Tuesday, January 29, 2013


A friend in her advanced years gave me a nudge to look into what is called “body grounding” or “body earthing.” No, it doesn't refer to burying a dead body in a grave. And you may or may not buy the idea. In a nutshell, it implies giving a human (or animal) body electrical connection directly to the earth for optimum human performance and normal health benefits. My friend practices it—says she really benefits from it.

For instance, walking barefoot with direct contact with the earth or in the grass supposedly provides electrons the body needs by letting the earth stabilize and modulate the electrical potential of the body by signals from the earth. Think of it in terms of electrically grounding the human body. It does seem to make sense.

Humans during the last century have been using synthetic shoe soles which isolate the body electrically from the earth. That contributes to blocking the physiological benefits of receiving valuable antioxidants for reducing oxidative stress. Grounding enables the earth to provide electrons that reduce the viscosity of the blood. Leather soles and leather sandals, worn for some thousands of years, gave a partial earthing as did our ancestors who slept directly on the earth or on beds made of wood. Earthing was the natural lifestyle throughout almost all the time humans have existed—until the synthetic habits of this modern age took over. I recall that my grandmother from Europe preferred walking barefoot while she gardened—and I trailed barefoot behind her delighting in the feel of grass wet from dew in the early morning or when I chased fireflies on hot summer nights. The good old days!

Jesus, as an example, walked from village to village throughout His entire years of ministry. Barefoot or in sandals, feet got dirty and having them washed upon entering a home was customary. In history, pilgrims almost always walked to holy places, sometimes barefoot or with sandals and staff, sleeping in shelters close to the earth. Today we fly by plane to the sacred destinations and perhaps drive the rest of the way. Moreover, spiritual pilgrimages were slow paced with enough time for meditation and prayer. Nowadays we hurry everywhere and don't walk unless we are forced to. Surrounded by our cement and steel world we are isolated from contact with the earth itself all in the name of civilization and progress. We walk on the earth's crust far under our feet, far from the benefit we could derive from how God created it for our welfare.

A selection from “The Prayer Tree” by Michael Leunig says it well. Although he may not have known anything about “body grounding,” he expressed an appropriate analogy to “spiritual grounding.”

“Dear God,
We pray for another way of being: another way of knowing. Across the difficult terrain of our existence we have attempted to build a highway and in so doing have lost our footpath.
God, lead us to our footpath: lead us there where in simplicity we may move at the speed of natural creatures and feel the earth's love beneath our feet.
Lead us there where step-by-step we may feel the movement of creation in our hearts. And lead us there where side-by-side we may feel the embrace of the common soul. Nothing can be loved at speed.
God, lead us to the slow path; to the joyous insights of the pilgrim; another way of knowing; another way of being. Amen.”

It may be that in every season of life we should ask God to “Lead us to the slow path” because that's usually how God works in our lives in spite of the frantic whirl of our daily lives. We want everything done yesterday, and every prayer answered as soon as we express it. God is Eternal, however, and not in a hurry. But by the time we are in our advanced years, we are happy to start pacing ourselves to His slower pace.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writes on “The Slow Work of God.”
Trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end
without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new, and yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability–and that it may take a very long time.

Your ideas mature gradually–let them grow, let them shape themselves without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make them tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete. Patient of being on the way to something unknown, something new, and yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability–and that it may take a very long time.”

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