Be rooted and you can become almost unshakeable. This is a common principle in martial arts, especially taiji (tai chi), where we can become so firmly grounded through the legs and feet that another person finds it impossible to push or pull us over. It gives an illusion of enormous strength but there is little muscular force in it, in fact quite the opposite. To be rooted, we have to learn to become centred and to relax. Although this technique, if we call it that, we express through the body, it is a mental approach that we can apply throughout life.
Be rooted: find your centre
When we are anxious – and we are living in an age where there is much anxiety – whatever we think or do plays out on a background of instability. Our energy is unsettled and our minds are too active, too yang. As a result, events in life and even what people say can pull us this way and that. Our stress responses go up and quality of life goes down. We have forgotten how to be rooted.
The first step in coming back is to find our own centre. Instead of letting our energy go up through the chest and into our head, creating chaos on the way, we bring it to the centre of the body and down into the belly. Just focus. Let the energy build. Focus at the navel or slightly below and slow the breath down. The energy will come home to its centre. It’s a good feeling and is entirely natural.
Relax: keep your head up but let your feet sink
Letting the energy come home to the centre is the first stage. To be rooted well, we also need to let go of everything and relax. Relax your legs and feet, too. Your feet are designed to be in contact with the ground, so let them enjoy that. Let them sink. Really feel the earth through your feet. Thich Nhat Hanh used to say, “kiss the Earth with your feet”. Or we may like to feel as though we are breathing through the soles, drawing in nourishment from the ground beneath us. Once we have learnt to be rooted like this, there is no cause for anxiety. Centred and relaxed, we belong to the Earth and wherever we are, we are at home. Life is so much better like that. And it’s easy.
There is more like this in The Great Little Book of Happiness and my other books, available here.