“Hello. I am Beam of Pure Energy; Shimmering Reflection of Source. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Wouldn’t it be something to introduce yourself this way? A bit weird, for sure. Joking aside, it is interesting, though, that we are so removed from this sense of self that it seems downright silly. We are absolutely invested in our ideas of who we are and how we would like to be perceived. We use most of our time cultivating and nurturing these ideas of self, endure considerable suffering protecting them.
But if you take a moment, even in the midst of emotional turmoil, to observe what lies beneath the agitation, listen to what is under all the noise in our heads, there is a space like the eye of a tornado. This space within our core is unchanging peace and contentment, a still-point. There is a recognition of our Self that is steadfast regardless of all the seemingly important stuff going on that pulls at our attention. All the labels: married, divorced, employed, fired, home owner, renter, financially successful, heavily in debt, fit, flabby… none of it is all that important after all. Our essence remains the same; unshakeable, at peace, steady, pain free.
Though far from dwelling in this state, I’ve had glimpses. And although I’m no expert on the topic of Awakening, I can say with certainty that this state of quiet and bright felt sense in my centre feels way better than when I’m tangled up in the gyri of my brain.
We experience this still-point in our bodies as a felt sense, but there is a practical, physical aspect that is not metaphysical. When engaged, absolutely, in our centre, our deep ‘core’, there is grace and strength in movement.
In fitness land, the core is a term used to address the abdominal muscles. We are used to connecting with the exterior belly muscles, the rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques.
If we are merely superficially aware of the core, our body suffers. We need to include the muscles of the pelvic floor, the coccygeal muscles, the muscles of the deep spine – multifidi, the deepest abdominal muscle – transverse abdominis, and the diaphragm. These muscles, together, form a canister to support the spine and pelvis. It doesn’t matter how impressive your six pack, without the constant connection with this true core and centre, our bodies are not happy and injury is likely. In fact, most back pain is related to these muscles not engaging when movement of any kind is initiated. So if your pelvic floor is turned off, you are more than likely dumping into the ligaments of your spine when you jump back for a burpee. Your sacro-iliac joints and low back muscles may react when you swing that kettle bell.
We want to look good though, and feel like we are strong and fit, so we neglect going into our centre, that still point where grace and strength reside. Hey, I’m all for looking good! Why not explore both our exterior and interior strength?
First, though, it is important to step back and take pause. Are your deep core muscles engaging before you work on ‘core strength’? The following is a progression of exercises to help you connect to your true Core, so you can go about your day from this place of unshakeable, steady ease. If you approach them as you would gross motor movement muscle exercises (i.e. burpees, sit-ups), you will miss the value. Some quietness of mind and body are required to feel the work happening.
In Falling Into Grace, Adyashanti states, “We suffer because we believe what we think.” I, for one, would love to step off the roller coaster of analysis and judgement we impose on ourselves and others. Sure, I love my work as RMT, I love being a mother to a wonderful woman and friend, and I plan on cultivating these parts of my life. But underneath all that, I am drawn to this still point that weaves all of humanity together. Here, there is abiding contentment and wholeness.
Practice this sequence with me daily. Let me know how it goes.