These past 2 weeks have been a truly beautiful exploration of ‘dance’, leaving space for “something else to enter”, and a movement into the courageous heart. This is a 2-in-1 blog, so go slowly. Come back often, and go at your own pace; it’s long! 😉
“When was the last time you danced?”
-Native American Medicine to the sick; as written in Mark Nepo’s ‘The Book of Awakening’.
Mr. Nepo goes on to write:
“The beginning of dance is giving gestures to what we feel. While this is very obvious and basic to most children, it remains very difficult for those of us schooled to live in our heads.
The ongoing effort to dance, to give gestures to what we feel and experience, is ultimately healing because, as river beds are continually shaped by the water that moves them, living beings are continually shaped by the feelings and experiences that move through them. If there is no water moving through, the riverbed dries up and crumbles. Likewise, if there is no feeling moving through the body, the being at the center of that body will crumble.
More often, though, there is too much to give a gesture to, and we fail to move these feelings through our bodies. In truth, much of our inner sickness comes from the buildup and pressure of all that is kept in. The ongoing act of releasing that inner buildup is what spiritual practices call embodiment.
…. Once unblocked, giving gestures to our inwardness not only freezes us from becoming pressurized, but the gestures, once allowed out, teach us how to dance further into our own lives.
…. Embodiment is allowing our heart, mind, and body to exist as one miraculous skin.”
This quote came on the heels of a class I had done the week prior around the theme of unity. In considering unity and oneness, I was doing my own self-inquiry into where emotions fell within the layers of being. Resourcing yoga and the yogic principles of the layers of being, the koshas, I was reminded how emotions are a part of the manomaya kosha, or the mind layer.
The five layers, or sheaths, of being are:
- Annamaya kosha, the physical body
- Pranamaya kosha, the subtle, energetic body
- Manomaya kosha, the mind, emotions, and cognitive mind
- Vijnanamaya kosha, the intuitive self
- Anandamaya kosha, the bliss body
As I revisited the layers of being of Self, I began to envision them as a web within a web, within a web, within a web, and so on. Not one separate from the other, but rather an interconnected and entered dependent web of life within oneself. Some like to invite you to imagine the koshas as an onion, layer within layer. However, for my imagination, the web seemed more fitting this time around because of their dance with each other; “one miraculous skin”.
To move is to feel.
To move is to release the buildup that has blocked us from being able to feel.
When we become more aware, we see where we can let go.
To practice bringing our awareness to what is. To become more aware is to not dismiss any part of ourselves. This is a very courageous act. To become more aware of what we are experiencing in every layer of ourselves, and to choose to become more aware, is a very brave act in life. Dancing from the koshas, to emotions, to the body, to the mind, and bringing it back to the heart, is where I was so divinely guided to fall upon an interview with Father Guidalberto Bormolini in the Parabola magazine. This became the intention of the next week’s classes; “to create space for something else to enter”, to let go.
As Mark Nepo had spoken of embodiment in spiritual practices being the release of buildup and pressure of the intake of how we feel, our experiences, life, our thoughts, and so much more, both inward and outward.
With this, we come to realize that we need to move. We need to not only physically move in whatever way possible(even if assisted, think massage), but we realize that by moving our bodies, we are moving the experiences through all the layers of our being and we are releasing their charge. We are releasing the energetic, psychological, emotional, and spiritual build up. We are creating space.
We must use our awareness and deep self-compassion in order to be able to feel, in order to recognize when we have too much buildup so that we don’t become over pressured and blow! We must allow ourselves the full range of emotions in order to not push anything aside, shove it down, or hide it under the rug; only to come back with greater force, or make us sick.
We must continue to move so that we can open our hearts to be moved.
Our hearts must be empty in order to be open, and to be receptive.
We must acknowledge, have awareness, make space for all that is loving us.
We must release, surrender, let go, become still, empty, and silent so that we can allow beauty in. So we can see the beauty of life; and so we can experience our True Essence, the divine, which is at best, indescribable.
“In order to be still-which is emptiness-You need to empty yourself from everything perishable.
Emptying everything that is finite, to open oneself to the infinite, the immortal. The process of the greatest mystical traditions is not reaching an empty void, but to create the space for something to enter. In the world of the spirit there is no void. Once we create space it is filled with something else–That is the law in the spiritual world.
If we empty ourselves from the ego, this part will be filled with the spirit. But if we feel all our space with the ego, there is no space for the spirit to inhabit.
…. If you want the wine of mysticism that intoxicates, symbolizing the unity with the divine. If you want this wine, you have to empty what is not precious from the cup, the things of low quality. In Egyptian hieroglyphics the cup symbolizes the heart. The heart must be free in order to be filled with the drink of immortality. The nectar of immortality. If we have this empty cup, then the divine can fill it and it will continue to fill it to infinity.” – Father Guidalberto Bormolini:
I offered this guided meditation:
After you have moved your body, allowing all things to move through it, then settle into stillness. You might be seated or lying down.
Within this stillness and silence, start to experience your breath. Experiencing that spark of life flowing through you, in and out.
Begin to imagine the most beautiful cup, chalice, or vessel. Whether it’s a cup you’ve seen before or not, observe all parts of its beauty.
As you gaze into the vessel, you notice that it is empty. But you know that there is not nothing in there.
Your deep inner wisdom knows that what is held in the cup is the nectar of life, the divine. It is in the cup, it is the cup, it’s in you, it’s all around you, and it fills everything.
Take your time here and sit with the chalice. Be still and empty yourself. Empty yourself so that you can become that open and empty vessel.
And upon emptying, you realize that the vessel is your own heart! And that your heart is now an open place for all that is good to enter. You are receptive to spirit, love, or however you name it, to pour down into you.
Om Shanti, om peace.
Take a deep breath and open your eyes when you are ready.
Now that you are empty, and yet completely full of life, love and Light, acknowledge all that you have just done. Again, these are brave acts you’re doing here. Surrendering, allowing, trusting. It takes courage! And that’s where we arrive this week! That’s next week’s blog, with mudra(One of my faves!) and mantra.
All my love,
Breathe and Believe.