There used to be an apple tree in our backyard.
For years, it produced fruit that was a wonderful balance of tart and sweet. Then, over a period of weeks, the leaves shriveled. One morning, I found the tree toppled over on the ground.
Gophers had chewed through the roots.
No roots equals no fruits—because the fruit of life comes from being rooted. It’s true for a tree, and it’s true for you and me.
When we’re not rooted, our life loses its juice, and eventually, we topple over—into overwhelm, cynicism, and despair.
But what does it mean to be rooted?
Being rooted means we’re connected to the ground of “Being.”
To know and feel in your bones that you are part of life and not apart from life in any way. This feeling of your fundamental “life-ness” infuses every moment with meaning and energy.
It’s not that you’re jumping up and down with glee—though that can happen. It’s that you’re whole-heartedly open to the innate holiness of each moment, including the hard and harsh ones.
Being whole-hearted doesn’t deny the hard and harsh moments of life.
There’s a difference between being rooted in the ground of Being versus burying your head in the sand. You don’t deny the challenges of your situation when you’re rooted—however, you’re not buried in them either.
Even in challenging circumstances, you’re rooted—able to open and feel energy and inspiration from the ground of Being moving through you and into the world.
You become an agent of awakening.
You embody the energies of love, wisdom, beauty, truth (and the list goes on) in the midst of your daily, nitty-gritty life. Being rooted doesn’t teleport you to some insulated spiritual plane. It brings you fully into this moment with all its complexity and simplicity.
You’re right here, right now, awake and available.
When you’re rooted, your life becomes what it is meant to be—a blessing that heals the world.
But what happens when you’re un-rooted?
Life becomes…um…lifeless. The meaning, purpose, energy, and juice drain away. The challenges of daily life—not to mention the world situation—are too much to handle. You topple over.
It’s easy to blame the gophers.
You know the gophers, right? We all have gophers.
So, who are your gophers?
Gophers are the parents, partners, and people in your life.
The ones who did it to you. Gophers are the government. The corporations. That person you obsessively can’t stand. The other. Them.
Here’s the thing—when you topple over, it’s not the gophers’ fault.
When you’re un-rooted it looks like they’re the ones who are chewing through your roots—toppling your tree. Uh-uh.
You are your own gopher.
I am too. It’s not the world that is undermining us; it’s our own disconnection from the ground of Being. The world isn’t gnawing away at our soul—we are. And it’s exhausting.
It’s time to get rooted.
The Equinox is the time for renewal—for getting rooted again in the nourishing, sustaining, ground of Being. Now is the classical time to re-boot, renew, and re-energize your spiritual practice.
Author: Eric Klein
Image: Flickr/Moosealope; author’s original illustration
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina