Homeward Ground

Photo credit  Ryan Christodoulou  |  Unsplash

The ‘identity’ stance in Biodanza is standing with the feet anchored slightly apart for maximum stability, the hands relaxed but ‘at the ready’ open to our sides and pointing down. Everything is still, as if we’re rooted to the spot. We feel strong and ‘grounded’…

We associate security with the earth beneath our feet. Wires are ‘earthed’ for safety. We tell each other to ground ourselves.

But how often do we take time to stand still? And what it is that we plant ourselves into when we do?

Paradoxically, its that sense of space, of ‘being’. We can’t imagine (literally, we can’t imagine) life without it. Nothing grows in a vacuum. We want to explore it, and we do much more fully here, but first let’s inhabit it…

Oddly enough, what defines space is its lack of definition. Like the dark warm soil in which seeds find life, or the womb which enfolds the embryo, form is unseen.

So how DO we know it’s there? We can’t know it, but we feel it. How do we feel it? Say ‘ah’ and you’ll find you inhaled it!
— Pearl's Pearl

Meditation and mindfulness (such a spectacular oxymoron) have become so active through overuse some treat them as ‘exercise’ regimes! I prefer the word ‘rooting’ to describe simply being here, in the only space we’ll ever find.

This is how I am ‘rooting’ for us: by consciously remaining here. Where? Wherever ‘here’ is. Can you ‘root yourself’ right now? Because home, our Foundations are everywhere. And - with the immaculate mystery of sound and the English language - when I’m rooted here now I can hear you. I am rooted in my sub-stance: space. This the soil of my being.

Irrespective of whether your lifestyle embraces or destroys life, security - which engenders the freedom to act without fear - comes from being a ‘remainer’. Remaining here.

Here is the only place action can ever ever happen. Hear, here:

The bizarre thing we humans do with this space is to rush round madly trying to fill it up (often with stuff which is poisonous to the home and heart-land which supports us), run away from it or neglect it because we think it will be better, richer, or that we’ll find ‘our nature’ elsewhere… We and every element around us is ‘our nature’ - we can no more get away from it than stop breathing.

Indeed, Maya Angelou told Bill Moyers in an interview in 1973, ‘You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all.’ Like all the best things in life, it’s a paradox [more here on paradoxes].

Stephen Mitchell in his interpretation from Chapter 11 of the Tao Te Ching, puts it beautifully as he says:

‘We hammer wood for a house
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being
but non-being is what we use.’

Try and understand this and my head-space gets cluttered with what it can’t grasp. Sense it and appreciating the forms my senses confirm surround me and I am, paradoxically, acknowledging space ‘in form’.

... so whenever you come up with a solid conclusion, let the rug be pulled out. You can pull out your own rug, and you can also let life pull it out for you...

One way to pull out your own rug is just by letting go, lightening up, being more gentle, and not making such a big deal.’
— Pema Chodron from 'Start Where You Are'

WARNING: I am intent on ‘rooting’ for space which supports life. So, with a few quotes and a ditty which I relish as being as irritating as the insurance company’s jingle which inspired it, I propose to pull this multi-patterned rug from under your feet and suggest it represents a cover up. The common culprits? …

  • Beliefs Belief binds us, blind us: life is ‘beyond belief’. I constantly play with this idea from Caroline Casey who I heard on a Sounds True interview over a decade ago saying, ‘Believe nothing, entertain possibilities.’ It serves me well as a maxim. Byron Katie simply asks - of the things of which I am most certain - ‘Is that true?’ And we discover it seldom is.

  • Ideologies, religion, tribalism, race and ownership weave seductive patterns to get lost in. There are possibly others, but the one which uproots me from here without a second’s thought is…

  • Comparison (I’m not talking choosing apples at the market!) Krishnamurti asks, 'With experience comes comparison … Does that comparison help you to really understand?’ The moment I compare you with me, last week with an hour ago, this projection with that projection, I’m doomed to moving away from here. Want a way to remember its dangers? Try chanting the ditty below or taking Pema Chodron’s suggestion above very very seriously ;)

Don’t you dare go compare!
In a trice you’ll find you’re neither here nor there!

Don’t you dare go compare!
It’s the swiftest way to starve your roots of air!
— Pearl's Pearl

Nevertheless, all these elements (along with fear, hate and all manner of other 'worrisome feelings’) will no doubt appear. But space allows for everything, read more in ‘Love Me Tender’ (and many other places to follow).

Would civilisation as we know it exist if were lived from the standpoint of ‘remaining here’? I don’t know, and hear both ‘yes’ and ‘no’… which brings us neatly to the subject of paradox.