Let us begin this essay with a short exercise.
Start by closing our eyes (just read through the next 5 paragraph, before closing them), and taking 5 deep breaths.
In breathing, take some time to breath in, pause, and then breath out. Allow up to 4 seconds on each step. 4 seconds in, 4 seconds pause, 4 seconds out. Imagine your breath, let your mind feel as air comes in to your body, and as it goes out.
While eyes closed, continue the breathing, and start to feel the other parts of your body. Your head, your shoulders, your chest, your tummy, your legs, and to your feet. From here, feel in your mind, how your body is connected to the physical world. Feel the ground beneath your feet, the door nearby, the walls, the tables and chairs around. Feel how the room is connected to the house or the building where it is. Let your mind feel, all the way to the bigger planet that we are located in.
Allow your body to move, as it wants to move. Feel your hands, let it rest, feel your shoulder, let it rotate. Feel your neck, and let it move, so it continues to naturally carry your head, and feel your legs, and let it move a little, so it can carry your weight.
Try to focus your mind on what is present. To what is happening, that your senses can feel. If any thought come about, take note of them, let them linger for a while, no rush, and slowly let them go. Come back to the present senses, and continue the journey, until you feel you are ready to come back to the now.
Please try this exercise, for a few minutes, and come back to read the remaining essay.
How do you feel now?
We spend most of our time thinking, even when we are not intentionally thinking about anything. In fact, even in our sleep, as dreams. Our minds wander, from what we just experienced, from our past, and what we imagine the future to be. We also imagine, what could be happening somewhere else, what could have happened. Our mind is in constant motion, even if we are just sitting still reading this essay.
There is nothing wrong with this behaviour. It is our nature, and it happens automatically. However, it is a lot of work. And whatever comes to our mind, influences our emotions, and we get affected. It is impossible not to be affected, though it is possible to control how we react. However, we often react automatically using our intuition and biases. And this leads to irrational, disconnected, and unnecessary behaviour.
This hard work of thinking, takes its toll on us. It would be nice if we can take a break. I have been wondering, if i can just stop thinking, and put my mind at rest. Let it relax and not think of anything. But even the idea of stopping the mind is already an effort.
I recently discovered the art of being grounded. Not sure if it is an official term, but i like to refer to it as being grounded. Similar to how electricity needs to be grounded, otherwise, it gives an electric shock, since all the built-up energy has to flow somewhere. So it needs grounding, so the energy flows back to the ground.
Being grounded, is a mental state, of being aware of the current physical space, and using the mind to do a birds-eye walk-through, from the body, to how it is connected to the physical space. To the seat or to the floor, to the ground, to the room, to the building, to the air, to the wider space outside, and eventually to the whole planet. A sort of a slow-motion, fly-by tour of the space we are in and how we are connected.
From this practice, i find my mind is busy, but not in a complex activity. Rather, in a relax, walking pace, kind of effort. There’s nothing to analyse nor solve, just observing what is already there. Since my mind is busy, and for as long as i maintain the focus, there is less room for other thoughts to come in. Since i can not stop my mind from thinking, i will just have it think on things that do not need thinking.
Sometimes, i wonder, if the way our mind works, is a curse of being human. I can not imagine, a dog being worried about an imagined future, or thinking about an experience in the past. Or a cat, reflecting, how the day went by and how it could have impacted its life goals. It must be a blessing, not to think like humans, and to live life as it is presented. No more, no less.
I realise, this also helps me in being grateful. Gratitude of being where i am, that i am breathing, alive, and satisfied that the physical world has supported me to physically exist. It do sound corny, but i do am grateful for this. This may be something we take for granted, but it is a wonder, how the physical world came about, and how it has supported our lives, with the basic necessities for us to exist, behave within our nature, and act according to our will.
I gradually noticed this feeling of being grounded, when i started to try meditation. And since then, i try to integrate it in my daily life, where, when i notice my mind is busy with thoughts and i want it to relax, i deliberately focus on my physical being and the space i am in, and allowed my mind to take a quick detour. Once i feel i have relaxed, i then allowed my mind back to the thinking i was previously on.
Sometimes, i use this practice to take a pause from my work, to let my mind develop new ideas, which can be difficult to achieve when my mind is fully engaged in complex thinking. I find this to be very useful, though sometimes frustrating, since i know i can’t be fast enough in producing original concepts.
In my mind, being grounded makes logical sense, in terms of the way it works and why it works. I think it is a useful practice to develop by each of us, and maintain it as one of the basic skills in life. Perhaps, in the same level of prominence as breathing and sleeping. Please try it, and let me know how it goes.