Sunday, February 7, 2010

Being with Self; Being with All

Thankfully, today's practice felt steadier and more stable than yesterday's. I flowed through the movements and moments with greater ease and peacefulness. Afterwards I sat quietly for five minutes. Sr. Antonia suggested at last weekend's retreat that we take a few minutes after each practice to simply sit, feet flat on the floor, and receive.

I can't explain what it feels like to receive since it's so momentary and non-intellectual. It is definitely a sensory experience. Today I felt great quietness, heat, fullness. Yes, that's right, I was filled up. But what filled me? Chi? Peace? Contentment? Gratitude? Relief? Silence? I could ask more questions, present more hypotheses, but what I most wanted was to sit quietly receiving whatever it was that came to me.

My quiet moments reminded me of a story Sr. Antonia shared in the film, On the Road Home, which I re-watched last night. Sister mentions an instance when she sat down for Centering Prayer and realized that she was anything but centered. Instead she rose and went into her t'ai chi chih practice. A half-hour later--post-t'ai chi chih--she returned to her Centering Prayer; she was now fully present ... in the moment.

And perhaps that's what I felt today: deep presence and a connection to All. I recently read an excerpt from Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth in which he writes about walking the labyrinth. It reminded me of t'ai chi chih practice....
     The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.
                         From: The Mystic Vision, p. 27

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