Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday, May 8: Chapter 7: Movement is Life, Waking Up

If we didn’t move, we wouldn’t be alive. If we move with awareness we rise up out of the level of unconscious automatons and become real human beings. This is all of us. Me walking to this computer, was I aware of each step? No. So, in those moments I was an automaton. Not bad or evil, this, but I was missing an awareness, a full awareness, of those moments. Me typing these words, am I aware of my fingers moving? Now, having asked the question, I am.

This is one of the glories of life, we can become aware, which means to be knowing what we are doing while we are doing it. We can also function habitually, going from morning to night according to our patterns, but to me, this isn’t really living.

When we came into this world, we were babies, more or less blobs. We could rotate our heads. We could move our limbs a bit. We could suck. Then, by experiment after experiment, we learned to move in ways that got us to roll over, or to grab the rattle, or to sit up. This learning was from inside us. It was trail and error. It was discovery. It was by using our attention and awareness that we became more and more clear on who we were and how we could move in the world.

We have this chance, now, as adults, to begin to move again with awareness and to not only increase the quality of our movement (which, in and of itself will improve the quality of our life), but the quality of our awareness, which, to my mind, is the core of our being.

Okay, okay. So much for the theory, let’s have some practice. Be in either a sitting or standing position. Rotate your head to the left and right, as if to look at something behind you. See how far you turn (do it easily, this isn’t a contest, but a chance t be aware) and what is the comfort in your neck and yourself as you do this.

Please place your right hand across your chest and into your left armpit. Feel your ribs on the side there, and if you can, come around back to feel a little of your left shoulder blade. Now place your left hand across your chest and into your right arm pit, feeling for the same connections on this side.

With yourself well hugged like this, rotate your chest and shoulders right and left.

Can you do this? Yes, of course you can, and then notice the tendency once we can do something to just go into automatic. Wee, rock and roll.

Fine, now do this slower and more mindfully. Do this at least 7 or eight times each way, and each time you do it you less effort and add in more awareness. How can you use less effort? How can you make this more enjoyable? What do you notice happening when you rotate your shoulders like this? What do you notice in your spine? In your neck? In your breathing? In the weight on your “sit” bones if you are sitting, or the weight on your feet if you are standing?

Now rest. Rests are good for the brain, good for the organism, good for learning.

Now, do this movement again and consciously turn your head the same way that you are turning your shoulders and ribs. Again, bring as much comfort and mindfulness to this as you can. Again, and in all the following movements, do this at least seven or 8 times in each direction, and each time you do it, add more ease and awareness.

And rest.

Now, do this movement, but leave your head facing straight ahead, so the shoulders are moving, but your head isn’t. Here, pay especially attention to keeping your breathing smooth and gentle and in awareness. Also notice your spine and your weight shifting.

And rest.

Now, do this movement of your shoulders and ribs in rotation and take your head the opposite direction. So when your shoulders and ribs rotate to the left, your head and nose turn to the right. And vice versa. This needs slowness. This needs breathing. This need doing smaller and more gentle moving so you are such that your breathing is easy and conscious as you do this.

And rest.

And now, simply rotate the shoulders and ribs easily, without any concern for or demands on your head.

And rest

And now, turn around left and right, to look behind you and see if there is a difference in quality and range of moving? If you have done this movement game with awareness and attention, there will be a pleasant change.


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