Have you noticed after sleep, a walk in the forest, meditation, any time spent in silence you feel renewed? Silence, though we often habitually avoid it in our culture—labeling “being in the silence” as a waste of time, being introverted or non-productive. Or we find silence simply uncomfortable, boring, or even scary.
Before and after every thought there is an ‘inherent’ ever-present silence…waiting. This precious quality prevails before birth, after death, within every moment throughout life. Silence fills all spaces between every action, breath and thought—offering peace.
Most spiritual teachings indicate silence is saturated with the Divine, representing the place from whence we came…and possibly the place to which we go in the ‘here-after.’
We have only to open our awareness to silence—the ultimate renewable resource within. With every activity, gross or subtle, we use/burn energy/disturb the mind, often creating the need for more actions to follow. Life is never-ending in this action-reaction process—it can be depleting. In silence there are no needs for action—in fact stopping activity, if one goes deep enough, no judgment exists of self or others. How restful that could be!
As we wait for the stoplight to change, silence waits with us patiently in the ether within and about us. Often the business of life intrudes on our silent moments—we grumble about the delay: ‘the light is too long, or the person in front does not place the peddle to the metal quickly enough for us to get on with ‘it’ once the light does change. We sit entertaining/diverting ourselves with music, cell phone, mentally sorting through our agenda, the aforementioned person ahead of us: missing the offering of silence.
We bypass moments saturated with deep silence. Dreaded delays in life from which we squirm, complain, light up, switch on something, shout our displeasure… Yet later in the night we long for that same space, that silence as the dogs bark, a bed partner begins to snore, our own noisy mind revs up. Possibly if we ‘soak up’ a day’s worth of “the small silences” we may carry it into the night…or the rest of life.
Sitting in the airport a small child is wheeled down the long hallway, coming to rest before me. Parents, carried away with details, flight schedules, their latte’ in hand, fumbling with tickets: their child sits taking in the big world.
The little tyke, free from agenda, gazes about finally looking at me: you know those wide-open child looks..which can bare your soul. I sit there waiting, doing my watching thing. We connect, both are caught, entertained by the big world: we see one another in our silence. No words, just looking…from the silent place. The child comes from, the one I retreat to in the crowd of humanity. There we are in silence…a blessed moment for us both, the world goes on somehow ‘outside us’ filled with its activity, noise, nervousness, flight, announcements…
We connect; I wonder how this child sees such a place, this new world? I feel the child still close to a/the source of silence, observing looking out in wonder. We see one another from our silent retreat. All too soon the child is whisked off to the plane or maybe away from the big guy with the tattooed arms who looks too long at their son…We part with a lingering smile, the little one reaches toward me, he cries, “I want to”… We are both renewed, the child is being seen, I meet another observer, a fresh one, the wonder of silence touches us, I feel blessed.
One last story: my first silent meditation retreat. In the first two days mind said ‘how interesting.’ On the third day (sound a bit biblical?) mind said ‘this is a waste of time—I could be doing this and that’…the forth day mind is downright angry, ‘I hate this…’ then about day six, I lost track of time, shocked when it was time to go home. But was I more truly home than ever before? I had been taken in by silence, I had found myself, silently…
If you are ‘of the mind to’ after reading, this close your eyes, embrace your silent self now, maybe we can all meet there.
Completion can be as big as re-incarnating because we left unfinished lessons, or as small as did “I miss that piece of paper on the floor while sweeping and I know it, therefore the job is incomplete.” It may be that completion is awareness of our inner and outer life, that construct, the idea of being complete.
Assumed belief brought on by outside influences such as “you did not finish your last semester at college,” lurks in the back of the mind. An old school friend shows up speaks about his last year, the graduation and party you missed, leaving you with a fresh feeling of incompleteness. It is true? Or an assumed responsibility brought on by society, a family member, or something you truly feel is unfinished?
Another question: are we ever complete until we are in peace, in that moment, before the old classmate shows up? Maybe we are complete, as much as we will ever be. “That moment” of peace, stillness, and contentment may be all there is to it…
In my experience with every big and little meaningful personal and group process I have noticed patterns in myself and others. The idea that “this is it” dawns on us…when we “look ahead” toward the “end” we make up stories—we will separate from our regular time spent with friends/fellow students and the lessons we were looking for.
Does this mean we are incomplete? I think not. This is longing, attachment, and love for our fellow beings who we think will be lost to us…for a time.
As we find ourselves on the threshold of the end of a course of learning, a journey of whatever meaningful nature, an inner voice—the emotional body, energy body, physical body—all take stock and report. We react and wonder… “but I am not done yet, what about this, what about that, I will miss this one, did I get the message? Maybe these inspirations from teachers and friends act upon us because “we are the same”—we have those qualities we seek in others, we already have the knowledge, it has simply been awakened by another or the lessons. They are wakened through interaction with another but they are within us! Otherwise we would not respond to them.
Are we there yet? Maybe another question will help: Where is there? What do we expect upon completion? The question might be: Did we ever really start and is there an end? Now that is a big chunk.
Let’s return to the simple story: I was a janitor in my youth—this was about the time I was “on my spiritual path” (as if it began then). But officially I had found my teacher and started the lessons. Everything became part of the practice; I was sweeping the long hallway with one of those wide, fluffy dust mops. Out of the corner of my eye a very small piece of paper ‘got away’. In and of itself no big deal, but I noticed it! Now that made it count! Whether I responded to that little scrap of consciousness in the form of paper had meaning because I took notice, gave value to it. I made myself responsible for it. The job of sweeping the hallway would not be complete if I did not retrace my steps and get that. I did—that lesson lasted a long time—even until this moment of sharing it with you. I had a feeling of completion at the end of the evening—no, more to the point, as I gathered the scrap in the folds of the broom a “completion took place.”
Of course the story could have gone in a different direction had I different values (or weaker peripheral vision). If I did not care about the quality of my work, if I did not assign value to the pieces of paper, no big deal. Would this make me a lesser person, in-complete in some manner? Maybe. However consider that the possibility of in-completeness would be present only once I had seen the paper and made it my responsibility to either go back for it or not.
As long as we assign ourselves to the piece of paper that slipped by—or the “unfinished character flaws”—are we responsible. Going back for the paper, noticing, and choosing to respond differently than our habit, would dictate the feeling of satisfaction to some degree of a completion. If we let it slide by, aware it might get stuck as a belief—if “I did not full-fill my contract with myself…or in my job”—we may well feel incomplete.
Maybe the idea of complete has to do with being in the moment, having little or no distractions. This might be why we take the courses, the job, do the trainings to awaken more fully to this very moment.
As a single flower rests in the wheat field unaffected by wind and sway of stalk. We may be complete in the midst of our active mind and so-called unfulfilled beliefs. We may choose to get that piece of paper or not—the learning will still be ours to have in that moment.
I ask myself, is this blog complete…am I done yet? You determine, fill in as needed for yourself…as will I. “Rest in peace” as they say at the end of life. We could say this at the end of each adventure, each breath…we are there, we never left.
Our First Time…”I have never felt my feet touch the ground like this…”she said after the lesson. “I can feel both bones of my pelvis when I sit, I don’t think I ever noticed this before, I can even breath better…” he said after another lesson. Both of these people held an expression of amazement on their face, eyes filled with the delight you might find in a child. With focused attention and a simple non-habitual action or though we can be there then as it were. (As being here now is always in the past when we get around to noticing it….)
The first time for everything, time and time again. Imagine every single thing you do happening for the first time. Can you remember the delight, as a child the first bike ride, sleigh ride, ice cream, maybe your first steps, later the first day of school, first kiss: the list goes on and on.
The point is there is something very profound in the moment beyond the aha, a place in our life where we are always new fresh and have choice. This ‘place’ of newness is also the place we arrive on our way toward deep meditation and beyond. Why not experience it when you want by choice?
Each movement, your every observation, each breath can be fresh, new, exciting, awakening for your entire self—a first time experience of how and who you are again and again. When too much habit enters our actions thoughts and beliefs the brain becomes dull/ numb/automatic: “who cares, been there, done that,” and we take little or no notice. Precious awakenings and enjoyment pass in habituation. When we move, breathe, speak with intention with spontaneity born of curious interest in every part of our life then we are able to repeat the first time many times.
If we have an experience we like, or dislike, we tend to “lock on,” attach, hold, and imprint, hoping we can continue the feeling longer, or resolve the discontent. In doing so we miss the fullness of the event, the lesson if you will, of that moment, be it pleasant or unpleasant. And we miss the amazing event directly after that one. We miss the new lessons while clinging to the “other event” that we still try to cling to. The ones we hold to so tightly take center stage in our consciousness leaving very little room for another great aha!
There are books about the “Now”: Being Here Now, Living in The Now, and of course the ever favorite “how now brown cow” (could not resist that one). These books offer an enticing possibility for experience. However the abstract reading and thinking about such an event, moment, or action is not quite the same as “being there” once more for the first time.
I invite you to explore the movement lessons under “Media” on this blog site. There is a fresh one coming from the Poland class I just returned from… soon to arrive on the media page—it is bi-lingual as well as shall I say multi-dimensional. Within the movement exploration there are direct invitations to feel what it is like to breath and move “for the very first time in your life,” again and again and again.
Until this particular lesson is up and running, any of the lessons can be experienced in this manner. Follow these guidelines to make it so for yourself. With eyes closed; look within, “see” or feel yourself in contact with the surface you rest upon, notice details: displacement of weight, temperature, ease, anything you can to gain greater moment to moment clarity. When the movement suggestion comes, follow it into yourself, track the sound from vibrating airspace into your ear. From auditory message to neuro-response. Take a moment to note how you initiate action—you have choice there, maybe your first time ever to notice such a thing. Proceed from there with each movement offering. At the end of the lesson rise from the floor slowly enough to allow for the first time experience to manifest with each sequence toward vertical.
Waking, yet asleep, we look at the clock: body says, “Feed me, wash me, breath me, hurry up I have needs.” If we—the one awakening—chooses to be present, we renew consciousness, deepen it, re-commit to it with each response: the breathing, stretching, washing…
Each waking happens on all levels of who we are. Mind says: “Get up, work to do, look at the clock, we are running out of time, it is almost whatever o’clock…no more sleep wake up!”
What time are ‘we’ out of ? What about our Spirit: is there time…is that ‘in time?’ Could we make all the demands of our self—body, mind, emotions—a spiritual exercise?
If we gave the body enough for long enough, would it be quieter, make fewer demands? Would we become lost in the ‘bliss’ of simple service to every action? If we are not the body— but had need of it for a time—would we care for it well enough? Could we use it as another tool to remain awake in Spirit? Would we realize more of who we are behind the constant demands?
If we heard the announcements, the loud-speaker, the constant agenda maker, our own mind, as entertainment, not always necessity, would we be in the sweet nothingness, the timelessness?
As thoughts arise for this blog I notice space between them; is this space “Out Of Time?” Have I run myself out of the time I think I live in? I sit outside to meditate, hear birds, feel wind, sun rises slowly—a reflection of time passing…the day moves forward.
Am I running out of time to find myself?
As the gulf fills with oil, the polar bear loses its ice, are ‘We’ running out of time?
Or is all perfectly designed for our awakening? Throughout history ‘we’ had ideas ‘this is it—this is in the big trouble.’ how will we survive—through world wars, quakes, floods famine. But again ‘this’ too passes—where did ‘it’ go? Into the history books etched in memory.
The fear passed, we prosper, breathe, wake, wash our face…the little things of life may hold some promise of peace even in the shadow of great drama. These ‘small’ actions can invite us between the moments of time.
It is always the loss of hope when spirits are shaken: “Fear paralyzes the Spirit.” Maybe we are not running out of time but running away from Spirit, chasing the dreams we make, those that were made by others, that hold us through belief and fear.
Meditation over, peace carried within, how long? Will I run out of time to hold it, can I not be there throughout time and beyond it? Mind says: you are aging, body will have more needs: is there time enough to find the self, will you outlive the money you make? More fears tied to time…
The teachings say ‘we are already there, nothing to find, nowhere to go, no time.’ How do we recall that place when time—the illusion—is in our face, when day follows night, year follows year, gray hair showing, bones ache with use. Can we be aware of watching? Can we realize nothing is happening here—that we are already out of time? Can we stop running now?
May we breath between each moment, see the space between, see the large and small events placed before us, all as lessons.
Could we smile more to the worried face in the mirror?
Could we gather all history in a moment of our own choosing bless it and let it go?
Peek over the fence at the future seeing only possibilities from the ever-present moment now? ?
As the life guard says ‘walk, don’t run’. Stop, eyes open. Sowly, out of time constraints, into your own moment, again and again.
If we could we pause the flipping card cartoon book, stop time, slow it down to see just this moment, would it hold still? If so who would be there to see it?
Class in Holland, composed of mostly of Ayurvedic students, opened my heart. Ayurvedic medicine arises from Spirit not unlike the philosophy of Life Impressions Bodywork. The environment was preset, human life form and life style arising from original sound of Aum, into elements, tissues, and dramas, eventually settling back into oneness. What a way to start the class!
Stillness, the theme, already cultivated within those who gathered: we begin with the “Aumbryo:” what you don’t recognize such a term? Here it is for your consideration.
Please take note of the shape/similarity: Aum, the beginning of all creation, and our little embryo shape themselves as one. They arise from the absolute stillness, the depths of silence within and beyond.
This is where the class began, adding such ideas as our blueprint space between the spine and organs from which we may always refer for renewal. An idea of original oneness in vibrating fluids, developing, shaping, growing, changing, yet remaining simply ‘one:’ elements, Spirit, intact. Exploring the journey’s beliefs, events that would seem to change us into a struggling/longing/lost being, searching for the healing memories. We began with movement and touch, based on a reminder of ‘fishing for consciousness’ to restore what seemed lost.
We found analogies, such as stirring the porridge of consciousness in body form, to draw into the mix of self those estranged ‘ailing’ parts. Looking from within, from the space between the front of the spine and the back of the organs to see how our own movement set waves of fluid consciousness in motion.
Sitting in courtyard facing lush forest, taking rest as self-corrections were brought forth from within: healing memories wakening. Walking forest trails near wild pigs and short deer; listening within to the ever-present deepening stillness. Gathering in small groups in the evenings, noting how we change, faces softer, steps lighter, rest evident as inherent learning made manifest.
Old stories of events held in tissue storage, sweetly, lightly, tenderly touched, brought clarity; a reminder of who we are now ‘present in time.’ Tears moistening hearts, hydrating old cells with new life, melting old beliefs. We became more of who we are, emerging out of a deepening stillness.
Evening brought the bunnies resting safe on the ground about us, munching sweet grasses, watching us, trusting, maybe teaching trust…
Long, very long days, like those of the midnight sun, offered time and extra light for self reflection. Each new morning, greater closeness among more like minded souls. More movement exploration, origins of limbs renewed ‘the better to touch you with my dear.’ Floating corners of self set trustworthy frame for mid-line organs to rest. Rest from inside soothes, awakened limbs connected to foundations inspires trust and safety, deepening stillness.
A learning family overseas finds brothers and sisters through the ethernet of current space and time. Love of learning renewed from coast to long distant coast brings tears to my eyes. Heart and souls from Holland held forth to those from Santa Fe eager to make contact. A bigger family introduced namelessly as none are needed from such a place.
A Dutch family portrait for all to see: compliments of our body forms and the skills of Mattijn Franssen.
I leave my dear ones in Poland a bit sad but with sweet memories having had another rich experience…having learned so much, I wonder who is the teacher… Surely it is the Divine teaching us all—oh but how she cloaks her work…
The plan was that I come to teach the Life Impressions method;did my best; well received it was. But once again, who teaches? Each time I return to Poland I find the ‘students,’ the country, have teachings for me.
Northern Poland, the lake country…
The sun rises at 4:00 a.m., drawing my body into the lake by 5:00. Followed by a walk/meditation/rest, contemplating class at the civilized hour of 11:00. Learning settles very deep within rested happy souls taking in lessons dropped in my mind in the early hours by ‘The Teacher’ of us all… After seeking healing memories—moving and touching to stir consciousness—self-corrections abound—lead by inner wisdom.
Break for afternoon nourishment…new potatoes grown by the lake grace our plates…
Fresh food, harvested moments before from rich soil, prepared with skill and love, nourishes body and mind. Farmers next door teach us about land care as they sweat looking over the fence. We eat as the hawk surveys her territory overhead. A Stork freshly arriving from Africa walks on water as we watch.
‘The Teacher’ in Her animal form waits for us; class is always in session here held in natural world—do we see, do we learn?
Wild grasses herbs and flowers prove the lands health, no strange chemical amendments, only hard working farmers and cattle link nutrients to the earth.
We begin afternoon class as clouds roll in, seeking our healing memories with movement and touch. A farming family outside the window, grandma included, hurry to get the hay in before the storm. Working so hard, one wonders what life impressions they make…generations have passed in the same manner…
Our class continues; thoughts of good will sent forth from within for their task as dark clouds gather over the hill behind. One student sheds tears of release—a memory found—as drops begin on distant the fields. Our hope for the workers of the land reach out through the window; grandma shouts in a language foreign to my ear—many a ‘z’ color the sounds.
Nearing the end of our hands-on lesson, winds carry forth the storm. We are drawn to the window as our lessons close, mentally urging pitchforks onward. One line of curled hay remains as dark billowing clouds rise over the ridge.