Grounding is a concept that took me years to grasp. As I approach it from various angles, spiritual and psychological, I have progressively achieved greater degree of grounding. Here, I will share my experience from a psychological perspective.
The kind of grounding I am referring to is a moment to moment connection to the essence of life, the joys, the trust, the acceptance, the nourishments and love, rather than a temporary grounding that people do when they have time, or when they are doing yoga. It is an engagement much like breathing.
While practicing grounding, I sink my awareness into my pelvis, and listen. Many unconscious barriers to grounding begin to meet my conscious awareness, appearing at first usually as a sign of restlessness or insecurity that prevents me from fully relaxing and achieving a state of deep interior stability.
Some of my barriers or psychological activities are activated by social interactions. Below are five situations and experiences.
- In the context of a relationship, I am unable to fully anchor my presence in my body, instead, defaulting myself to an inferior or submissive position, without being consciously aware of it, but only finding myself highly emotional when dealing with certain individuals who perch themselves up on a pedestal. The agitation thus makes me unable to ground.
- Sometimes, I find myself in a psychological position of invalidation, that no matter what I say or do, I am not seen nor heard nor appreciated. Such experiences pull me out of my body and instead, make me put undue attention in the individuals who make me feel this way.
- Some interactions trigger me to question my self worth, and my mind automatically produces thoughts such as how much I should give and receive, or how much I am obligated to give and entitled to receive. Such thought patterns over-consume my attention and will easily gain a life of its own, thus detracting me from sinking my essence into my seat of power.
- In some situations, social interactions trigger me to hesitate on whether I should advance or retreat, whether I should assert myself or resign myself to what is. This wavering unsettles me, thus prevents me from grounding.
- At times, social interactions trigger my neurological response of overly registering the opinions and judgments of others, giving undue attention to criticisms and disapprovals, thus impeding me from resting in my seat of power.
Aside from social interactions, there are certain psychological experiences, in a relationship or in a professional setting, where I observe a sense of stuckness that keeps me from sitting down or standing up, unable to move forward, metaphorically speaking. The emotional wounds are trapped somewhere in me, hindering the flow of my life. To cope with such hindrance, I have developed coping mechanisms such as avoidance to prevent myself from re-entering these situations. But these mechanisms reroute my energy flow, making me unable to sink my essence into my body, and when I try to ground my body, without consciously addressing the underlying wounds, my essence will automatically be rerouted to somewhere else, anywhere except where it should be.
Aside from the act of interacting, the role I assume, be it a friend or a caregiver, also affects my grounding. While in the process of fulfilling the responsibilities of a certain role, I may lose myself, by being overly demanded by others, or giving too much attention to any pressure, such that I expend an excessive amount of energy to earn external validation or appreciation, and not giving enough energy to care for myself, to meet my own needs. It is a psychological tug of war.
My external environment in general has many signs that pull my attention away from myself. For example, any signs of imperfection or incompletion around me, like someone’s dirty dishes or laundry, would trigger me to get up to do something, and if I don’t, I will be restless. These are like psychological hooks that pull me toward them, to give my attention to them first before I give attention to myself. I cannot just let them be. I cannot be at peace if there’s any unfinished business laying around. In fact, I constantly scan for unfinished business, as I can only relax after knowing they are taken care of. It is a compulsive need or perhaps an urgency in me to invest my attention elsewhere instead of in myself.
As I address all these barriers, my body automatically grounds without any meditation or yoga exercises, much like how the body automatically breathes without me trying. Before, when I had all the barriers, I sensed my essence floating, unwilling and unable to ground. Now, without the barriers, my essence naturally sinks into my body.
With grounding comes a sense of ease and peace, a sense of trust and confidence, and a sense of security and stability, allowing me to move through life easily regardless of what crisis or pandemic surrounds me. This moment to moment grounding is a state of being, while the process of unravelling and addressing the barriers is a state of becoming.
Grounding is a connection to self, to one’s feelings, sensations, thoughts, and emotions. It is a road to self-discovery, to see and know oneself. When fully grounded, we can see our future. Placing our awareness securely and comfortably in the depth of our body, and from that vantage point, we look outward and see the world in all directions. From every angle, we see and feel the limitless potentials of life.