Growing Roots

I was in a conversation today about feeling uprooted and disconnected from one’s kin and lost like driftwood. I can empathise with the feeling, finding a place to grow my roots seems to be a recurring theme. Yet is it as complex as we think it is? In the spiritual sense, it’s very easy to grow roots and ground ourselves to the Earth and the Whole.

Very simply, breathe and follow the breath until it is your only focus.

Close your eyes and close your mind to it’s own noise.

Keep your bare feet in contact with the floor beneath you and imagine roots sprouting from them and pushing down and down and down.

Reach the centre of the planet and wrap your roots around the core.

Isn’t that all we need to feel connected when the self evident truth of that we are, is not enough? We are all stardust of the same stock, after all. But it takes time to accept that and clarity to see it. Even in the genealogical sense, we can’t escape our roots as much as we try so why try? You can’t change the place of your birth after the fact so why examine the how’s and why’s of unmovable facts.

In the end, perhaps the feeling of drifting and restlessness is born from the heights to which we grow. When we scrape the sky, the earth below feels insignificant and we forget that we need it to exist. We cannot live without the dirt, that unavoidable stuff that binds us all together in nature. Can we fight our nature? No.

Roots are a part of us as they are a part of any plant on this planet. We need space to grow them out, time to do so, fertile ground and a will to do it. But that’s easier said than done isn’t it in shifting sands?

How do we find this perspective, this downward view to search for grounding? Of course, my favourite Roman emperor has the answer as usual.

“Rational beings collectively have the same relation as the various limbs of an organic unity – they were created for a single cooperative purpose. The notion of this will strike you more forcefully if you keep saying to yourself: ‘I am a limb of the composite body of rational beings.’ If though by the change of one letter from ‘l’ to ‘r’ [melos to meros], you call yourself simple a part rather than a limb, you do not yet love your fellow men from your heart: doing good does not yet delight you as an end in itself; you are still doing it as a mere duty, not yet as a kindness to yourself.” – Meditations 7.13

As limbs are a part of the body, so are trees a part of the forest; as the tendons are the roots to these limbs. What connects you to others and the world around you is not a state of mind but a constant fact for you to remind yourself of. A constant love for you to remind yourself of.

A constant fact for me to remind myself of. A constant love for me to remind myself of.

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