The Great Transition
September 2011 Newsletter
-Pathwork lecture # 75
We are on the verge of a great transition in human development. Amidst the backdrop of war, economic instability and great suffering, humanity is realizing its capacity for wisdom and love. Rather than trying to fix the world we live in, this transition encourages a transformation of what goes on inside us. This inner change increases personal health and happiness because a great deal of energy is liberated that would otherwise be used to maintain separation and conflict. Instead of residing outside the circle of life we become more of who we are because we are part of the whole. We connect with the true center of our being and in doing so can be of great benefit to ourselves and all of life. This is beautifully described in the Tao Te Ching (translation by Stephen Mitchell):
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.
Firmly rooted in the center of our being we loosen our grip on the fearful demand for security that causes us to try to control the events of our lives. We find a deeper security that arises from the integrity of who we are. “In this new kind of security,” says the Pathwork Guide, “you will not be deluded into believing that no more suffering can come to you, but you will not fear nor cringe from such suffering.” The outer circumstances of our lives may not change but when we are moved by currents of love and inspiration our relationship to these circumstances changes profoundly. This change in consciousness invites events into our lives that become the pathway to fulfilling our deep purpose as individual beings in an ever changing web of life.
Instead of being a static relationship with life, this state of consciousness has its foundation in a dynamic response to the changing nature of things. We all have had experiences where we’ve tasted the experience of “being in the flow.” During those times life seems effortless and we notice how the energy we embody affects people in a positive way. This dynamic relationship with life is at the core of everything that exists. Consider your own breath. The process of breathing does not exist in isolation. It is a highly interdependent activity. The oxygen produced to sustain our lives involves a complex series of interactions in the natural world. The carbon dioxide we produce in turn helps sustain the planet.
The breath also occurs in a cyclic pattern of rhythms that mirror a consistent pattern found everywhere. If you focus on your breath now you will feel the expansion that takes place on the inbreath. The lungs fill with air. There is a momentary pause at the top of the breath – you can feel into this point of balance – and then the lungs empty and contract. A momentary pause then occurs at the bottom of the outbreath before the whole cycle begins again. Everywhere in the universe we see this same pattern: energy is gathered/there is a momentary point of equilibrium or balance/energy is released/there is a momentary point of equilibrium or balance/energy is gathered (and so on). Filling and emptying, filling and emptying.
In a healthy individual energy is continually gathered and released. Trying to hold on to a particular point of equilibrium or “balance” restricts the flow of life. It would be like refusing to allow the sun to set at dusk. The psychiatrist Alexander Lowen pointed out that “A neurotic individual maintains a balance by binding his energy in muscular tension,” limiting movement, feeling and thinking. Lowen goes on to say that “A healthy individual has no limitation, and his energy is not bound in muscular armoring. All his energy is therefore, available for creative expression.”
So points of equilibrium or balance are momentary markers signaling the change from one thing to the next. In Tai Chi one moves through a series of predetermined moves and postures. For the beginning student it is helpful to name and learn the details of each posture. As the student advances she experiences the entire form as one continuous flow. The end of one “posture” becomes the beginning of the next. She connects with her own center of energy and is at the same time aware of what is going on around her. Her attention is deeply internal and at the same time intimately connected with the movements of the other practitioners doing the form. When a group gathers to practice Tai Chi the collective energy builds benefiting the individual practitioners as well as the group. For the Master the form disappears and becomes a continual movement of energy: gathering, releasing, gathering, releasing.
One of the things that draws me again and again to the practice of Cranio-Sacral therapy is the opportunity to work with this dynamic flow of energy. Through gentle touch the person receiving the work is supported in softening that which binds and restricts, promoting the natural state of deep relaxation and vitality that is the wellspring of health. In the process the tissues of the body once again “breathe” with the motion of life. The organs return to their proper relationship with each other, working together to support the entire mind, body and spirit. There is a natural ebb and flow of fluids, electrical impulses and vital processes that support the functions which constitute life. We become once again able to experience a genuine flow of feelings and the clarity of mind that engenders creativity and a beneficial relationship with all of life. This fosters the unique expression of creativity – the deep purpose in life – that contributes to this great transition in human development.
We are once again on the doorstep of the Autumnal equinox, a moment in the cycle of seasons when day and night stand in equal balance. From this vantage point we can contemplate the state of affairs in the world and feel into the particular deep purpose each of us offers to the web of life. What we have planted in the spring we harvest now and take into the meditation time of winter. Which fruits represent the gifts you have brought into this lifetime? If we give ourselves fully to the dynamic flow of life with tolerance and humility we become fully alive and offer that possibility to the human species. “Empty your mind of all thoughts,” says the Tao. “Let your heart be at peace. Watch the turmoil of beings but contemplate their return. Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source. Returning to the source is serenity.”
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