, but we’re rooted in our core.
A lack of grounding comes from an imbalance in our energy and our body. We feel uneasy, confused, unsettled. Unless it’s corrected, insufficient grounding can make us accident-prone. It can also escalate and cause physical and mental problems. We’ll discuss some of these later.
So how do we stay grounded in the midst of chaos? For thousands of years, Chinese Chi Kung (Qigong) has provided practical techniques for strengthening our grounding. Here are nine immediate ways to improve grounding. These and additional ways are covered in our new book, EMOTIONAL WISDOM: Daily Tools for Transforming Anger, Depression, and Fear,
1. Feel and accept all your emotions; they’re valuable messages from your soul. The positive, joyful emotions tell us we’re doing great. The painful ones tell us we’re out of balance, some situation needs improving, and the painful emotion needs transforming. If it’s not transformed, and it persists, that emotion will embed itself in our body, causing malfunction and eventually, disease.
There are Six Healing Sounds that dramatically transform painful emotions. Here’s how to do one of them, which is called the Relaxation or Sleep Sound. Lie down. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose, inflating your abdomen, which also inflates your chest. Slowly exhale as you say the sound HEEEEE, deflating your chest, then your abdomen, and then, sending the sound down your whole body, into the earth. Rest and breathe naturally; your temperature will even out. Repeat the whole procedure until relaxed or, if you wish, until you fall asleep.
2. Eat three nutritious, organic meals daily, with green vegetables, some raw foods, some fermented foods. Eat foods with a variety of beautiful colors and delicious tastes. Give thanks for each meal, chew thoroughly, and mix each mouthful with saliva. Carefully shopping for and preparing your own food will improve both your grounding and your nutrition.
3. Emphasize earth element foods: beans and whole grains (pre-soaked overnight; soak water discarded), yellow and orange foods, foods grown in the ground.
4. Avoid addictive stimulants: coffee, chocolate, alcoholic drinks. Avoid cane sugar; substitute a little organic raw honey or 100% maple syrup.
5. Soak your feet in warm water. Massage them vigorously with oil or lotion, especially the toes and kidney point, which is located between the two balls of the foot.
6. If you meditate, do not leave energy in your head or heart. End every kind of meditation with this safe method of energy collection: Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. With both palms together, rub your abdomen in circles. Women, circle counter-clockwise (when looking down at abdomen) for 36 times; then clockwise for 24 times. Men, circle clockwise 36 times; then counter-clockwise 24 times. Repeat if you’re still feeling spacey.
7. Slow down – get in touch with your own natural rhythms in your spiritual practice and in daily life. Pushing yourself to receive a higher energy than your body is ready to assimilate can cause severe runaway energy. This is especially true of doing spiritual sexual practices without first clearing emotions and balancing the body.
8. Exercise moderately, daily. Walk in nature. As you walk, connect to the earth with every step: roll each foot from heel, to side, to balls, to toes.
9. Grow a garden or plants. Adopt a pet. Use your unique gifts to help kids, seniors or animals in need. Some meditation methods create an ungrounded energy imbalance by cultivating universal or heaven energy, and ignoring or negating body and earth energies. The fundamental safeguard of the Universal Healing Tao System is that our practices are always grounded in our bodies, and connected to the earth.
At every level, we exercise moderately, transform our painful emotions, circulate our chi (life force energy) to balance yin and yang, and store chi in our navel area, as in #6 above. Our Basic courses heal and fortify our body and emotions before advancing to sexual energy practices, and then, to higher energies. Even at the higher levels, we continue our daily grounding practices including transforming painful emotions.
Earlier, we mentioned that being continually ungrounded can lead to physical and mental difficulties. It can make us accident-prone. It can escalate into uncontrolled, runaway energy (sometimes called “kundalini syndrome”), that causes occasional headaches, dizziness, disorientation, or mild heat sensations in the spine or heart.
More severe runaway energy shows up as very hot or very cold energy rushing up the spine, heat or pressure in the head, fainting, localized pain, frequent insomnia, or frequent diarrhea or constipation. The most extreme forms of runaway energy cause an inability to function at all, or as mental illness.
Of course, if you have these severe or extreme symptoms, have them checked medically, to rule out physical or emotional disorders. Note that chi kung literature and the experiences of our students report that western medications do not heal severe runaway energy. We advise you to contact a Universal Healing Tao Certified Instructor, or other skilled spiritual teacher or counselor, who has successfully worked with healing runaway energy.
We hope our suggestions will help you to meet the challenges and unprecedented opportunities ahead by staying firmly grounded. Have a marvelous journey, nourished and balanced by Earth’s Yin and Heaven’s Yang!
About the Authors:
Mantak Chia’s Universal Healing Tao System is taught by more than 1,200 certified instructors spanning every continent. He teaches worldwide and lives in Thailand. Dena Saxer cowrote Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality with Chia. Visit Mantak Chia online at http://www.universalhealingtao.com and Dena Saxer at http://universaltaola.com.
Based on the book Emotional Wisdom ©2009 by Mantak Chia & Dena Saxer. Printed with permission from New World Library.
It will look like this: How to Stay Grounded in Challenging Times