Written By: Alan McAllister
Lying propped up in a hospital bed, I focus through my closed eyelids and perceive a sphere of dots around me. They look something like the pile in a carpet, clear and in focus, about five feet away. I can inspect them in detail. If I look away they are still there when I scan back. I’ve experienced things like this before. The presence of this sphere feels comforting as a protective bubble around me. Having just come out of an emergency operation for a ruptured appendix, protection is welcome. It creates a safe space for my awareness to float in while body focuses on healing itself.
Floating in interstellar space; the surrounding blackness is lit by millions of lights, the suns of the Milky Way. They are the only things provide a sense of space, direction or orientation. There is no weight, no sense of motion. The sum effect of billions of stars, seen and unseen, curves space-time and defines a path, a flow in the gravitational field of the galaxy. The path is called a geodesic, a curve in space that is a straight line in space-time; the shortest distance between two points, similar to the great circular flight paths that airplanes take around the Earth. Space-time is warped by mass, and direct paths are no longer what we call straight. These warps in space-time cause things to move, and we commonly call this gravity.
Letting go of the sphere, my attention returns to my body. There is not much pain now, though I have the sense that moving around isn’t a good idea. There are tubes in each arm, and one in my side. I haven’t eaten in several days and from my abdomen come varied sensations, from achy places to gaseous gurglings. I mentally reset Reiki symbols in my hands and hold them gently over the closed incision above my right hip. Deeply aware of the physicality of my body, it’s easy to let go of the outside world. I am focused on doing what I can to help my body heal from the pain and infection of the last few days, and from the recent intrusion by which the surgeon has left an empty space in my belly. Focused on being gentle with it, so as not to disturb parts that could reopen or re-infect, I come back to the Reiki over and over.
Weight is not the body reacting to gravity, but the result of the body pushing against something else. In space there is gravity and motion, but there is no perception of weight until some part of us touches the surface of something else. A skydiver is weightless until she hits the ground. Moving through the stars, orbiting a planet or free falling through the sky, a body is always in a gravitational field, following the path determined by that field. The past and future are unique stories, but in each moment the physics are the same. Only when something blocks one’s path, like the Earth below the skydiver’s feet, does one feel a sense of weight. Gravity comes into one’s awareness. Only when there is resistance to free-fall motion along a geodesic is there anything other than total non-resistance.
I relax as much as possible into being supported; supported by my bed; supported by my beloved, who has been with me through this whole journey, bringing me home-made bone broth and sleeping on the sofa bed; supported by a team of hospital staff that is monitoring and caring for me; supported by my guides and the Reiki life force. I have great gratitude for being so well supported. Letting go of everything else, I focus on my Being and my healing.
Flowing with gravity is easy out in space. Flowing with gravity while standing on the earth is still possible, but quite different. The pull of gravity must be allowed to pass through the body. This only happens with relaxation, learning how to eliminate all resistance from the body. This is sometimes called T’ai Chi, but you might imagine it as floating through space with your feet on a platform. Feel the earth with your feet and let all the tension and resistance flow downwards, so the body is balanced and relaxed. There is weight where your feet meet the ground, but not in the body. Weight is only sensed in the body if tension and resistance are present in the body. Standing under a waterfall or in the shower, feel the water passing effortlessly down the body. Let the pull of gravity slide down all your muscles and out the soles of your feet.
Though the appendicitis had been incubating for months, my life and path have now been unexpectedly stopped for a while. Flowing or stopped, I am able to focus on my core Self. I sense it as a central beam of light. I come back to this, and to the Reiki over and over. My mind, which really has no constructive role to play at this time, keeps spinning out regardless, trying to protect me, to plan or fix something, anything. I am usually aware of these things, and able to let it go and bring my attention back to center. I realize deeply that having a mantra, a core visual or the sense of my own heart is helpful in this practice of just being present. They all embody my intention to remember who I am.
Humans come from the Heavens and are grounded into the Earth. There is a universal flow of energy from Source to Ground in which each being is a pattern that exists on the surface of the planet. Surrendering to gravity helps us learn to relax and open to the flow of Life Force from Source to Ground. Gravity is the teacher in this. She will immediately point out where there is tension or resistance. Letting go of clinging in the body opens it to the flow of Chi, the vital force of Life. The Being becomes spacious and free. Fully releasing physical tension requires releasing emotional and mental tension- our internal holding patterns. Opening the heart and mind are prerequisites to opening the body. When we surrender rather than fighting with weight and resisting the ground, we inevitably open to Life. Things pass through the body and we remain ourselves.
I am an observant visitor in my interior world. A thought arises, and then, as usual, this leads to another thought. Trains of thought can stray all over the place if you let them. Lying here, I notice my mind providing a story, a whole drama unfolding at incredible speed. I am in awe of what the mind can do, yet I am outside of it. I am not caught up in the dream, but watching it with a separate sense of Self. In noticing this process, it becomes it is easy to let it go. Seated in my own sphere of inner awareness, I return to my Self.
Behind the visuals and runnings of my mind, I sense my physical body going off with a cellular alarm. In three weeks my daughter will get married on the east coast. I need to be there. This is something that’s harder to let go of. It’s good to be honest with myself about what I can detach from and what I can’t. My body has been through more than I’ve been conscious of, and I can feel that now. It is not ready to die. But the mental worries I can release. I breathe; take things as they come; trust all my support.
In traversing the geodesics of the galaxy, how does one come down to a planet, into embodiment? Until being of this Earth, a person is not extant as a human being, not grounded in any form. How to ride a geodesic through deep space and arrive here?
Between the stars, there is no way to set a new course for a traveling planet or moving body unless something is given up (or there is a collision!) Toss something one way, and a body will move off in the opposite direction. Action and reaction. Newton’s third law. This is how rockets and airplanes work. So even before landing on Earth, something must be released in order for us to be propelled in this direction.
Earlier today I gave up a part of my physical body. How has my course changed? This evening perhaps I will release more. I am grateful for the heightened awareness I am finding in all levels of my being. Only with awareness can I begin to let go. I now have an unusual opportunity to let go of the concepts and mental structures that govern my life. They have been stripped suddenly away and slowly they will be put back together. If I can stay present through the process, I can choose what to pick up again. I can determine what relationship I will have with those things I do choose to reintegrate.
This is the hard part. The cellular fear says to get through things fast. My body wants to get to a place where I know I’m going to be OK; then I can relax. But the practice is to relax here and now. Most things simply won’t release until I can be present with them; until I can to hold my pain or anxiety with compassion; until things move easily in my guts. It is an energy practice, relaxing so stagnated things can resume their flow.
Grounded on the Earth, there is contact with the Other, the planet that pulls a body close and yet blocks the geodesic to its core. While Earth supports us, she also gives us weight. Standing on the ground, relaxation is not as easy as it was out in space, suspended in free fall. To return to that relaxation, that clarity and spaciousness, we must look within rather than outside. Interaction shows what must be given up: the non-essential, the internalized Other; those things we resist or cling to; that which creates tension and prevents gravity from flowing effortlessly through our bodies into the ground.
Of the things I am holding, some leave easily and others cling tightly. I realize that behind these things there is always a part of me that does the holding. It is most important to be aware of these parts that feel sacred, sad, angry or inadequate. They will find new things to cling to until I acknowledge them, bring compassion to them and release them. In my eagerness to get through this space of physical uncertainty it is easy to skip over this deeper level.
So I pause, come back to being held and explore the inner aspects of myself that are frantic and scared. In my inner vision I conjure up a new safe place, a Japanese teahouse overlooking a large garden. I can close my eyes and come here to sit, meditate and be still. From within the teahouse I see a boy, my inner child, racing frantically through the garden; he is terrified. Over the course of a day or so, he slowly calms down until eventually I check in again and find him sleeping.
Involved in struggle with the Other, attention becomes focused externally. It becomes distraction, lost in the engagement with what needs to be released. Contact teaches, but only if attention stays at least partially internal. Conscious engagement shows where there is primarily struggle with the self, where things are internally muddy and confused. In allowing gravity to point these places out, we find ourselves guided to resolution and release. Once the self is open and clear inside, there follows the awareness of the Light of Being and it is possible to feel the Love that flows from Source. There is no more need to struggle, to be tired, to have aching feet. Whole and clear, the Self can reach out to the world, to family and friends, to the beloved in human form, and meet them without conflict, simply and harmoniously. Everything flows through and nothing is held back.
Being on a light diet of soup and juice, I am empty. Gases move through naturally and are released. Slowly fear and tension, pain and discomfort naturally ease and dissipate. My mind has been releasing old pictures furiously, but it finally begins to calm. I know that I am loved and nurtured by those around me. There is an inner spaciousness that results even from a violent clearing such as this, and into this space comes the infinite and abundant flow of Life Force. Experiencing this clearly, I relax and fully let go.
We are sailing through the galaxy again. Relaxed. At ease. Surrounded by billions of stars. The earth is a platform for our feet to rest as we maintain total inner peace and non-resistance.
Days pass, and I go home. Slowly I am eating more, becoming more physical again. I can still feel the inner flow energy and love more clearly than before this ordeal. I set a personal intention to maintain the deeper awareness of my body, mind and spirit that has been given to me for a while. This will be part of my yoga. I see how quickly my mind tries to override my body, to push an agenda or force a plan without checking in with the body that will actually carry it out. I want to allow my body more say in how and when I eat, digest, eliminate. The amazing inner world of my body has been through a great imbalance and clearing, and I need to remember this to keep greater balance in my overall awareness. When I lose balance, I can return to the hospital bed and recall that place of being in my space, of floating in space.
Listening to gravity as an ongoing practice, the body will make evident when energy is stuck and being held rather flowing freely. Listening to gravity gives one the awareness of Spirit and Life Force. It teaches one how to ride all geodesics.
How to take advantage when your world pauses.
When any life situation pauses your usual world, or you have found yourself in a time and place where it is easy to let go, allow your being to make use of it rather than rushing back to re-creating what is usual and normal.
– Let go of the pieces of stories, the fragments and pieces of your life. They are detached from you, floating in the void.
– Focus and center around the Self, body and Soul.
– Open to the awareness of the body as a sensory experience.
– Separate from personal aspects and let them relax or release.
– Notice the spaciousness and welcome the energies of Life and Love.
– Gently re-engage the outer world without losing your inner awareness.