It lies deep in us to identify with the form side of life – our body, emotions and thoughts – and in terms of our mental capacity, we think that what knowledge we have collected, is what we are and who we are. We are so closely connected to our ideals and beliefs that it is near impossible not to identify with them. “What I think is who I am!”
Normally when we talk about being ungrounded we may think of being “spaced out” and distant to our surroundings and the world, and somehow not seeing the reality as it is, or as most others may see it. It may also be because we are too much in the head or emotions, identifying with our thoughts and/or our emotions in a way that colours our perception but without the ability to properly manifest our thoughts and emotions onto the physical level.
When people with spiritual interests are ungrounded it is often because of unrealistic, idealistic and lofty ideas and because of a worldview, which is entirely theoretical and based upon more or less unreliable sources of information. This information that we may get from various books or teachers, we may rely on without discriminating whether the information is valid and true or if it is fantasy and wishful thinking. Especially in the earlier stages of the spiritual path we may have beliefs or philosophies, which are not very beneficial to our growth or to our sanity, and we may be captured by such beliefs until they become unsatisfying for us. In the early stages of awakening we do not realize that our beliefs are not equal to spiritual development, and we think that to know some theory is enough to make us “advanced”, where in fact it is only half of the story. It is so easy to hang on to beliefs that make us “advanced” without making an effort. The other side of the story is of course that our beliefs must be practiced and manifested in the physical level.
The point here is that when our beliefs are unrealistic, they are impossible to manifest in the physical level and so our “spirituality” lives its own life in our heads, but in our daily life we see little or no difference in our behaviour or our level of development. If we, on the other hand, have a healthy growth psychologically and spiritually, we are much better at implementing what we learn into our daily life, something that can be noticed by others, for example in our behaviour. When we implement what we learn, we can say that we ground it or embody it, so that it gets manifested into the very physical level of existence. An example could be to see clearly into an emotional unwholesome behaviour that activates anger or defence mechanisms in ourselves, and healing it with our attention and a loving attitude towards that part of us.
We need to understand the difference between beliefs and knowledge. Beliefs are something we hope for, something we wish for, something that may be true or not – we don’t know, but we believe. Knowledge is to know something, perhaps through learning or reading, but True Knowledge is based on our own experience, which makes it true for us in a deeper sense, and when that deeper knowing is implemented in our activities, we can call it wisdom.
From transcendental levels to the physical level
In holistic development, we can say that Spirit not only moves upwards higher and higher towards higher transcendence, but also lower and lower into deeper incarnation. When spiritual development is only moving upwards, we lose interest in the physical level and we only care for transcendental experiences, perhaps to escape the physical – as it is seen in many spiritual and religious traditions, but when Spirit is moving downwards, it incarnates deeper into the physical, into our daily life, and this is essentially what Spirit wants – to be conscious into the very physical, awakening every being and every cell on the planet.
While the Traditional Path is basically trying to discipline the ego and transcend life in order to escape the attachments and the suffering of the physical level, an integral path, which we could also call a Tantric Path, does not see the habits of the ego as demonic or something to kill or eliminate, but rather something to transform and enlighten through right actions and right point of view. With the right point of view (the right understanding), we have the best chance to awaken and to develop further on the path.
What hinders Spirit (our awakened Self) to transcend higher and higher as well as incarnate lower and lower, is basically our ego. As long as the ego sees the world in a limited way, the Spirit within us is not able to grow any further. Only when we develop a worldview that is closer to the Truth Spirit can grow in us. It is important to understand that ego is not a bad thing or something to eliminate – ego is Spirit expressed on the physical level and this means that to be physical is to have an ego. An integral or holistic realization of the Self is both Spirit incarnating into the physical level, and ego awakening to the higher realms – to a higher truth. If we maintain a balance in our awakening without getting caught up in glamour (or beliefs that are not supported with knowledge), we truly can give deeper birth to Spirit in the physical, and this is what the tantric development is all about.
Effort is the key
If we want to be grounded and ground deeper levels of our soul (however deep the soul may be), we need to make a serious and committed effort. Without effort there is no chance that we may liberate ourselves from the elementals we have built up through our life. As long as the laziness and comfort by being where we are, is holding us back from realizing and thereby grounding a deeper level of our true nature, we will not progress any further. From the personality point of view, spiritual development is all about letting go – letting go of desire, control, anger, worry, pleasures and etc. From the soul point of view spiritual development is to become who we are and to not live in the shadows of ignorance and self-inflicted delusion, but to gain freedom from attachment, liberation from limited worldviews and joy and happiness, which comes as a result of gradual liberation through a committed practice of looking into ourselves.
If we wish something or wish to be somebody, that very wish is what holds us back from liberating ourselves, but if we act according to our dharma, life will go more smoothly and there will be no resistance. The point is that we will be grounded if we follow our dharma, but if we live with false or glamorous ideas we are not following the flow, but instead getting stuck in our development without seeing the solution. With will we can fight for our beliefs, but if the beliefs are wrong we will fight endlessly until the death without learning anything. Grounding our higher potentials we can best do by being quiet and listening to the flow of dharma, and by being present, here and now, in this moment, surrendering, opening, without letting the mind and the thoughts take control.
What better way to describe this than the way of Ramana Maharshi: Be as you are.
May you be free of false beliefs
May the Truth guide you to your liberation
May your efforts be fruitful
May the Spirit ground in you