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Your Guru The Body – Part Three

With all our technology and scientific understanding we cannot create anything near the complexity and wonder of a living creature or a simple life form. Despite this, few modern human beings have much veneration for the process of life as it shows itself in their own body. There is certainly a growing attempt to work with the natural, but nearly always with readily formed techniques. As individuals we also frequently kill out what is natural or instinctive in us, perhaps even with our ideals of spirituality or environmental harmony. It is rare to find someone who will drop aside ready-made approaches, and listen to what their own being has to say without interfering. Even such apparently gentle practices as meditation, often have a very defined consciously decided goal. Listening to the body’s own needs and learning from it is real respect. It is an admittance that the process of life sustaining us, in its experience of millions of years, in its creative struggle, its countless lives and deaths, has something of great value to show us. It is also an expression of trust that the unconscious secrets of Life’s experience are communicable to our listening consciousness.

In the last step, the aim was to gain experience of allowing what was probably an unexpected movement. If you experienced your arm or arms lifting as if floating upwards, it probably felt quite strange. Practising it enables you to feel at ease with your body making movements without you consciously willing them.

Of course, your body is making lots of such movements. They occur all the time when you breathe, when your heart beats, perhaps even when you go to the toilet, sneeze, or vomit. But most of these you are used to. You have grown up with them, so to speak. If you had never had a bowel movement before, or never sneezed or seen others do it, and suddenly in your twenties you went to the toilet or sneezed, you might find it very disturbing. I know of people who have experienced a spontaneous movement such as you are learning to allow, and were so worried about it they went to their doctor to get a tranquiliser.

It is natural for your body to move spontaneously. The only reason it doesn’t do so more often is that we restrain it. In most social settings we usually restrain everything except what may be acceptable to others, expedient in the situation, or judged as correct. This means that you may not be giving yourself the freedom to allow your own creative imagination, or for your body to discharge tension through movement, experience your intuitive process, or experience your full range of feeling responses. In this way you gradually diminish yourself, blocking out much that is not of immediate use in everyday affairs.

The thread you are learning to grasp is the delicate balance of remaining conscious and critically aware, yet maintaining a keyboard condition in which your unconscious body-mind wisdom can express. This influence arises from what Jung and the Eastern masters called the Self. It is your fundamental level of awareness, your core self. Learning to allow the spontaneous movements is one of the ancient ways of listening to the voice of the Self – or as it is called in ancient literature, the Voice of the Silence.

At the moment, if you have used the two previous steps, you will have grasped the beginning of this thread. But what has happened so far is not very refined. So now we must learn to follow that thread as it leads into finer and wider experience.

The next step is called Moving Sea.

You will need up to an hour to complete this step. The aim of ‘moving sea’ is to continue the development of body awareness and how you allow spontaneous movement. Once you have used this approach as suggested below, there is no need to go through the preparatory stages in future uses. For instance do not do the yawning and arm lifting. Go straight into exploring the water movements. This can be used over and over with enjoyment and gain.

  1. To start step two, stand in your space for a while and be aware of the movements of your chest as you breathe. As you observe this, every so often hold your breath out for a while and notice what it feels like as your body wants to make the movement to breathe in. Unless you hold your breath for a long time, the urge is quite subtle. As you become aware of it have the same keyboard feeling in your body as you had with the previous steps. Do this for about five minutes, or until you are satisfied.
  1. Remind yourself of the feeling of spontaneous movement by using the ‘arm against the wall’ exercise.
  2. Extend your awareness of how your body and feelings move spontaneously by simulating yawns and allowing them to develop into stretches or movements.
  3. Then stand in the middle of your space and close your eyes. Lift your arms from your sides and take your hands high above your head. Do this a few times noticing the difference in feeling between having the hands high or low. Do this before reading on.

4. Now relax with hands by your sides. Hold the idea of taking the hands up high again, but do not consciously attempt the movement. Take your time. Be aware of how your hands and arms want to make the movement. Or perhaps there is no urge at all to move your arms. The point is to avoid making a mechanical movement, and be aware of your feelings and motivations. This means watching to see if the sort of feelings that entered into your yawning and arm rising sideways exercises are in operation here. If this includes the rest of your body, or your arms go in another direction than above your head, or do not move at all, that’s fine. Explore this before reading the next paragraph.

5. If you need to, have some music playing that does not grab your attention. Stand in your space with eyes closed. Drop unnecessary tensions as you listen to the music. Hold in mind for a moment the idea that you are giving your body space to explore expressing the quality of water. There is no need to think about what to do. Let your body explore. Trust it to find its own way to expressive movements. It is important to be patient, to wait for something to arise by itself. Allow yourself about 15 minutes for this. Remember how gentle the urge to breath was, so allow any such gentle urges to move you. Remember too how your arms felt if they made their own movements above your head. If these urges fall away, stop and wait. It is okay if nothing in particular happens.

6. Take time to observe and allow the delicate motivations – magnetic pulls – directing your body to watery movement.

7. You may find you have resources of imagination you did not suspect. Aspects of water you hadn’t consciously set out to explore will be expressed in your movements. If you are expressing deep still waters, you will actually feel a deep quietness and power. Or if it is the power of rushing rivers, then a feeling of power will surge through your body as you touch your resources of strength and healing. The flowing feelings that arise are actually healing.

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