by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys published in Shakti Yogi Journal
Not all that are paused are stuck
Lying propped up in a hospital bed, I focus through my closed eyelids and perceive a sphere of dots around me. They look something like the pile in a carpet, clear and in focus, about five feet away. I can inspect them in detail. If I look away they are still there when I scan back. I’ve experienced things like this before, especially in the circular temple I love. The presence of this sphere feels comforting as a protective bubble around me. Having just come out of an emergency operation for a ruptured appendix, protection is welcome. It defines a safe space that my awareness floats in while body focuses on healing itself.
Floating in interstellar space; the surrounding blackness is lit by millions of lights, the suns of the Milky Way. Only the stars provide a sense of space, direction, or orientation. There is no weight, no sense of motion. Though it can’t be felt there is motion but the stars are too far away to shown it. Flowing in the gravitational field of the galaxy; the sum effect of billions of stars, seen and unseen, curves space-time and defines a path. The path is called a geodesic, a curve in space that is a straight-line in space-time. The shortest distance between two points, similar to the great circle on routes that airplanes fly on Earth. The shortest route from Denver to Paris goes over Greenland not New York. Mass warps space-time and direct paths are no longer what we call straight. The warps in space-time cause things to move. We commonly call this gravity.
Letting go of the sphere; my attention focuses back into my body. There is not much pain now, though I have the sense that moving around isn’t a good idea. There are tubes in each arm and one in my side. I haven’t eaten in several days and my abdomen is full of many sensations from achey places, to gaseous gurglings. I mentally reset Reiki symbols in my hands and hold them gently over the closed incision above my right hip. Deeply aware of the physicality of my body, it’s easy to let go of the outside world, to let it take care of itself for a while. I am focused on doing what I can to help my body heal from the pain and infection of the last few days, and from the recent intrusion of the surgeon which has left an empty space in my belly. Focused on being gentle with it, so as not to disturb parts that could reopen or re-infect, I come back to the Rieki over and over.
Weight is not the sensation of the body reacting to gravity, but the result of the body pushing against something else. In space there is gravity, and motion, but there is no perception of weight until feet touch the surface of a planet or moon. A sky diver is weightless until she hits the ground. Moving through the stars, orbiting a planet, or free falling through the sky, a body is always in the gravitational field, following a path determined by that field. The past is a unique story, but in each moment the physics is the same. Only when something blocks the path, like the Earth below her feet, is weight felt, does gravity come into awareness. Only when there is resistance to free fall motion along a geodesic is there something other than relaxation.
Lying in bed I relax as much as possible into being supported. Supported by my bed. Supported by my beloved, who has been with me through the whole journey, and is now bringing me home-made bone broth and sleeping on the sofa bed. Supported by the multiple levels of hospital staff who are monitoring and caring for me. Supported by my guides and the Reiki life force. I have great gratitude for being so well supported. Letting go of everything else I focus on my Being and my healing.
Flowing with gravity out in space is easy. Standing on the earth flowing with gravity is still possible, but quite different. The pull of gravity must be allowed to pass through the body. This only happens with relaxation, learning how to eliminate all resistance from the body. This is sometimes called T’ai Chi, but you might imagine it as floating through space and simply bumping into an object with the feet. Feel the earth with them, let all the tension and resistance flow downwards, so the body is balanced, relaxed, and everything else is beneath the feet. Where they meet the ground there is weight, but not in the body unless there is tension and resistance. Standing under a water fall, or in the shower, feel the water slide over the body. Let the pull of gravity also slide down all the muscles and out the feet.
My life and path has been stopped for a while; unexpectedly, even though the appendicitis had been incubating for months. Flowing or stopped I am still able to focus on my core Self. I sense it as a central beam of light. I come back to this, and to the Reiki over and over. My mind which really has no constructive role to play right now, keeps spinning out anyway, trying to protect me, to plan or fix something, anything. I am more than usually aware of this and more than usually able to let it go and bring my attention back to center. I realize deeply that having a mantra, a core visual, or the sense of my own heart, is helpful in this practice of just being present with my Self. They all embody the intention to remember who I am.
Humans come from the Heavens and are grounded into the Earth. There is a universal flow of energy from Source to Ground in which each body/being is a pattern that exists on the surface of the planet. Learning to relax and open to gravity helps learning to relax and open to the flow of Life Force from Source to Ground. Gravity is the teacher in this. It will immediately point out where there is tension or resistance. Letting go of what the body holds, opens it to the flow of chi, to the presence of Life. The Being becomes spacious and free. Fully releasing physical tension requires releasing emotional/mental tension and holding. Open the heart and mind as well as the body. Opening to gravity, opening to life, release everything into the Earth, be grounded, rather than fighting with weight and the ground. Grounded, things pass through the body and we remain ourselves.
In my interior world I seem to have a different relationship with my thinking mind than usual. A thought arises, and then, as usual, this leads to another thought. Chains of thought can ramble all over the place if you let them. But lying here I notice that after a step or two, my mind suddenly provides a whole story, movie, or drama. Moving at incredible speed in thought and vision. I am in awe of what it can do, but I am also outside my mind a little more than usual. I am not caught up in the dream, but watching it with a separate sense of Self. Noticing this process it is easy to let it go, to call myself back to being my Self in my own space and sphere of inner awareness.
As I release the mind and the visuals, I think myself through being whole and healing. In three weeks my daughter will get married on the east coast. I need to be there. This is something that’s harder to let go of. Underneath the usual thought level, I also sense that my physical body is vibrating with a cellular alarm. Mental worries I can release, just breathe and take things as they come. Trust all my support. But my body has been through more than I’ve been conscious of and I can feel that. It is not ready to die. It is good to be honest with myself about what I can detach from and what I can’t.
Riding the geodesics of the galaxy, how does someone come to a planet, come down into embodiment? Until standing on the Earth a person is not present as a human being, is not grounded. But how to leave a geodesic in deep space and arrive here? There is no way, in between the stars, to set a new course for a star or for a planet, unless something is given up. Toss something away and a body will move off in the opposite direction. Action and reaction. Newton’s third law. This is how rockets, and airplanes work. So even before landing on Earth something must be released in order to change course to get here.
Earlier today I gave up a part of my physical body. how has my course changed. This evening perhaps there are other things to be released. I am grateful for the heightened awareness of all levels of my self. Only with awareness can I begin to let go. I now have an unusual opportunity to let go of the concepts and mental structures that make up my life. They have been stripped suddenly away and slowly they will be put back together. If I can stay present through the process I can choose what to pick up again, and what relationship I will have with what I do pick up. This is the hard part. The deep fear says to get through things fast. It wants to get to the place where I know I’m going to be OK; then I can relax. But the practice is to relax here and now. Most things won’t release until I can be present with them; to hold my pain, or anxiety with compassion, to let things move easily in my guts. It is a strange sort of T’ai Chi, but that is what it is. Relaxing so things can flow again after having been stopped.
Grounded on the Earth, there is contact with the Other; with the planet that pulls a body close and yet blocks the gravitational path to the attraction of its core. Earth supports us, and also gives us weight. Standing on the ground, relaxation is not as easy as it was out in space, in isolated free fall. To return to that relaxation, that clarity and open spaciousness, it must be found inside rather than outside. Interaction shows what must be given up, those things that are not essential, that are internalized Other; the things that are resisted or held onto, the things that create tension and prevent gravity from flowing effortlessly through the body into the ground. Render unto Caesar those things that are not ours, or that we are finished with.
Of the things I am holding onto, some leave easily and others I’m apparently still attached to. I realize that under these things there is always a part of me that does the holding. It is most important to be aware of are these parts that feel sacred, sad, angry or not enough. They will find new things to hold until I acknowledge them, bring compassion to them and release or re-task them as well. This deeper level of letting go and healing is easy to skip over in my eagerness to get through this space of physical uncertainty. Pausing, I come back to being held, and explore the inner aspects of self that are frantic and scared. My inner vision conjures up a new inner safe place, in a Japanese teahouse overlooking a large garden. I can close my eyes and come there to sit, meditate, and be still. I find there also an inner boy frantically racing through the garden. He is terrified. Over the course of a day or so he slowly calms down until eventually I check in and find him sleeping.
Involved in struggle with the Other, attention becomes focused externally. Distracted, it becomes lost in what is being engaged and needs to be released. Contact teaches, but only if attention stays at least partially internal. Conscious engagement shows where there is primarily struggle with the self, where things are internally muddy and confused. Allowing gravity to point these places out they can be resolved and released. Once the self is open and clear inside, there follows the awareness of the Light of Being and it is possible to feel the Love that flows from Source. There is no more need of struggle, of being tired, of having achey feet. Whole and clear, the Self can reach out to the planet, to family and friends, to the beloved in human form, and meet them without conflict, simply and harmoniously. Everything flows through and nothing is held back.
Being on a light diet of soup and juice I am empty. Gases move through naturally and are released. Slowly fear and tension, pain and discomfort ease and dissipate. My mind has been releasing old pictures furiously, but it finally begins to calm. I know that I am loved and nurtured by those around me. There is an inner spaciousness that results from even a violent clearing such as this. Into this space, which I presently so aware of, comes the flow of Life Force, the healing of Reiki, the Love of my beloved. Experiencing this clearly, I relax into and rest with my Self.
We are sailing through the galaxy again, relaxed, at ease, surrounded by billions of stars. And we are on a planet being human, equally at ease and at peace.
Days pass, and I go home. Slowly I am eating more, becoming more physical again. I can still feel the inner flow energy and love more clearly than before. I set a personal intention to keep some of the deeper awareness of my body, of my mind and spirit that has been given to me for a while.
This will be part of my yoga, not just being more aware of spirit and energy but also my body. I realize how easily my mind tries to override and rule my body, to have an agenda for physicality, a plan, or pattern without checking in with the body that actually carries it out. I want to allow my body to have more say in how and when I eat, digest, eliminate. The amazing inner world of my body has been through a great imbalance and clearing and I need to remember this, to keep greater balance in my overall awareness.
Listening to gravity as an ongoing practice, the body will tell you when energy is stuck and being held rather than being in flow. Listening to gravity gives awareness of Spirit and Life Force and teaches how to ride all the geodesics.
My body is how I feel emotions and energy, love and joy. I need to be aware of it in order to let it care for itself, but that same awareness also gives me have all these other blessings too. When I need to I take myself back to the hospital bed and recall that place of being in my space, of floating in space. I can feel this deeply whenever I need to center and ground.
Hawking, S.W., A Brief History of Time, Bantum, 1988.
Misner, C.W., Thorne, K., and Wheeler, J.A. Gravitation. W H Freeman, 1973.
How to take advantage when your world pauses.
When a life situation pauses your usual world, or you have found a place and time where it’s easy to let go, allow your being to make use of it, rather than rushing back to re-creating the usual and normal. That will come on it’s own.
– Letting go of the pieces of your life, floating in the void.
Sometimes life puts you in a situation where the outer world is deconstructed in some way. It may be abrupt, but it an also be gentle, like a hike in the mountains. It is always an opportunity to pause and notice what is left inside you when part or all of the outer world goes away.
– Focusing and centering on Self, body and Soul.
In your practices, or in special circumstances, cultivate inner focus and awareness. Develop an inner anchor that represents your core sense of Self. Mantra, inner visual, or a feeling in your heart, it will help guide you home whenever you need to center.
– Open to awareness of the body as a sensory experience.
The body is full of awareness. It is a great antenna for all the levels and aspects of being. Cultivating awareness of the body gives access to all the information they contain.
– Relaxing the body.
In any situation notice where you are tense or resisting something. Use awareness to help you relax. This will improve the ease and efficiency of whatever you are doing.
– Separating from personal aspects and let them relax or release.
Inner sensations of all sorts usually have emotions and often stories attached to them. Focusing on the physical, frees all levels to complete and release. It is especially important to let go of judgmental components.
– Notice the spaciousness and welcome the energies of Life and Love.
When the body has relaxed, when the being has relaxed, there is spaciousness which naturally fills with Life Force and Love. They allow you to recognize and connect directly to the sources of your Being.
– Gently re-engage the outer world without losing your inner awareness.
Once you have centered and connected to your power, you can re-engage with the outer world on your own terms. Being full of Love that flows endlessly into your heart let it overflow out into the world.
Simple Above-Below Meditation: Finding a comfortable position. Give yourself a breath. Center in your Being and release the outer world. Connect to Source, feeling Love in your heart. Let it naturally fill your body/being. Watch it continue to expand. Be certain that you are allowing Source energy to flow through you, be relaxed, without effort. It fills the room, the building, the local area, the state. Watch it expand around the world, noticing other love fields from your brothers and sisters. Like gravity it will continue to radiate outwards to fill the solar system and the galaxy.