January 26, 2014
More Thoughts on Flowing
Class last week was patient. I entered a few minutes after the start, and met friends’ eyes, smiling, as I looked for a good spot to stretch on the floor. I stretched dynamically, using my legs and head as counterweights, and laying on my back with alternating shoulders tucked under me, allowing them to loosen. I found myself on my knees, spine coiling and twisting, tossing my head with the momentum the spine created.
I got up and started to move around the room, imagining I was an ocean plant, waving with the water currents around me.
Blogging is an interesting modality. Because what I write becomes public quickly, I do not take much time to reflect on the writing before publishing it. After my last post on Flowing I realized that I have a lot more to say on the topic.
Here is a montage of the teachings and ideas I have taken in about Flowing: learning to trust the ground, absorbing energy and information from the ground, feminine receptivity, receiving information, trusting your experience, noticing your feet, keeping your feet in continuous motion, dancing like you are planting seeds in the soil, honoring the Earth Mother, connecting with the vast Cosmic Mother, unconditional love, the ground as the foundation of everything—that which holds us, from which everything arises, and the thing that makes all other things possible. Flowing is the darkness. It is the galaxy before it took form. It is how we experience being in the womb and in infancy.
According to Gabrielle Roth’s teachings, each of the five rhythms has a special relationship to a particular body part. The body parts associated with Flowing are the feet. The feet, being an entire world away from our all-powerful heads, are too often neglected. Many new meditators who learn walking meditation, in which we walk and place the mind on the feeling of the feet and legs walking, literally cannot feel the sensation of their feet. Just noticing the simple fact that the floor is cold, for example, can be profound. In bringing our energy to our feet, we divert some of the head’s autocratic control of us into our physical sensations.
Once we know our ground, we can move into the other rhythms; but without a solid ground, our engagement with the other rhythms may be perverse, contrived, disconnected or imbalanced. At times I have arrived late to class and missed Flowing entirely. On these occasions I am more likely to accidentally knock into people, and less likely to feel deeply connected to the group.
Flowing, to me, is also acceptance. I don’t mean accepting abuse, accepting the decisions of unjust political leaders or anything like that. It isn’t giving-up-critical-reasoning kind of acceptance. Rather, it is acknowledging that our experience is happening as it is at a given moment.
When I first started to practice 5Rhythms and to listen to the teachings of Flowing, I noted that my way of relating to winter changed radically. Before, I despised winter. By way of protest, I never had a proper coat, gloves or hat. I fought bitterly against the reality of winter, tensing my body against the wind and bearing into it headfirst. Without making a conscious shift, one year I got a big, warm, puffy coat. I wore boots and gloves. Winter came and went, and for the first time, I wasn’t gasping for spring by the beginning of February. In this way, Flowing is the opposite of aversion in a Buddhist sense.
When my relationship of eight years ended, the teachings of Flowing again helped me through. My small son was just four months old; and I knew if I pushed against what was happening it would be hard for both of us. Instead, I settled into the grief with quiet awareness. I found a tenderness and love for myself, for my son, and for my former partner that opened my heart instead of closing it.
Re-reading this posting, I realize that my thoughts are all over the place. There is no driving thesis or clear idea, rather it is a meander through several related ideas. I am tempted to edit it for you, but instead, this time, I will leave its Flowing structure and hope that you can follow its dance.