There is a running joke amongst varying health care practitioners. It probably isn’t terribly funny to anyone other than someone who has experienced this, though (just as an FYI):
Possible Client/Patient calls: Hi Doc. I have had this issue for ten years. Can you help me with it?
Doctor/Therapist/Health Practitioner: Yes, that is something I have experience with and am quite effective at working with. Can you come in next week?
Possible Client/Patient: You don’t have anything open today? I have availability between 11:00 am and 1:30 pm.
See, that wasn’t funny to most of you. Some variation of this happens frequently to pretty much any sort of health care practitioner. I will be the first to say that sometimes there are emergency situations (in which case a holistic health care practitioner, spiritual worker, etc may not be the correct choice), but mostly we live in a culture that wants what it wants. And it wants it now.
And it should be said that it is admirable that anyone is willing to look forassistance. Far too often we suffer alone out of this misguided sense of rugged individualism when we could have gone and gotten support and felt better a long time ago. And many health care practitioners do have openings in their schedule, or aren’t busy, so they can accommodate these sorts. Pretty much every really good practitioner that I know cannot see you between 11:00 and 1:30 pm today, however.
Recently I also saw a commercial for Amazon. I don’t watch a lot of TV (I mainly am a Netflix gal), but there was a commercial where evidently you can get ice cream delivered within two hours (which allows the cute five year old boy to welcome the cute five year old girl to the neighborhood). There could be a lot said about our tendency towards immediacy and sense of necessity wrapped in materialism here. Or the fact that that wouldn’t work in Arizona, where it is currently 115 degrees.
But there is something to be said about breath here.
Forget the sort of natural rabbit hole of entitlement and “want it now” culture, or our inability to consider anything other than our own immediate needs… the sort of negative aspects of rugged individualism that plagues us because it means that we are unable to consider others around us.
Many of us have never been initiated into adulthood, and are locked into this toddler-like Veruca Salt mode where we cannot consider anyone other than ourselves and what we feel we need to get by. Most of us do not realize that the world does not revolve around us. This is to be forgiven, of course, because most people don’t recognize that they act this way, or that it is even possible to act another way… and that acting this way is causing a great deal of detriment to their lives… as well as greatly interferes with their capacity to love, and to be loved, by others. It also greatly interferes with feelings of being connected if you are unable to understand that you are not the center of the universe, but I digress…
We have lost the capacity to understand stillness.
In my study of Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy, there is a concept called the Breath of Life. It is the thought that we have varying flows throughout our body of energy. Some of these flows (called tides) are the energy that is inherent within our physical form, but the longest “tide” or flow is of our interface with spiritual flows.
This is important because at the center of ourselves is stillness. At the center of the universe is stillness. You can tell a lot about people who have cultivated this stillness– it emanates from them. Most people have energy that is quite frenetic– they are constantly in a “doing” state. They are always looking at what is next, constant worry and that need for immediacy.
When I first experienced a kundalini awakening, I went through a lot of processing (I still do, but this is in a different way now). Processing is basically the releasing of traumas, beliefs, emotions, and memories that are locked within the physical body. When someone “awakens”, especially when they do so quickly, this processing is (or can be) really overwhelming.
The first few years that I went through this (once I understood what was going on) was to get through as much material as I could as quickly as I could because I knew that it would make me feel better. I went to a CranioSacral workshop and started “processing” and got to the end of the piece of material that I was working on and immediately my system went into the next bit to process.
My teacher stopped me and told me that I needed breath, I needed to integrate the experience.
The point here was not to get locked into mental gymnastics about what I experienced, but to allow for my body and consciousness to recalibrate. To be patient and kind enough to it, to allow myself to have that breath, that stillness. That after a big piece of work, or a big step in our lives (or gearing up for that big step in our lives) we need a pause, we need this stillness, so that we can integrate the experience.
We are so used to doing, especially in the spiritual arena. We want to do, we want to seek. This is not necessarily a negative energy, but can lead to following the newest shiniest thing, the latest workshop (and so forth) without understanding or sitting with what we have learned in the past, or are currently learning in the present.
I have seen this a fair amount in my students. I could give someone something that would be life-altering (such as how to work with ancestral healing) and they would come back to me the next day and ask what they should do next… or tell me that a technique for managing their psychic sensitivities didn’t work because they tried it once and it didn’t have any effect.
I used to be like this as well. Anyone who looks at my resume can look at the degrees and the certifications that I hold and see that I studied pretty much anything and everything. I traveled the world seeking workshops, books, and teachers/gurus who had something of worth to tell me. But when I did this I became unfocused, scattered, and chaotic. I learned a lot in that period of time, but much of it was more about my identification as a “seeker” who constantly and consistently needed to “do” rather than any sort of body-based, grounded, or logical path.
One of the biggest difficulties in my spiritual path was when I went from seeker to being “found”.
I had spent so much time seeking and I got to a point where I was “found”, and I suddenly had no interest in books. The thought about traipsing across the world or endlessly seeking teachers who might have a glimmer of information for me was gone. At first I thought that there was something wrong with me. All I wanted to do was to sit in silence, or read some fiction, or sit outside by a tree.
But really what was happening was that I was discovering that all that I experienced, all I went searching for, had allowed for me to return to myself, to realize that I could gain more from sitting in silence than spending thousands of dollars following some teacher or going to a workshop.
We no doubt need catalysts for our path– a good teacher, book, healer, or workshop that can provide that catalyst is certainly worth taking.
But really we have so much frenetic energy, so much mental energy (overthinking, basically), and so many illusions about who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do that we have lost this stillness.
We have lost ourselves to chaos. To the sort of energy that causes us to look at our phones a million times a day, to the sort of idea that we have to be someone or something other than who we are right now. That doesn’t allow for us to truly sit with our spiritual path and allow in stillness so that it can truly transform our lives.
I realized at a certain point when I considered my body and my energy field that it was in pain. I was actually getting dizzy and nauseated on a regular basis and I sat down and communicated with my body consciousness. It told me that I had so much unprocessed material because I was so busy leap-frogging from thing to thing that I didn’t process much of it.
I was unable to because it was just too much to process… this was because I was constantly moving on to the next thing and not allowing breath, integration time. I lacked patience for my process to unfold and was forcing it, cajoling it, out of some misguided sense of the fact that I constantly needed to “do” and achieve and try to learn anything of value and to proceed on my spiritual path.
The concept of breath also is about allowing that stillness to flow through us. Yogic and other breathwork based modalities teach that we should be able to breathe into every place in our body (yes, every part). Every part of our physical body that we cannot breathe into naturally and regularly does not have “flow”. It has blocked energy, basically.
The more breath that we have, the more we are in flow. The more we feel flow, the more we can heal, the more we can be embodied, the more stillness (instead of chaos) emanates from us.
The more breath we have that flows through us the more we are in touch with spiritual flows. When we reach this state we can just allow ourselves to unfold. We can release anything that arises and come from a place of curiosity, peace, and understanding (as well as love) for ourselves and those around us. Our lives will become more peaceful, loving, and flowing.
Any sort of great spiritual “master” (for lack of a better word) has this stillness. It is palpable. You can have this stillness, this breath, this flow, even as you are actively “doing”. It is the quality of truly being in touch with the Void(s), with the deepest aspects of self. And it can only be reached if we allow ourselves this breath, this stillness, and the patience of knowing that things will unfold at the right times for us… we just need to follow the path that unfolds.