The soft animal of the body

An exploration continues into the lower half of the body, the feet and legs, hips, pelvis, sacrum, and deep belly. These areas are energetically represented by Muladhara, or the root energy center at the base of torso, the pelvic floor, and the energy center Svadhisthana, or “dwelling place” in the pelvis, the deep belly. How often am I living “in my own head,” caught up in thought, fantasy, remembering, and planning? There is so much information for us from the body, but the mind so easily overrides, and I find myself believing in these changing phenomena, believing thought to be so real and true. Bless the patience of wisdom and nature, I touch into another experience, another “knowing,” an ancient body wisdom. I can think of moments when I’ve considered myself “above it all,” and in this energetically cut myself off from the body, especially the lower regions. So as the mind enters into body, we ask the breath to follow the mind into these lower body areas, down into the pelvis, the belly deep, the sacrum and hips, and from these areas are generated our sense of community and safety, creativity, emotion, and sense of self as well as other. From the hips on down, the connective tissue (which energetically is responsible for carrying electromagnetic energy) represents around 38 percent of our body according to a book I’m reading, Wheels of Light by Rosalyn L. Bruyere. What energy and power, both physically and spiritually the lower portion of the body holds. In yoga, this energy is called prana, which is life sustaining and brings vitality to the body. In standing poses I discover just how generalized the practice of standing on my own two feet can be, I discover strength and stability in poses, and away from my mat. Into the pelvis, hips, sacrum and deep belly, an awareness, mind and breath. What if we allow “the soft animal of the body” to emerge?

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.Wild Geese
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver, Dream Work, Grove Atlantic Inc., 1986 & New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press, 1992.


Two kinds of intelligence ~ Rumi

This week, a practice to open the chest and shoulders, moving into the heart chakra – anahata, or “the unstruck” and in this perhaps a glimpse, a sense of this spring overflowing its springbox. Can we discover this spring emerging from and returning to the deep well, from the waters of Svadhisthana, an outpouring spring-like into the heart?

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
through conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.