Sacred Movement and Sufi Yoga

body awarenessWhen you move unconsciously, by habit or as an automatic reaction, you don’t feel the movement inside.  What movement? you ask me.  The whole universe is moving inside of you.

Our lives are a series of habitual actions, habits.  Habits have their place; without them we’d be exhausted at the end of the day for having to think about every action that we make.  If you analyze everything that you do during a day you’ll see how important habits are and if you study yourself even more, you should realize that, if you’re like the majority of people (I hope that that’s not the case, but anyway) you go too far.  Supposing that we’re at least a little awake, even so, for doing too many things by habit, we spend too much time “living” unconsciously — asleep.  It’s normal that we get in our cars the same way every time, that we dry ourselves exactly the same way after showering every day, that we get up, eat and go to bed at the same hour habitually, move around the house automatically and a thousand other things, however, the more behavioral habits and reactions we have, the more unconscious we become.  An excess of habitual behavior also causes a paralysis in the physical brain as well as the subtle body.

For good reason habits are associated with addictions — frequently the two words are used interchangeably.  An addict wants to hide from reality.  Drugs and alcohol have pleasing and seductive affects at first but lead to judgmental errors, distortions of reality, irresponsibility, laziness and other undesirable behavior, to say nothing of their adverse affects on the health.

In our life it’s comfortable to avoid changes, a lot of people prefer to be bored than to deal with new situations or challenges — they want security.  It’s all an illusion.  It doesn’t matter how responsible, systematic, careful, methodical, ordered, or organized you are, there’s no guarantee of material security.  In any moment everything could change and explode in your face.  This isn’t any argument in favor of irresponsibility, not planning your life or being unorganized, far from it, however, one has to be cognizant of the nature of life here on Earth.  If you trust in material life for your security, you’re going to end up gravely disappointed.

Modern science has a theory called the theory of chaos.  As precise as scientists are or want to be, it has been discovered, to their displeasure, that the universe is so intricate, with so many diverse forces or, as the scientists say, chaotic, that it’s impossible to predict with exactness, anything — they can only make approximations.  Imagine a mathematician accepting such a thing.  But they have, because that’s the way it is.

Actually the universe is perfectly organized but there are pockets of randomness here and there.  In the case of our lives, we simple don’t have all the control that we think we have.  Our lives are subject to the actions of thousands of other people the majority of whom we don’t even know.  Your destiny is in your hands but not in the way you think.  Even the law of cause and effect isn’t in effect in a lineal or visible form.  The world isn’t lineal, it’s multidimensional and what happens to us could be the result of things from another dimension or even time.

If you’re rigidly attached to your life the way it is, you are in risk of cracking.  It’s like the marvelous example of the Zen Buddhists and martial artists: they use as an example two trees, one is weak but flexible and bends in the wind and lives, and the other is strong but rigid and breaks in the wind.  Security is found somewhere else but not in this world.  I say cracks because that how they appear in the energy body.  “This world is a dream,” said Muhammad, the prophet of Islam (peace be with him), “when you die, you wake up”.  The Cabbalists say the same thing as do the yogis and many others.   Do you think they’re speaking metaphorically?  Wrong.  Don’t be deceived by the solid appearance of things and the lineal nature of time as we see and use it.  If you could see, really see, everything would appear as energy moving and changing and in no way solid.  But that doesn’t make this world and life any less important, they are very important.

It’s by doing practices like meditation, especially moving meditation and the meditation of zikr or mantra, that the true nature of what surrounds us becomes more visible.  From non-attachment comes freedom.

The term sacred, as we are using it, means received or directly reveled by God, a practice, movements or words, that bring us closer to the Divine and teach us about Him/Her/It.  There are languages, words and phrases, movements or physical positions that are of this nature.  Sometimes the position of the body is more important than what the mind is doing.  Today we see traces of many of these practices in ethnic dance and religious rituals both physical and vocal like movements during prayers, traditional signs made with the hands in specific situations and singing and chanting.  Also in the Kata, the series of predetermined movements used in training in the martial arts, Hatha Yoga and much more.  But, for the most part, the essence and purpose of these practices has been lost.  Not even the participants, nowadays know what they should feel or what they are doing.

That’s not to say they don’t feel anything, certain positions and movements as well as certain words in a sacred language, even if the participant doesn’t know what they mean provoke reactions in the body and senses.  A good example of this is Qi Gong, anyone who does Qi Gong exercises for some period is going to feel something. Mostly it´s taught nowadays for health or to develop power — inner power, something almost magical.  It conforms to natural laws but lacks the spiritual element and because of that real gains are impossible.  Properly taught one could see an elevation on consciousness and the development of inner senses and growth of the subtle body.
Only with the participation of the real mind, completing an energy circuit, is true development of a real awareness and cosmic vision possible from this type of practice.  Although we’ve talked about the real mind before, it’s worth repeating the concept and adding a bit more. 
The mind is the consciousness of the heart.  We are using the term ‘heart’ to refer to the real self, the part of us that is authentic, that is to say, not invented by the nafs/ego.  The heart is connected to the universal self and ultimately with God.  The mind doesn’t exist alone, it is, actually a canal connected to divine knowledge and guidance.  The reason we’re not in a state to receive the divine guidance that is constantly there to be had and we can’t feel and see that subtle organ, the heart, is because it’s covered by our attachments to this world, all that we love and that controls us; the material, illusory, desires and fantasies.
Now, how can we break the attachments, how can we liberate ourselves?  How can we identify what we should get rid of and what we should keep, what’s real and what’s false?  Should we become apathetic?  It´s easy to say, “cut the ties,” and, “surrender to God”, but how?  The world and life are full of deceptions.  First we have to identify what’s real and what’s false.  That’s the reason for doing exercises like Sacred Movement and forms of meditation.  Part of the reason for doing most forms of meditation is to occupy the attention by concentrating on something, be it the breath, words or images, to such a degree that the brain and it’s inner dialog are silenced.  But the meditation of Sacred Movement (Sufi Yoga) as well as of sacred words (zikr or mantra), reach further and don’t depend on the silence of the brain coming first.  These movements and corporal positions provoke the movement of vital energy in the body as well as attack the nafs/ego, dissolve rigidness in the subtle body, reestablish connections with the universal body, wake up the inner senses and open the door to divine knowledge and guidance. 
We’ll continue with the science of the physical and subtle bodies.
 
Yoga Sufí
      de la Tariqa Sufí Islamica Qadiri-Rifai
Avenida Arboledas 419
fracc. Arboledas 2a sección, Celaya, Gto..

 

 

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