Across the gap

There is power in the gap; and in the contact.

I know there was a time when my whole being ran on instinct: environment > action > reaction. Early relationships sparking across synapses with the same repeated refrain:

You made me feel this; so now I say that; which makes you feel this; so you do that.

I had grown up watching adults around me push and pull an argument back and forth, back and forth, for hours at a time.

Peace lives in the gap, if you can pay it attention.

The pause at the edges of the breath.

The fragile stillness of meditation.

The dark heart of winter.

The more I learnt to honour these things, the more space bloomed between action and reaction; input and output. A gap formed between she said…and now I say; between he did…and now I do.

In that gap, my choices changed and grew also. I became, at times, witness to my own processes and tendencies. I began to erode unhelpful patterns, and then learnt to help others begin to do the same.

It figures that the gap is essential to even the smallest spark of understanding; it makes sense that the gap is synaptic.

But there is also contact.

When I was younger I could come around after hours of study to find my feet numb from inaction, my bladder full, my belly hollow, as if all the signals of bodily need had been patiently flashing away, and I couldn’t tell you for how long.

I marvel now, as if at the story of another, that once I was sent home from hospital with an undiagnosed broken leg and the next day just started walking on it. I had been told I was fine, and there wasn’t enough pain getting through to cause me to stop and think otherwise.

Connection, then, to breath, body and world. For they are, to me, one and the same.

The depth of sensation swimming in a single touch.

The intoxication available from the sound of the breath.

A whole world of sight and sound and touch and…

…and soon everything is turned up to full volume and every sensory connection is an ocean of experience.

Connections flow and form fluidly, even overwhelmingly, drenching and dissolving us. This too, holds a rightness to itself. It echoes fascial fibres slipping and sliding under skin: forming strong between muscle and bone under tension; melting back to liquid under friction.

Together they work: the neural and the fascial; the synaptic spark and the memory in muscles; the gap, and the contact.

The spaciousness of witnessing and the depth of being, of feeling, come together in a dance that just every once in a while flowers into grace.

More often than not it also collapses in a rueful heap, like mis-timed juggling balls.

Mindfulness and presence are the ever-evolving skills of my trade. With time, patience and practice, these skills improve, but they also improve me.

This is satcitananda (RealityConsciousnessBliss).

This is the hollow of the cauldron and the awen flowing.

This is the point of my obsession with movement and stillness on, and off the mat.

To this I have pledged joint and muscle, skin and bone.

For this I pay blood, sweat and tears to play the game.

This is my practice.

This is coming home.

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