How radiant you are, dear Warrior.
In view of recent events across the Earth, let me honor the light in you that still awakes to face each day, not knowing what it will bring. The sacred flame of the male in you, the female, the marriage of the two that is the creative force, the inner child, the adolescent, the warrior, the lover as well as the elder, the spirit animal… each of the many aspects of your soul, I honor.
We started to explore the chakras together, you and I, and touched upon the Mooladhara Chakra, our base and the foundation which sets the tone for our experience of the physical body in this life, and the connection to this earth, this realm. The chakra which determines our right to take up space in the world, to care for our ourselves and nourish our needs and desires for time, money, possessions, love and praise; can we manifest these, receive them and hold onto them too? Or do we carry within us a niggling sense of deprivation, a hunger? We need to set deep roots in order to grow tall and flourish. Just as every flower blooms before it withers so is our natural urge to not only live, but to thrive before we die.
Over the years that I have been teaching and consulting, I have been amazed to discover just how small a space we allow ourselves to occupy. And not only that, what limited range of movements we explore and exhibit on a regular, day to day basis. Even when we profess to do a body affirming practice such as Yoga, there is an underlying restriction to adhere to, a hint of refusal for what is present in us which leads to a striving for a certain standard outside of our reality. There is value of course, in working with a system, an ancient tradition that has led people from one place to another. But have you ever considered that your elbows, for instance, may have their own story to tell which is not only valid but also filled with wisdom, beauty and grace?
In connection with and allowing each body part to move widely, freely, with acceptance and joy, it comes alive and draws breath, nourishing every little nook of our being. Considering the intimate connection between the two, allowing our bodies bigger and wider gestures, expressing unapologetically their truth can be so incredibly freeing for the mind, in turn, opening our whole being to a new range of possibilities and opportunities for fulfillment. Ultimately, we arrive at a state in which the body moves and functions in perfect union and harmony with the soul’s purpose: could this be the definition of happiness? As radical as this may sound, the spirit and the flesh become one, and we realize that our divinity has been in our humanity all along.
On this note, dear Warrior, maybe you would like to shake your body? Shaking or “Rattling The Bones” as it has been described by Jalaja Bonheim in her book, The Serpent and The Wave, A Guide to Movement Meditation (Celestial Arts Publishing, California, USA, 1992) is the single most important spiritual practice of the ancient matriarchal tribes, those who honored the feminine side of God, and in so doing, honored Nature as the physical manifestation of the Goddess. Shaking is a powerful antidote to fear. In cases of anxiety, this meditation is good to do for 15 minutes daily. Shaking also helps adjust and realign the vertebrae, and allows tension held in the body’s joints to release. It is one of the simplest and most effective ways of emptying the mind, grounding, and entering a light trance, and an excellent preparation for sitting meditation. You may try it along with some music with a steady drum and rhythmic beat.
I share with you the instructions to this practice (p55), you may want to remember them for yourself or share this practice with a friend, taking turns in reading them to lead each other through:
Stand and plant your feet firmly on the earth. Close your eyes.
Feel the vertical line that runs from the sky all the way down through your spine, right into the earth’s centre.
As the music begins, this axis begins to vibrate with the beat, shaking up and down. At first, there should be no side to side movement, just an up and down shaking.
Feel this shaking; let it enter your mind and body. Your legs and especially your knees should be soft and bouncy like springs, so that your spine can move.
Pay attention to your neck, not holding it rigidly, let it soften, be free and unbound.
Open yourself to the sound of the music and feel the heaven-earth axis vibrating. Let its rhythm take over and move you, until you find that the rhythm itself shakes you, vibrates you.
As you shake, empty out your mind. Shake out the thoughts as they arise. Shake out the comments, the expectations, the criticism, the plans, the memories…
Until there is nothing left but this vertical axis from heaven to earth, like a lightning rod, and along this axis, a steady shaking rhythm.
Your body dissolves, disintegrates, its solidity shaken apart. Belly shaking, heart shaking, shoulders shaking loose, all the muscles dissolving intro vibration. Head is shaking, skull is shaking, neck is shaking. Vibration shaking out of your fingertips. Nothing remains but the rhythm that shakes you.
Breathe and surrender to the shaking. Keep it easy. Feel that you could do this for hours without tiring. No pushing. Shake your joints free until you feel as loose as a rag doll. Surrender to it.
Continue shaking for at least 15 to 20 minutes then stop abruptly and sit or lie down. Breathe. Move into silence and let the silence receive and envelop your being.
Notice that within you, something has been watching this entire process. Something is aware of your breath as it comes in, and as it flows out. There is a listener within you. There is an attentiveness. There is someone who perceives you fully and accepts you with compassion.
Enjoy the connection between all your body parts: heart, belly, genitals, feet. Breathe nourishing light through every part of you.
If your body wants to move, let it move. Stillness is not something different, something separate from movement. There is a great silence, a great stillness within. Not the opposite of sound, not the opposite of the shaking, but underneath it.
Listen. To the flow of your breath, to the flow of your thoughts. And sense the stillness underneath. Listen, not with your mind, but with your being. Take as long as you want, moving deeply into the stillness with each breath.
All our movements can be sacred art once our bodies (hence our behaviors and our words) come to move in perfect harmony with our highest purpose. In order to see how you are doing on this scale, and to help put your psyche in motion, especially after the shaking, I now invite you to undertake a little exercise with me, dear Warrior. Take pen and paper in hand and see if you can write a list of your activity in a typical day by only using “I” followed by the appropriate verb. Here is a glimpse into my life:
How telling is this of who I am and how I live my life, dear Warrior? I wonder who you have discovered you are? And how you move in your world?