In this modern world of constant bombardment from technology it can be hard to disconnect from everything and just breathe, I mean really, breathe. With demanding work schedules, chores, errands and everything else we must do to maintain our busy lives, few of us ever truly get to feel the wind on our face or notice the technicolour butterfly lazily floating about the garden. The sad thing about this is the fact that while we have technology that allows us to be more connected than ever, we have disconnected ourselves from Gaia, Source, or anything else you want to call the power that flows throughout everything in the universe.
Disconnecting from the Earth may seem like a minor thing, but it is more serious than you may think. As Bethany pointed out in her post “Are You Grounded” she mentioned just a few of the things that can happen after being disconnected from the Earth, like constantly being tired or moody. Since most of us don’t necessarily have time to go the mountains every weekend to meditate and commune with our planet, it is important to find time to connect with the Earth during our day-to-day activities.
One of my personal favorite meditations/grounding techniques is called the “Tree Meditation”. Trees are the ultimate symbol of grounding – other than maybe a mountain – and are used in almost every culture as a symbol of connection with Mother Earth. All you have to do is look to the Norse myths and you will see Yggdrasil, the World Tree that connects the Nine Realms together. The Celts also had a special connection to trees, the Celtic Tree of Life is represented with the branches and roots intertwined in a complex knot pattern to show the connection of all things within nature. The Celts also used Ogham – pronounced OO-um – the Language of the Trees as a form of magical writing. But let’s get back on track, shall we?
The Tree Meditation can be done anywhere at anytime, and with practice you will be able to achieve the results of a prolonged Tree Meditation in a matter of moments.
To begin a Tree Meditation, find a position that you are comfortable in, you can sit in lotus position, in a chair, you can stand, or even lay down if that is your preferred method (though I would recommend one of the seated positions for this exercise) – I personally like to sit in a chair so that my spine is against the back of the chair and my feet are firmly planted on the ground.
If you are sitting in a chair or lotus position, put your hands on your thighs or knees. If you are lying down, place your hands palms down onto the ground; if you’re standing just let them stay at your sides.
Close your eyes and take in a slow, deep breath through your nose, feel your ribcage expand to its full capacity before letting out a slow breath from your mouth. As you breathe, feel your body, feel your feet on the floor, where your legs are touching the chair or the ground. Imagine small roots growing from the bottoms of your feet – or your entire body if you have opted to lay down – picture them sinking deeper and deeper into the ground, feel what roots feel. Feel the damp ground around the roots, feel the water source they are searching for.
As you imagine the roots growing deeper into the ground, continue to breathe and be aware of your body, but also breathe into your entire body. On the first few breaths you are just trying to clear your mind and start your visualisation of the roots. Once you have begun this visualisation and have cleared your mind, breathe into your feet, on the exhale feel any pain or tiredness leave your feet and go into the ground, absorbed and washed away by the Earth. Then breathe into your legs up to the knee, on the exhale, do the same thing as above. Continue to breathe up into your thighs, and exhale; then your stomach and waist area, and exhale; then up to your shoulders and down into your arms and hands, and exhale; then all the way to the crown of your head, and exhale.
The more often you do this meditation the easier it will be to get grounded more quickly. If you get great at this meditation you can even come up with a trigger word or action that gets you grounded almost instantaneously! One of my personal mantras to get grounded quickly when in a stressful situation is “Water off a duck’s back”; I repeat this mantra a few times until I feel centered and rooted. You’re mantra can be anything you like, you can even say “tree” over and over until you feel like you are a tree. You can say nothing at all and just make a movement; like a pushing motion down to the ground with your hands.
While a motion or mantra is not necessary, I do recommend it for situations when you need to ground quickly without drawing much attention to yourself – like a family gathering with that one family member who really does not pick up on subtle hints that people are trying to change the subject – this way you don’t have to excuse yourself to the backyard for 20 minutes; you can just excuse yourself to the bathroom for a minute or two.
The most important part of this exercise is practice. Like with everything, practice makes you better at it. This might take you a few tries to really get clear in your head and able to visualise. And for those of who have a difficult time visualising, find a guided meditation that walks you through the visualisation parts. There is also nothing wrong with feeling the energy. If you cannot visualise the roots growing, feel it. Feel the roots growing from the bottom of your feet, feel how the air fills up your lungs while you are breathing in, feel how the air leaves your body on your exhale, feel the weight of your body in the chair, feel the fabric that your palms are touching while resting on your thighs.
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Blessed Be by Wind and Tree ~ A