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Welcome to the Temple Blog

At our very best we are all on a path of discovery. Why? Because life is always in flux and we resonate more deeply with existence when we are able to move and flow with the constant stream of change we call life.

This blog contains reflections of life as experienced through movement meditation both on and off the dance floor. I teach and love the 5Rhythms practice for many reasons but mostly for how it reminds me how to move more fluidly from one state of being to another. It shows me how to free myself, how to get unstuck. And it doesn’t do this with dogma, with words, with beliefs or theories. It simply offers a few simple yet profound tools then respectfully leaves us to our own learning, our own experience. Finding our own true flow is the most direct path to immersion in the great and infinite universal flow.

I trust that you find these blogs, which will sometimes include expanded versions of a theme I’ve touched on in my OlyWaves e-newsletters, as inspirations and reminders, as lanterns and catalysts for your own journey. I don’t claim anything I write here is true, but it is true for me.  I invite you to receive anything you read in these blogs as a potentiality. Take it in, try it on, then move with it, to find whatever truth is alive for you.

Black Dots

A Zen master had to choose his successor.

He drew a small black dot on a white board, called all his disciples together, and asked them to tell him what they saw.  All but one of them said that they saw the black dot.

One disciple alone told him “I see a huge expanse of white in which there is a small black dot.” He was chosen as the successor.

I heard this story for the first time two weeks ago when Lori Saltzman shared it with us at her workshop, 2Feet 2Freedom, to demonstrate how our attention tends to be drawn to the small bits of our lives that we arent happy or content with, and which to a great degree blinds and inures us to the vast amounts of grace that our lives mainly consist of. Does this truth strike a chord for you, beloved reader? Where does your attention tend to go? When on the dance floor, when in life, what black dots grab your attention away from the joy of simply being alive?

Since hearing Lori’s parable, I started applying a basic meditation technique – whenever I noticed my attention had narrowed onto a black dot, a problem, an irritation, a limitation, I simply brought it (my attention) back to the greater field. Soon I began to experience a freedom of choice, and a greater sense of expansiveness. Once I realized I have a choice, I started choosing the greater field (over the little dot) more often- and this has become a beautiful and enlivening practice for me.

But there is another level to this story, deeper and more subtle, that Lori was pointing to. Instead of just re-focusing away from our black dots, Lori showed us how can open our hearts to them, dance with them, find the beauty and the lessons they offer. We paired up. One partner would dance and the other would restrain (control) the dancer by the wrist- thus simulating the limitations (we perceive are) created by our black dots. At first I found myself limited and in opposition to the restraint, but soon I noticed the restraint resulted in a completely new dynamic. That’s when I started to get creative and have fun. Working with, playing with, opening my heart to the black dot, resulted in whole new ways to move and be in motion. Instead of feeling restricted by something beyond my control I felt a renewed sense of freedom and expansion.

Unbelievably, I found myself feeling grateful for the black dot I’d been given. Yes, I said grateful. I honestly cant remember the last time, if ever, I felt authentically grateful for a “problem.” How apropos, as we come up to a whole weekend of working with Gratitude, to recognize that there is something to be grateful for even in the things we don’t want or don’t like.

Yes our lives contain challenges. There are countless injustices that need to be righted, and a planet to be saved from deprivation and pollution, but those needs do not require us to live disconnected from the greater field. In fact the opposite is true. The more connected we are to the greater field, the more energy we have to recognize and address that which needs to be changed.

Extra Ordinary Moments

I would like to expand a little on the following quote from Osho that I put in our Oct 24 Newsletter. If you have already read the quote, you are welcome to skip to the second paragraph.

“Sometimes it happens that you become one, in some rare moment. Watch the ocean, the tremendous wildness of it–and suddenly you forget your split, your schizophrenia; you relax. Or, moving in the Himalayas, seeing the virgin snow on the Himalayan peaks, suddenly a coolness surrounds you and you need not be false because there is no other human being to be false to. You fall together. Or, listening to beautiful music, you fall together. Whenever, in whatsoever situation, you become one, a peace, a happiness, a bliss, surrounds you, arises in you. You feel fulfilled. There is no need to wait for these moments–these moments can become your natural life. These extraordinary moments can become ordinary moments – that is the whole effort of Zen. You can live an extraordinary life in a very ordinary life: cutting wood, chopping wood, carrying water from the well, you can be tremendously at ease with yourself. Cleaning the floor, cooking food, washing the clothes, you can be perfectly at ease–because the whole question is of you doing your action totally, enjoying, delighting in it.”

Many people, myself included, have misconstrued ”extraordinary moments” to mean moments that are incredibly exciting or pleasurable. Sometimes they are, but more often they are not. It is neither excitement nor pleasure that make a moment extra ordinary, that shakes it loose like a droplet,  from the river of time. What makes a moment extraordinary is the the quantity of attention we pay it and the quality of presence thus evoked.

Attention is something we pay (re: pay attention), and the coin we pay with is ourselves. The more of myself I give, the more space exists within me to receive, without story, without preconception, whatever is before me. The more of myself I pay, the more present I become. Simply being present transcends pleasure and excitement, and is the alchemy that transforms the mundane into the sacred, the momentary into the miraculous.

In one of his poems, Hafiz calls life a “blessed calamity.” And so life is- a mixture of the wonderful and awful, grief and joy, pain and pleasure. There is no practice, no religion, no meditation, no prayer, no god by which we can escape the joys and travails of life. But by approaching life, as Osho describes above, we can learn how to be with what is. We can learn to flow more easily from one state of being to another. We can learn how to stop resisting pain and discomfort and thereby reduce or eliminate suffering.

Truly, there are no moments that are not extraordinary. It is only the way we relate to them, to whatever is before us, that fools us into thinking otherwise. I invite us all to find our own unique ways to come into presence- and return to it, whenever we notice, we have drifted away.

Love & Blessings