Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Pushing The River
IN OUR RETURNS to the quietness of restorative practice, we experience relaxation. Still, there may be a sense of not getting deep enough into listening to the body and to intuition. And as with many other events in our lives, we may try to “work” at making “progress.” And the harder we work, the more difficult progress may appear to become.
The process of relaxation, and listening and quieting is, paradoxically, both easy and complex. Relaxation is likely to be experienced in the first session, but other gains will be more effusive and elusive.
If the practice is sustained across time, the difference between where one started and when one is at now may not be noticeable. And yet, it will be remarkable. After a time, the view may be akin to having ambled up a mountain and looking back down into a beautiful moraine where the journey first began.
In all gentle body-mind practices, a qualitative change occurs across time. We may become less reactive to stress and conflict, and yet really not be that conscious of the change. We begin to know the core routine so well that we begin to flow from one action to another with so many basics not even brought to consciousness. We flow like a river rather than push the river.
Having become “smoother” and more efficient in our movements, we have likely amped down the rate of our metabolism. Our eyes might remain closed or soft throughout the practice, and there may be a sense of grace, without having a strong intention to make the practice graceful. There may be an increased sense of gratitude for everything, rather than gratitude as a state that we intentionally try to provoke in our awareness.
And so, the overall point: The deep practice of a quiet body-mind practice cannot be forced. To do so may be akin to trying to push a river, or trying to cut a river in half to see what is inside. Allow the practice to be just what it is, to flow just as it is. And across time, by returns, it flowers, and is graced.