The Master does nothing, yet nothing is left undone.Lao Tzu
The other night, two friends of mine introduced me to their innovative process of movement, which involves improvisation in the body. It reminds me that the body has a vocabulary, and that the body is more than the form. The form is what we see, but it occupies a much greater space in consciousness than that.
Early awaking thoughts.
learning to relax
The space we occupy in form is inhabited by our awareness, which has many dimensions, and goes back and forth between dimensions, I would say. Inner and outer, personal and transpersonal, physical space and mental space. In ways that I certainly don’t say I understand, I can feel the way, when I stay relaxed, creating happens in the space I occupy in the body. And yet, this space is also the universe, and my relation to it. So when I am relaxed in my body, creating in my life happens more easily. (How is that, asks the mind, always hungering for an answer.)
In this way, how we are with our body, our minds, and the world, are related in ways that Linear Mind just does not understand. It is quite possible that there is a relation between only sitting/standing; expressing a narrow range of emotions; and only seeing certain realities (or possibilities). It is possible that embodiment in the physical form is such a central part of our involvement in the world that everything we experience returns back to it as an extension of it, a reference point.
This is why when we say someone is “stiff”, it does not just mean they have tense muscles. And when we say someone is stretching, it does not always mean they are limbering up their appendages.
In the I Ching translation by Brian Browne Walker, there is a hexagram that speaks like this: When you struggle and strive, you crowd the space where The Creative is attempting to operate.
The experience I have is that striving creates a blockage. And yet: vigorous effort creates results. How do we stay focused without getting anxious? How do we keep on task without losing connection to the relaxed nature of everything around us? (Nature is relaxed.)
working with joy and knowing the result will come
letting the Tao flow through your work; working with ease
worry, constriction, frustration, straining—all stop the flow of the creating power
All forcing leads to discomfort, struggle, and suffering. Yet nature makes great things—without anxiousness.
We join spokes together in a wheel,Tao Ta Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
There is an exercise in the Resurfacing Workbook. After many practices of directing your attention to different things around you, it has you reduce the effort you are using to keep your attention on various spaces around you—all at once. Were you to try to do this from your mind, you might get very anxious. And trying to relax would just make you nuts! —But when we ease into it, it is not so hard. I think a lot of awakening is like this too—learning to let go, which is more of a stopping doing than a doing something. (The mind hates that for some reason, emperor of form and all that. The fact that we are in consort with a universe, with which we are collaborating, is a little weird to the mind. (Is the mind just tension? There is some unavoidable relation there….)
We do not normally practice doing while staying relaxed. We more often alternate frenetically between struggling and resting. Working our asses off (I hate Mondays!) and fleeing from that on the weekends (Thank God It’s Friday!).
When you were at your most productive, were you having fun? Were you in the flow?
Is flow produced best by:
a) Lots of straining, struggling, and making ourselves wrong for what we haven’t created yet?
b) Following the enjoyment of the moment?
I suspect a major key to all of this is learning to enjoy the things we have chosen to resist. (Although another one may be letting go of things we thought we had to do, in order to get what we want; but don’t actually have to do at all).
And of learning to practice enjoyable, focused, unrestricted attention.
Relax, and enjoy the flow of all your creating!