Cynthia Winton-Henry–A Mystic Tech Spritual Instruction Module (SIM) on stuff they don’t teach in Sunday school, Temple, or PE.
Your Mystic Body Initiation: How to Enter Your Mystic Body and Lovingly Honor Your Everyday Body…
Mystics have been on the cosmic web forever. Visions, dreams, and sensory listening were once our nightly entertainment and the only means of travel. Elders often dreamt mighty dreams as the young were initiated into visionary realms. All people lived under the stars, in the meadows, and on shore-hugging mountains and knew themselves as part of our vast mysterious world. Many people felt direct connection with Something Greater.
Humans today still seek awesome physical places to recharge our connection to the mighty web of life in and around us. We’ll journey for days to taste the mystery of life if we can no longer sense surprise, awe, and wonder in our own lives.
It’s ironic that the Great Web is more and more visible thanks to the Internet. Through technology we can again:
• connect to resources far beyond us.
• use imagination to travel to virtual worlds.
• extend our field of concern to the entire planet.
• tune into multiple views of reality.
• open to technologies (how to do things) as distinct from beliefs.
• think, feel, and process information faster.
• learn to manage and filter information.
• empower visual, emotional, kinesthetic, & perception.
Humans are growing webbed feet, fingers and hearts. Some of us are turning into amphibious online web correspondents who teach others to navigate the web. Like
Silicon Valley garage gurus we are in search of user-friendly, elegant mechanisms to help people “hook up” to the mystic web.
While I praise the Internet, the human body remains the best Eye-Phone ever. We have more apps and cellular technologies than we know how to download and some of the same hardware problems. We crash, have trouble streaming too much rich data, and need to constantly update our systems. Still, I propose that bodies, not machines provide the best route to phenomenal living. You needn’t be beautiful, smart, healthy, rich, or have a lot of machines to go on the big ride!
How? First of all, let life be a mystery! Knowing stuff is not our destination. Wonder is. And the best route to wonder? Start playing. Lets experiment!
Instruction #1 How to Enter Your Mystical, Big Body
You’ve probably experienced moments where you felt free, big, and as spacious as creation itself. When you opened up the sky seemed bluer. Think about that time. Now consider that around the world when people open their bodies they literally do open up.
What if by lifting up your arms you can literally hook up to the BIG WEB of life? It’s like turning on your computer. Your body knows how to connect to a bigger, higher sense. Dancers, Artists, Singers, Kids, and Ecstatics do it naturally.
We can “open up” our mind, but that takes the most effort and isn’t as reliable. Use your guts, heart and will and WOWEE! You’re using more apps!
PUT YOUR FLAPS UP TO CONNECT YOUR BIG BODY!
In humans three physical systems give us high speed, reliable connection: the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric. The second brain in the gut is key to body wisdom. While many scientists, religious leaders, and academics focus on head and heart, Philip Shephard in New Self, New World: Recovering Our Senses in the Twenty-First Century reminds us that our gut, what the Japanese call hara, is foundational. Instead of listening to the body with our mind, he encourages listening to the world with our body. When our kinesthetic sense is healthy and turned on, our psycho spiritual neurological circuitry begins to interplay.
When we align body, mind, heart, and spirit, our soulfulness activates.
One of the fastest ways to flip on your light switch is to put your FLAPS UP!
Flaps Up is so doable it’s embarrassingly easy to forget. Just a century ago people put their flaps up all the time. They prayed, played, and lived bigger physical lives. Singing, dancing, and getting physical were the mainstays that creatively boosted us into higher states. Whole groups did it. It wasn’t just up to me or you to get high.
Now we’re taught to act like machines: Produce, Produce, Produce. If we move we feel shy and are afraid of looking nuts.
If being down in the dumps is your normal, consider “cheering up.”
PUT YOUR FLAPS UP!
Ever felt that pinch between your shoulder blades like someone grabbed you by the wing? Ouch. You’re made to spread your wings if not fly. What if wing and back pain intensify when your big spirited creativity is clamped down? What “holds you back?” Don’t just tell others off, shake them off!
Do you need some space? Indian Vedic wisdom names the five elements as earth, air, fire, water, and SPACE! You don’t have to go to Mumbai to know how precious space is. Space is needed everywhere. One way to get some breathing space is to take space.
The flaps up feeling is too beautiful to leave to kids and performers. Those who do yoga, dance, and InterPlay literally expand consciousness and open up to a world, an energy, and a power greater than the self.
Once you know how to open up big and wide you won’t always have to walk around with your flaps up to explore mystical experiences of bodyspirit. Try this.
• Reach out your limbs and open your heart.
• Maintain this physical awareness.
• Now lower your arms.
• Enjoy this “flaps up feeling” inside of you with your arms down.
Some of us are unconsciously wide-open. We over-extend much of the time. I had a tendency to hang out in the big visionary state until I learned that this “flaps up” feeling needs to be a choice, not a demand or default. Since it’s delightfully addictive to feel big, it required that I learn the joys of being little.
Do you tend to operate with your sensory flaps up or down? Do you open up with your mind and/or body? What if you could regulate that?
Instruction 2: How to Embrace Your Little Body
We’re not designed to operate with Flaps Up all the time. Our everyday, ordinary body is as humble as an orange, yummy and sweet. How beautiful.
Why not drop your flaps, hang out, be little and be sweet?
Little you is not a big know it all, saint, or wiz. You are designed to be simple and loveable, to lovingly create, play, rest, and be with each other. What makes this fun for you?
Notice where you are right now. What might you enjoy about this place?
When mystics talk about be here now, they invite us to consider the greatest adventure of all, actually living life on planet Earth just as it is, full of glory, beauty, depth, light, creativity and danger.
In my living room the early morning sun streams in like no other time of day! The rust colored couch feels soft and my coffee is hot. My dog, sits with his head tilted, resting on the back of the sofa, charming me. From my vantage point I delight in five works of art that I made.
Appreciating the world around us can offer us the way of contemplative wonder.
Are spiritual teachings and activists asking you to be better, smarter, bigger, bolder and more out there? If humans were designed to be saints wouldn’t it be easier to accomplish? What does the Body Want?
We can feel smug when celebrities, politicians, and wise people can’t maintain their big, idealized personas and when the “high-minded” or just plain “high” people have to resort to substances and crazy behaviors to stay up. People can develop intense shadows at such height!
What if we are not supposed to be big all the time? What if we we’re not required to hook up all the time? Could being big and little coexist?
Are we supposed to merge these states? How might we embrace both our Big Body and Little Body? How would this work?
Studying the wisdom attributed to indigenous
shamans I found a secret. Medicine people speak of
two selves, what I’ve come to call the little self and
the big self. (See Arne Mindell, The Shaman’s Body).
They use a technology called twoness, the Twin, the Double, and the Other. Shamans don’t need to integrate these two selves. They access “higher, visionary powers” through strong, full connection to divine support and are also content to live as humorous, hungry, if not strange humans. In a lot of ways this allows them to live with more honesty, humility, and irreverent ease since they don’t expect to become great or godly.
In Robert Wolff’s encounters with Malaysian first peoples documented in Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing he learns that the group’s primary healer-dreamer turns out to be a seemingly average, observant fellow who steps into his mystical role only when necessary.
As a dancer, performer, and minister I’m very familiar with the ups and downs of different physical states. Requiring myself to “stay up” in any state is impossible. Coming down I liken to depression.
Yet great spiritual teachers acclaim the ordinary and invite disciples down off various sensory mountains. Disciples are encouraged to “chop wood, carry water,” live with eyes wide open, “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God,” and to basically enjoy life and learn to suffer well. We are invited to bring big body-spirited eyes to our little lives.
I’m struck by Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Henri Nowen’s struggle with ordinary life. One event producer declared, “I never met a guru in my green room who walked their talk.”
Religious leaders create relief by reaching up in mind and heart. It is easy to mistake that as the path forward.
Many of us begin the impossible journey of trying to be good, enlightened or powerful by shoving our little embodied self up into unsustainable higher states. We feel shame that we can’t stay up and fall down so often.
I see this as harmful and unsustainable on the body level.
Why not enjoy both our visionary, higher self and relaxed earthy self? Why not dance and explore life on earth as human creatures full of both flight and the joy of ordinary life?
This is difficult when teachers put the body last in the lineup. How can we play between the big and little bodyspirit?
Instruction #3 The Interplay of Your Big & Little Bodyspirit
The mystic body works best as a resource to the little self. It is not meant to be a dominatrix queen or king of the hill.
The role of our higher power self is to reassure, bless, explore and enable us to create and serve, play, and rest. Spiritual teachings say, “Blessed are the meek” and “The first shall be last,” not blessed are the mighty, the puffed up, and the powerful, or whoever is first takes the cake.
Putting flaps up we can:
1) Notice how well we are doing, like taking a spiritual temperature.
2) Adventure in other realms
3) Seek direction
4) Bring wisdom and mercy back to the little self
Thankfully throughout the day we can go to the bigger bodyspirit for refreshment and wisdom. But we are not designed to make a permanent home there. That turns us into little gods and goddesses.
The good news? The little ordinary self needn’t be integrated with the
higher self. We are meant to interplay between the little and big body.
Awareness and appreciation for these states is a practice. If your little body is in pain, it is understandable to want to “get out” of it, to want to get high and to try to intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually stay up. Plus it’s fun to “fly.”
Unfortunately, “staying up” wreaks havoc on ordinary bodies. If you are grumpy and unhappy with ordinary, family life, feel like you’ve lost your everyday mojo, are burnt out, or are trying to maintain a lifestyle that is simply unsustainable, you may be forcing yourself to stay up too much. Your body will demand that you COME DOWN!
Ask, “How am I doing in my “little life?” Am I having fun? Do I know how to play? What am I making? What interests me? Am I creating beauty and health as an offering in gratitude for the resources I use?
If you want to make the world a better place but you are ill at ease, you can tap your “higher self” using creativity and big-bodiedness to ask for guidance on how to create ease and beauty, here and now.
Do you need to stop trying so hard to make everything better? Do you need to play more?
Our mystic body is hooked upon the web. We dance between our big and little selves:
When you feel wide open what information do you receive?
When you are closer to your skin what information do you receive? Notice thought, sensation, ideas. This is your body data. Take note.
With awareness you can notice and make wise choices for your own good and the good of others.
How to Shift States
As a sensitive bodyspirit it can be difficult to shift states. Being in my big body comes easy so I practice staying accountable to my family to help me to self-regulate. I listen when they say that they miss me or that I’m not being present enough. When I focus on being high and mighty my life gets harder.
Does your big or little body draw you most? What calls you back into balance and ease? What might you practice?
If you hang out too much in the in-between, it could help to play in the everyday. Then get your FLAPS UP in a big way through creativity and meditation. You may gain more psychic space if you experience your fuller scale.
One More Thing
When one person connects with the web it makes it easier for others to access it. When you open to wisdom, I benefit.
It’s an exciting time for flapping, webbing, dancing around and being part of great love. You lift my flaps. That’s why I love this African song,
I’m gonna lift my brother up he’s not heavy. I’m gonna lift my sister up she’s not heavy. I’m gonna lift my people up they’re not heavy. If I don’t lift them up…they will fall down.
I hope you will connect with and draw down mystery. Feed you cells and heart for this is Wonderful. This is Mercy!
Mystic Tech is my launch pad for researching body wisdom technologies that support our deepest and most mysterious listening. It’s a place to honor unique wisdom coming to us through dreams, images, sensations, the arts, premonitions or whatever.
Are you tuning in for spiritual solutions? Do you think body wisdom has a role to play? If so, Mystic Tech’s Hidden Monastery offers opportunities to share, receive companionship, and learn about embodiment and ensoulment on retreat, in online classes, through a growing library of resources, and meeting one to one.
I call my writings SIMS or Spiritual Instruction Modules. Your SIM card is a physical tool that locates and keeps our personal Internet vitals. Who are you? Who are your contacts? What kind of plan are you on? You go to a lot of trouble to figure out how life works. Each learning is an initiatory stage. SIMS offer tools that connect the body’s hard drive with soul’s soft ware by activating our ancient, wild and wonderful creativity.
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* SIM- spiritual instruction module: aka the little card in a phone with your info on it.