There are many times when themes seem to appear through sessions and in daily life. One such recent theme has been around doing! There seems to be a really strong drive towards doing, including achieving, becoming, improving and any other engagement in activities which are often goal driven. Several people have reflected to me that they are doing ‘all the right things’ but nothing is changing, they still feel the same. Even the doing of really positive practices and habits can become mechanical and about the activity or action alone. So when these activities and practices are done without really feeling or noticing any change in everyday life what is the point? Is there a point? Is it about doing more? More frequency? This certainty resonated with me through moments of effort, change and regularity of practices when it just didn’t seem to make much difference.
Why are we doing these things in the first place? I think this is a much deeper question but for the moment let’s look at the simplicity of how the task is carried out and the immediate aftermath to see if we can open to possibility and perhaps bring about more lasting perception of change.
The missing piece
Through my own exploration, and with clients, the missing piece seems to be integration. What does that mean? The definition of integration seems to point towards bringing together parts, incorporating one thing with another or co-ordinating with processes, self or environment. What I would call integration in this context is the coming together as a whole being (the whole body, all parts of the mind, nervous system, energy field and spirit) with the earth and current environment. But how?
The quickest, simplest way I have found is through the pause; by pausing and receiving that which we have practised. Remember the technique is just that, technique, and that the unfolding experiencing and shift in awareness, witnessing, sense of self (or many other parts of experiencing) is only really felt and incorporated when we take the time to stop and notice. When the spaces between doing and the moments of silence become an integral part of our practices, and everyday life.
I have encouraged both myself and clients to focus in that moment at the end of the technique, on the feeling, sensation, experience after, rather than ticking off the practice and going into the next action or activity too quickly.
Ultimately I sense this as a returning to wholeness and allowing many parts of ourselves to come together as one. The un-doing gives space and time for settling to arise naturally and organically. For some this has been a profound shift, to really find ourselves more deeply in the moment. The opening up of space and spaciousness and the honouring of the need for this non-action and witnessing has been just what was needed and, in every day life, can be a game changer too.
Sometimes no technique is required. It allows for a receiving of the underlying intentional, generated or emerging qualities. With clients it is often peace, stillness, groundedness or ease of energetic flow. To linger in that moment of receptivity and to ALLOW moves us also from doing into BE-ing. From action to presence. Getting a really felt sense of the now and ourselves within the body and environment and, from presence, inspired action can take place. Sometimes inspired action is simply resting, relaxing, being in the moment. Because inspired action comes from a deeper knowing and place of self trust it can take far less energy and mental processing too, I have found this personally and observed in others.
What has been your experience? Does it overlap or do you have other ways of wording or viewing this non-action that I am including as part of integration?
I sometimes naturally find myself reaching for a book, for a passage or poem, to inspire, to reflect or shed more light on such moments as these. In one session recently I pulled the ‘Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching’ edited by Timothy Freke. I share the verse it opened onto with you here.
Someone seeking learning, knows more and more.
Someone seeking Tao, knows less and less.
Less and less, until
By simply being,
everything gets done.
Get things done,
by letting them happen.
Struggling all the time,
gets you nowhere.
In this book it touches on the concept of Tao in the introduction:
“The concept of Tao - the Way - as one which the thinkers of the past used to cover many areas of what we would today call spirituality, religion, ethics and morality.
"In the Tao Te Ching it is seen as the fundamental force or inspiration which fills all life (…) which brings all life. The text goes further, describing the Tao as that which gives birth to the Origin. It thus becomes the force behind and beyond all forces. But it is not a divine force; it is simply yet gloriously the ultimate expression or origin of all that is natural… following the natural path, of flowing with nature and not trying to impose humanity’s puny will against the reality of nature.”
'Simply yet gloriously the ultimate expression or origin of all that is natural'! Wow, that language really stood out for me. I won’t analyse this as we will all find our own meaning and resonance within these words but it certainly reinforced for me the allowing rather than struggling and striving; of the flow with nature and the inspiration that fills life.
Perhaps the invitation next time you or I are coming to a practice, be it for the first time or the hundredth time, is to allow spaciousness and flow. For the time and observance both during, and at the end, to simply be aware, present and receptive to the deeper more subtle self and effect of our chosen technique. Linger and savour the time with yourself, receive the benefits, wisdom and gifts that are there waiting to integrate. Feel the wholeness of yourself and the wonder of you in that moment, without distractions and without needing anything to be any different. What if nothing needed to change? What if you are already whole and in the moment but have to remember to stop and meet yourself there? To meet your whole self in the moment right now? Perhaps you can allow this awareness to filter out effortlessly through your day/s and find yourself more and more aware, integrated and united. Take a breath and maybe even smile to your own humanness and beauty as I smile to you now.
Hi, my name is Jo. I am a Holistic Practitioner & Facilitator based in the beautiful forest and coastal area of Lymington, New Forest. I am passionate about supporting and inspiring a grounded, integrated approach to life, health, well-being and embodied spirituality. By quietening the busyness and noise we can hear ourselves more easily and trust our own inner knowing above all else.