There’s a concept that I learned early on in my exploration of paganism and alternative spirituality, that I just don’t see being talked about nowadays.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m old, but if the shoe fits maybe I am one of the old grumpy folks now… After all, I’m about to write all about a practice that those darn young’uns have (seemingly) stopped doing, and they should be doing it, gosh darn it! What practice? Grounding, centering, and finding stability in the self prior to doing any energetic work.
In modern parlance, centering has come to mean something entirely different.
In millenial and gen z terms, ‘centering’ refers to the practice of putting something at the center of an issue, often ‘centering’ a specific viewpoint and lived life experience. So a group that centers the issues important to black and indigenous people in North America, a group that centers GLBT+ issues, or the damning accusation of centering whiteness as default... And all of that’s a good thing, and important to talk about and be aware of, and totally not what I mean when I say to go ground and center yourself.
Energetic centering and grounding is not the same as political and social awareness.
(er, kinda, some exclusions apply)
Energetic grounding is the practice of first feeling ones energetic body, and then ‘centering’ it within the flesh body, and connecting to the ground, or an energy source. Imagine, if you will, that there is a point in your body roughly behind your navel, towards your spine, that is the center of you. That’s the point where your energetic body and physical body primarily connect. For some people, it’s very very close to the third chakra (in the Hindu or Vedic system) or second (for Buddhist Tantra or Vajrayana), also called Manipura. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, spine straight, hips canted back slightly so that the spine is gently curved in a natural posture, head up, shoulders relaxed yet back, arms relaxed, and then visualize your energetic body lining up with your flesh.
Center, then ground.
After you feel as though you have centered yourself, reach beyond your self into the world. You are not a closed system! The earth below you has energy that interacts with you, the same goes for the wind and trees and the furniture around you and every living and not-living thing. If Einstein was right, matter is just slow energy, and all energy vibrates, and you can feel that vibration. To ground is to connect with a clean energy source outside of yourself. The earth is a good big reservoir of energy that can accept your contribution and provide revitalized energy to you: connect to the earth by visualizing yourself with roots, tendrils into the ground, sinking into the earth, or beaming energy downwards. Allow your energy to sink into the earth, while you draw up energy at the same time. Cycle energy through yourself and the earth, feeling your connection to the earth and the world around you. This is grounding.
Energetic centering and grounding is incredibly useful to do!
Centering helps you drop from a high energy state into a more embodied state. When you feel anxious, out of touch, stressed, upset, or otherwise elevated in energy, take a moment to center yourself. Deliberately getting in touch with your body, embodying your energy back into your body, and checking in with your posture, breathing, and physical well being is good for you to do at least daily. You can set a reminder on your smartphone or calendar, or use whatever smart assistant you might have. Cuing yourself to drop into physical awareness after doing any highly mental or spiritual exercise is a good idea. If you’ve been doing heavy brain work, center and ground, and then go get a bite to eat and something to drink. If you’ve been doing strenuous physical work, center and ground, and take a moment to meditate and release the load of the work you’ve been doing.
Both before and after any energetic work, you should center and ground.
Let these simple practices become habitual, and you’ll be far more stable and unshakable in stressful and high energy situations. While other people may be swept up by emotion, you can remain calm, centered and grounded, and deal with emergencies, stress, and upset without letting those energies touch yourself. Dropping into and out of this state of mind is a good way to practice for dropping in and out of trance states, altered states of consciousness, and can make said switching easier. Code switching between writing an essay, doing paperwork, reading tarot, caring for a dog… if you keep an awareness of your energy and body and routinely center yourself you’ll be better off.