In the first post in this series, The Special Ingredient In Your Engagement With The World, I talked about how it is through our grounding that we experience connection and engagement with the world outside ourselves. Furthermore, our level of grounding in what we are engaging with impacts our clarity and peace of mind.
In this second part of the series, I want to explore how our grounding develops from birth into adulthood, and why this is so useful to understand!
Grounding, Perception, and Reality
Let’s start with an explanation about how our experience of grounding works:
As we only ever experience the world through our thoughts, then it is as if there is a glass window between what we experience from ‘in here’ and what is ‘out there’. Sometimes the glass is clear and we can see that ‘out there’ reality in loving detail. Other times, the glass is misted up, and we cannot get a good picture of ‘out there’. We might even have some bizarre stained glass effects in places. What we see is distorted, cloudy, and the more we press our noses up to the window pane, the harder we try to get a glimpse of the world, the more we mist the glass up.
When you are deeply grounded, the perceptions that are coming from within you, through which you understand the abstract and physical worlds, are in harmony with what is out there, with what IS. If we want more grounding in a particular area, then we can study and experiment, but the big leaps come from getting an insight which transforms the nature of whatever your focus is on, bringing it into greater alignment with its true, objective existence.
Grounding, Connection, and Engagement
As newborns, it takes us several months before the idea of being a separate entity from everything else even occurs to us. This means that in developing this kind of grounding, our sense of connection with everything else in the world, we are not learning, but remembering something we once experienced all the time, and later forgot.
Because we are born into a state of complete and total connection with all that is around us, this is a point of grounding which is inside us, waiting for us to rediscover it. This connection to everything out there that is not you, is what affords you deep engagement with the world outside of yourself.
Now, hold on, you might say, that’s lovely, but babies can’t walk, talk, work, even lift their heads up. They might be at one with the world in a profound way, but they can do precious little in it. What use is grounding if it is not coupled with getting out there in the world and doing stuff beyond cooing and farting?
Our grounding grows with us, and is the only way of getting out there in the world and doing new stuff.
As we get older, we expand our ranges of experience, encountering everything from our bodies to mountains, to song, to lasers, to marshmallows, to Ethics, to football, and so on. As we have developmental leaps in our physical and mental abilities, our grounding brings us to new ways of connecting with ‘out there’ and manipulating it for our benefit or enjoyment. So, we might well learn new skills like playing, or drawing, or driving, or building, or cooking, and as we develop our experience and knowledge of how our universe and its contents operate, then our grounding runs broader and deeper, acting as a solid foundation for further engagement.
Different Degrees of Grounding
As we learn to operate in the world in more sophisticated ways, there will be areas of natural grounding, and others of acquired grounding.
We all have unique natural abilities and talents which spring from a deeper grounding in a specific area, while other things we access through education. Some people get calculus, others are brilliant growers of plants, some people can make funny faces, and others save lives. Training and teaching can do a lot to help us learn, but grounding also brings in the insightful and effortless application of our raw spirit, and that itself can’t be taught.
For instance, I was not a natural driver. I took my test four times, yes FOUR (stop sniggering). I understood the basic movements and theory used in the practice of driving with relative ease, but found that there was not an instinctive sense of how to apply my knowledge. It was all intellect and no inner oomph. I got confused, and second guessed myself when trying to respond to this clunky machine and the road it was progressing down. It took me years to gain an intuitive understanding of how to extend myself into the vehicle, and judge more or less where I wanted to put it and how I would get it there without really thinking. It took me a long time to truly enjoy driving. The scratches on the side of my car are a testament to my almost successful learning attempts!
On the other hand, with cooking, I get it. I may not ever have learned really high level cuisine stuff, but I have pretty good instincts for food (albeit with a few disastrous meals in the mix). I can hear when my onions are sizzling at the right temperature, and feel for what ingredients go together, and what techniques to use when bringing them together. I am curious about food, and do engage in the book learning side of gastronomy too, reading cookbooks and blogs. This is pure inspiration, and helps me execute new ideas. I rarely follow an exact recipe though, because I like the sense of ease that comes from having an idea and going with it. Also, I like to use up everything in the fridge. Usually, it works out OK and I have a good time doing it. My ideas about what I am creating are realistic enough and in step with what is actually real, so that the results created are a reflection of that grounding.
It is worth noting that, as human beings, we are built with certain, natural areas of grounding. Our instincts help us out a great deal in maximising our physical, mental, emotional, and interpersonal development, and thus our advantage in our environment. For instance, our ability to form attachments to our major caregiver is a survival mechanism, for which we are fitted various natural talents like smiling and snuggling. Though we grow our grounding to different extents and at different rates in these basic areas of human development, we all receive gifts from the same range for our general use and enjoyment. These natural gifts are then shaped and tailored to the situations we find ourselves in as we grow and the reality we find ourselves interacting with. So, nature and nurture both influence the grounding we develop as we grow.
Doubtless you have experienced degrees of grounding too, expressed in different areas of your life. You may be able to identify a lack of grounding felt in the times that something feels cumbersome or confusing, and where you struggle to produce the results you are after. A pretty good grounding is often enough to get by on in some areas. After all, no one is expert in everything, so it is important to emphasise that there is nothing wrong with shallow grounding per se. I have little grounding in astrophysics, and that does not present a problem. I am developing my grounding in the workings of steam engines, because my son has a train obsession, but in general I have managed to get by just fine with only a very shallow foundation in this area.
A Few Final Notes
We are designed to develop our grounding as we grow, so that we always have areas where we have a deeper or shallower grasp of reality. Grounding is not static, but can shift from shallow to deep if we have a fresh idea to go on, new knowledge to apply. There is always more scope for grounding, but to reach the deepest point of understanding, it must develop in its own way. It cannot be forced, only encouraged by our attentive and conscious learning. Our grounding forms the foundation for our interaction with our environment, and the people and events which shape our lives.
To read about how grounding and consciousness interact, go back to Part One!
Knowing about grounding is so useful when it comes to learning anything new. For instance, when you have your first child, and are wondering how you will ever learn to fathom this alien little being, the answer is ‘your grounding will develop’. When you are about to have your second child, you have about a billion more thoughts about birth this time around, and you are trying to figure out how to play it, the answer is ‘look to your grounding’. When you are struggling to keep track of several small siblings in a crowded playground, and you don’t know which way to turn, the answer is ‘get back to your grounding’. When you get in touch deeply with the difference between what is real and what is preying on your mind, the latter will drop away.
This is what happens in the face of your unshakeable grounding!
If you want to settle down and feel your grounding, I suggest you find a quiet place.
What can you let your grounding help you with? What is your experience of grounding?
Did you find this post helpful? If so, feel free to share it around.
Come and try out one of my services to deepen your grounding in pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or mothering.
Beyond anything else, I would love to hear what you think about grounding. So, do come and share your thoughts in the Mamajestic Facebook Group or leave me a comment below.
Lots of love,