How To Get Rooted So Your Crown Can Flourish
What does it mean to be “rooted” and why is it so important for reaching our fullest potentials? In the world of plants, this means the conditions for growth have manifested, signaling the time for a plant to break free of its cocoon to join the ecosystem. While different plants have different root systems, there is a consistent theme amongst them- in order to thrive, they must draw from the soil below in order to reach their leaves to the sky. When the roots are weak, the plant is weak. Strengthening the roots allows the crown to flourish, and human potential follows the same principles.
Both Yogic tradition and Western psychology give emphasis to the importance of your “roots”, or physical health, as necessary for higher achievements in life. Ganesha is invoked at the beginning of each ritual, He who is ruler of mūladhāra chakra (mula= root, dhāra-hold), the root chakra, and through whom it is said all obstacles are overcome. This chakra rules our basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, vigor, and vitality. Mazlov may have used different terminology but employed the same principles in his now ubiquitous “pyramid of needs”. The message is the same- We must take care of our bodies as a foundation to higher achievements!
This is why Āyurveda gives so much emphasis to caring for each person according to their unique physiology and environment. Physical pain and discomfort are MAJOR obstacles to achieving our highest potential, which is why we must give proper care to the health of our bodies in order to develop higher ways of thinking and being. While there are a select few whose minds are so developed that they can overcome physical discomforts, it is not the story for many of us, myself included.
It is also important to note the pathway of the mind is the entire body. When our minds are uneasy, angry, sluggish, or slow, there are correspondences within your physical being. Ever notice how a tense shoulder can make it hard to focus? How being tired slows down your thinking? How drinking can create hot-tempered alcoholics? That’s because your mind and body are not separate- they are inextricably intertwined, and we can’t heal “one” without healing the “other”. If your mind is sluggish, it becomes difficult to create the daily routines that bring physical health. If your body is hurting, it’s hard to think about anything! We have to start recognizing ourselves as a mind-body unit, not mind and body as separate entities.
How can we harness the energy of the seasons to help us on this journey? Fall and Winter are the times of year in which energy goes “down” naturally. Plants store their nutrients in their root systems to ensure survival, letting go of the upper foliage which is no longer serving a purpose. Similarly, this is a wonderful time to shed old habits! These times of year are a natural source of introspection and slowing down, dedicated to reuniting with family and old friends- we are nourishing our “roots” through these interactions. It’s no accident that major holidays like Thanksgiving ”fall” during this time- we use these interactions to ensure the survival of our community, namely our human-based ecosystems! Trees share resources in their root systems, with dying plants transmitting phosphorus and nitrogen to neighbors. The deeper your community connections, the more likely you are to flourish as those with more resources will share in times of need, with the favor then returned if the tables turn. It also generates mental stability when you know there are people you can turn to for help, and being able to share with those you care about is equally fulfilling.
Grounding or “rooting” is also achieved when you get out of your brain-mind and back into your body-mind. Tap into your “gut” feelings- after all, it is your digestion that forms the foundation of you, with more signals going from your gut to your brain than vice versa. If something doesn’t “feel” right, it probably isn’t- your body always knows the truth. In Āyurveda the pathway of the mind is described as the entire body! That’s right! Our intelligence comes from more than our brains- brains are reprogrammable operating systems, malleable based on our environments and decisions. Our guts are much more visceral, and speak the unequivocal truth, if we have the “sense” to listen. So tap in to tune in.
What are some other important tools for nourishing our roots physically? Eating them!! Roots are the epitome of the earth element in food, and Āyurveda teaches us that these foods are the best for “grounding”. Colder weather brings with it an increase in our bodies ability to digest heavier foods to balance the lightening effects of the summer and fall, thus helping us to maintain balance and reflecting Nature’s intelligence- not only does She give us what we need to stay balanced, our physiology shifts accordingly.
So connect with your roots, eat some roots, and let go of that old foliage clouding your upper canopy. A house is only as strong as its foundation, and this season brings with it an opportunity to rebuild from within. Om Namah Shivaya!!
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