Why Lying on the Earth is Good for You

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It's finally summer here in Vancouver. I know many other parts of the world are being blasted byEnglishBay2 record setting heat waves and what not, but in rainy ole Vancouver we're just getting started with the summer season. And of course, when the sun comes out, so do the people.

The other day I joined the happy throngs down in English Bay, a beach setting surrounded by grass, and plunked my carcass down on the lawn. "Ahhh shit, that feels good" I moaned as I released down into full back sprawl. At some point I looked up and saw all the other bodies strewn across the Earth around me, with people of all stripes hitting the canvas, and a thought occurred to me.

I remembered something I'd heard the nutritionist-physician-spiritualist Gabriel Cousens say about lying on the Earth being good for you. He'd mentioned this during a talk I attended that was mainly on food and nutrition, but this little nugget he mentioned in passing always stuck with me. In his Camille-Pissarro-Peasant-woman-lying-in-the-grassbook Spiritual Nutrition, he writes:

The electromagnetic field energy of the Earth is another source of energy input into our system. It is usually absorbed through our feet. The Taoists describe a point on the sole near the upper center of the foot, called yung-chuany through which it is specifically drawn up. Lying on the ground can also be a way of recharging.

It's been a couple of years since I heard that talk, but since then I've come across a field/movement (I'm not sure what exactly to call it) called Earthing, where the healing effects of walking barefoot and lying on the Earth are being given new scientific backing and a sustained promotion as a source of human health and renewal. The Earthing Institute (!) writes this on their webpage: 

Throughout time, we humans have strolled, sat, stood, and slept on the ground—the skin of our bodies touching the skin of the Earth—oblivious to the fact that such physical contact transfers natural electrical energy to the body.

Modern lifestyle has disconnected us from the Earth’s energy, making us more vulnerable to stress and illness.two-dogs-lying-on-the-grass

Earthing is the landmark discovery that this energy upholds the electrical stability of our bodies and serves as a foundation for vitality and health.

In an age of rampant chronic disease, reconnecting with the Earth’s energy beneath our very feet provides a way back to better health.

We are bioelectrical beings living on an electrical planet.

Reconnect to the Earth!
Connect to the Earthing Institute and educate yourself.

Now I haven't taken a deep dive into the science coming out behind all this, and maybe there's controversy, I don't know. But what struck me the other day while lying on the grass in English Bay, is that humans seem to know this all intuitively anyway. That's the reason me and a heap of others were sprawled out on the grass together, wall to wall Earthers whether we knew it or not. There's similar research coming out about the healing effects of walking in forests. I love that science is coming to compile more and more empirical research around these things; I also love that it puts us back in contact earthingwith a deep, ancient intuitive side of ourselves, that knows this whether we get scientific confirmation or not. I hope this helps us deepen a trust in the wisdom of our evolutionary heritage, of what we already know deep down to be true about our connection to the world around us. For instance, that lying in the grass feels frickin awesome!! (walking in the grass too. and in the sand.)

So on whatever slice of Earth you happen to be having a summer, may you enjoy those moments you get to steal away under a tree, or out in the open sun, and plunk down the ole carcass in the Earth's green grass.

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  • Comment Link Chloe Dierkes Monday, 16 July 2012 01:25 posted by Chloe Dierkes

    Whaaaaaaaaat!? Of course! This is so exciting because it is so obvious and makes so much sense, but I've never really stopped to question why it feels so damn good to walk barefoot in a cool forest, lay in the grass or hug a tree... Now that you mention it, it totally feels like a recharge of energy. Cool.

  • Comment Link David MacLeod Monday, 16 July 2012 05:12 posted by David MacLeod

    I love this! My comment is mostly pictorial, so I posted it on my own blog, which you can check out here:

  • Comment Link Trevor Malkinson Monday, 16 July 2012 22:11 posted by Trevor Malkinson

    Thanks Chloe, glad you dug it. David, thanks, that's a great post of yours, I hope others check it out. Many great additional passages and resources (as usual!). I really liked this one:

    "I remember the particular way my great-grandfather walked through those woods; few walk that way now…That way of walking has a particular smell, a particular gait, a particular rhythm, a particular integration with Earth and plant and water. As we walked through those woods he would push aside a plant in his path. But it was not brusquely done. Rather he moved them from his path as if they were relatives he was setting aside. The soil was black with a bit of clay and it could be easily formed with the hands. A shovel would go in deeply and there were few stones. The roots of the plants entwined in that deep dark soil and our feet sank down a little as we walked – as if we were moving on the living tension of the soil – like the water spiders that skated on the pond where we fished. My great-grandfather’s feet knew the tension of that soil – they expected it and the soles of his feet spoke to it, conversed with Earth, each step of the way".
    - Stephen Buhner, The Lost Language of Plants

  • Comment Link David MacLeod Monday, 16 July 2012 22:59 posted by David MacLeod

    Yeah, Stephen Harrod Buhner is an herbalist and a very good writer. I've only finished the first chapter of The Lost Language of Plants, but it's all the same caliber of writing as in that quote, and I look forward to reading more.

    A couple of his other books are on our list to get as well: The Secret Language of Plants and Sacred Plant Medicine.

  • Comment Link Alison Wednesday, 18 July 2012 02:24 posted by Alison

    Yes! I know this already but need to remember it more often. Also, had an interesting encounter with this phenomenon going through customs at YVR a few months ago. I hate going through security and was getting pretty wound up as I approached the area with the assorted scanning machines. I saw the people ahead of me in line taking off their shoes as part of the new security protocol when one goes through the body scanner. I snorted bitterly as I witnessed what I thought at the time to be a new low in the condescending treatment of citizens by the Air Cops, and proceeded to take my own shoes off. Well, as soon as my feet hit the ground my stress started to dissipate! I immediately felt much more calm and grounded. Not sure how this phenomenon works in terms of the interference of architecture between us and the *acutal* earth, but it helped me just to be shoeless! Anyways, the irony of the situation pleased me; that probably helped as well :)

  • Comment Link Trevor Malkinson Friday, 20 July 2012 04:23 posted by Trevor Malkinson

    Thanks for the comment Alison, loved the story about the airport, that's great, cheers.

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