WE’RE ALREADY HERE, AND THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING (Stillness)
So this is the first of five notes on awakening – five different styles or stages, one related to each rhythm. There’s an intro about it here.
Each of these five notes relates to one of the rhythms, but I’m going to go in reverse order, starting with this one related to Stillness.
Let me tell you a story.
Before I took on the rhythms as my practice, I was engaged for ten years in a sitting meditation practice taught by an Indian guru. The rules were very clear – you sit for an hour a day, every day. So when I fell in love with the rhythms and decided to make them a regular practice, it felt natural to give them the same priority. Each day I would show up for my practice, have a moment to feel into what I would focus on and then go for it.
After many years of this, one morning I found myself knowing that my next step as a 5Rhythms student was to give up this daily routine thing. I didn’t understand why at first, but the intuition was clear and I chose to trust it.
I didn’t dance that day. Or the next. Or the next. And I found that my daily life had to change. I became aware that I had created a pattern which acted as a safety valve, allowing me to blow off steam, release my energy, have an experience of deep inner freedom etc that allowed me to cope with continuing to some extent as the same old repressed Adam for the other 23 hours a day. I had to become more expressive, more unconventional, more creative, or I would go nuts. I had to let the spirit of my 5Rhythms experience flood into my every waking moment because there was no outlet any more in my own little practice zone.
It was a major awakening moment for me, and something has stuck. Yes, I still love to dance of course. I love to go wild and throw my limbs around, let my head go and drop into the beat. I love to fall into that zone where dreaming becomes awake in motion, alone or with others. It’s bliss. But there’s something more subtle that has become just as important to me. Something that I’m tracking all the time, listening for all the time. A kind of open silence, a simple awareness.
This is the fifth style of awakening, and one we could all cultivate any time we remember and choose.
To listen to the no-sound of the breath, expanding into the stillness and spaciousness that brings.
To tune into the same consciousness we find when we dance – aware of the body, it’s instincts and hunches about timing, space, and pace.
To allow the free flow and creative expression of our feelings in and out of relationship with others, including more body-awareness and embodied communication with our friends, lovers, and enemies, remembering how to speak straight from the heart, and listen with everything we have.
To totally engage in the moment to moment teachings and alchemy that the events of our lives are constantly giving us – whether in a brush with a stranger, an intimacy with our family, a conflict with a friend, or encounters with birth, death, sex, money, and creative endeavour. All the stuff of life has the potential for deep and profound personal evolution, both as healing and growth. Whether you dance daily at home, weekly at your local class, or in periodic high-octane blasts at workshops, a strong practice will create and strengthen pathways in your body-heart-mind that make this kind of engagement more readily available. Gabrielle Roth, the founder of this practice, communicated this kind of engagement with life so beautifully in all three of her books. (If you haven’t read them, just do it. They’re brilliant.) There’s something about movement practices that do this particularly well I think. Because they’re rooted in the body, they create pathways within us, new neural networks, that engage us with ourselves and each other in a very ‘whole’ way. Then off the dance floor those same pathways quite naturally get used to engage us in some mysterious way with life, allowing it to affect us more deeply and teach us more vibrantly, shaking us loose from our moorings of social convention, constantly nudging us awake.
Nudge me awake. More please. Next step. I’m waking up again. A little more. Listen. Yes. Now. Take a breath. This is it. Let love in. Let myself show. Let life hurt me. Let life bless me. Let go, let go, let go. Let go of letting go and stick with something long enough for creation to happen. Let this be. Here we come.
All these things happen all the time. There is no need for a dance floor. No need to move in a way that would look weird whilst shopping for vegetables at the market.
Now is the moment of power.