Ground questions our view. What situation are you encountering? Who is arriving?

Who are you in that situation? Are you projecting, reacting to circumstances, or observing circumstances? Can you access your awareness in the moment, or later upon reflection?

The grounding practice below involves three phases:

  1. What’s So: Observe What’s Happening in this Situation

  2. Intention: Create Aspirations for Direction.

  3. Motivation. Investigate What Moves You

I’ve developed each leg below with an inquiry for reflection.

Review the framework for “ground” below and bring it to different aspects of your life.


The foundation for “ground” is “to remember” each area.

Observe WHAT’S SO*

  • Acknowledge the situation as we find it and observe any conditions: distinguish facts (who, what, where, when) from any interpretation?
  • When distracted or “hooked” on an interpretation, notice your thinking[1] and bring yourself back to discern what’s happening.

Establish (Create) INTENTION

  • Presence your thoughts, attitude, or aspiration to set a purpose (or direction) deliberately.
  • How are your thoughts and attitude/aspirations aligned with your motivation?

Investigate MOTIVATION**

  • Investigate the reason, desire, rationale, and logic for WHY I am doing this?
  • Inquire, what is my motivation here? Are you internally (intrinsically) or externally (extrinsically) motivated?

Below, find a slide frame with two slides that illustrate the Ladder of Inference, a mental model first described by organizational psychologist, Chris Argyris, and later popularized by Peter Senge in his book, The Fifth Discipline.

The ladder is made up of 7 rungs or stages that outline 1) the rapid process our minds go through to make conclusions and take action in a given situation, and 2) how this dynamic produces a “reflexive loop.

* to observe the strongest relationship with reality, to see things as they are, what is happening now as a matter of observed reality. We cannot walk unless our feet are on the ground.

** the root of the word motivation is motive, which is similarly defined as the reason for a particular action. Motivation means “to move” specifically to stimulate toward action.” In Buddhist psychology, it is a matter of desire, more specifically the desire to act accompanied with a sense of purpose. From Western psychology, intrinsic motivation involves performing a task because it’s personally rewarding to you. Extrinsic motivation involves completing a task or exhibiting a behavior because of outside causes such as avoiding punishment or receiving a reward.

[1] The practice of “pausing” can be one way to get ourselves “out here“ by slowing us down. This practice involves three techniques: To stop, connect with the ground (earth, or an object) and breathe deeply. Pausing creates openness to connect to the matter at hand “out here.”