From Cosmic Dance to Inner Dance
From Cosmic Dance to Inner Dance:
By Jerry Dorsman
Bang those drums. The particles are dancing. This universe of ours keeps changing, whirring, spinning in non-stop motion. With each passing instant, our world bursts into life anew.
All things here are stirring. All the particles in all existence—the particles in you and me and everything we see—bounce and bend incessantly as if in some eternal dance.
Have you felt it? There’s a celebration and you’re invited.
Physicists tell us that everything in the universe remains in process, constantly in motion, charged up, energized. Or to put it another way, nothing in our universe is static. Nothing rests.
Hence there is no ground, no changeless absolute. In a way, there are no nouns, only verbs. The particles that make up the universe, even particles in something that seems solid like rocks, are in constant motion. What we know as nouns are merely slow verbs. All things keep changing, transforming from one thing to another. There are no states of being, only states of becoming.
For most of human history, we have sensed the ever-changing nature of our universe. Modern science proves it but originally we represented it in our religions.
In Hinduism for instance, the God Shiva is known, in one of his many forms, as Nataraja, “King of the Dance.” His majestic dance portrays the eternal, cosmic cycle of creation and destruction. That which is created is destroyed, is created again and destroyed again, now created now destroyed, on and on forever. Since this matches what physicists tell us about the persistent creation and destruction of minute particles at the subatomic level, we might surmise that Shiva dances there eternally. His dance, although mythical or symbolic, actually represents an underlying reality.
Shiva’s worshippers also regard his dance as the dance of wisdom. They imagine one of his dancing feet as crushing ignorance while, at the same time, he spins the other dancing foot into the air symbolizing the supraconscious state. In other words, through the dance itself, we become wise.
Also, Shiva’s dance takes place in the material world, the world of nature and of you and me. Moment to moment, this dancing god avoids a nearby ring of flames, the burning fire which represents the chaotic forces of nature. So through his dance we are liberated from these forces. Chaos is held at bay. It is through the dance that we become free.
In the West, we have a similar revelation. In the Christian tradition, an apocryphal text, The Acts of John, reveals that Jesus, during his final Passover, had the twelve disciples holding hands, singing a hymn together, and dancing. It is not stated in John’s text whether this happened in the Garden of Gethsemane or at the Last Supper but the act of dancing remains consistent with Passover celebrations of the time. In this text, the Apostle John states, “Thou that dancest, perceive what I do, for thine is this passion of the manhood, which I am about to suffer. For thou couldest not at all have understood what thou sufferest if I had not been sent unto thee, as the word of the Father.”
Perhaps more accessible in the Christian tradition, a popular song written by Sydney Carter also depicts dance on a cosmic scale. This song reveals Jesus as “Lord of the Dance.” Here’s the fourth of its five verses:
I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black—
it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone,
But I am the dance and I still go on.
“Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance,” said he.
“And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I’ll lead you all in the dance,” said he.
This universe of ours appears to us as a magnificent juggling act, with its billions upon billions of tiny, spirited particles moving all at once, everything whirring continuously, on and on, in infinite time, in infinite space. It’s as if there’s a party going on, non-stop. In the world and in each of us—at the subatomic level—there is constant revelry.
So let us become conscious right now of this universal flux. And let us enter it.
Let us join the dance.
As we slip into our cosmic celebration, the world begins to sparkle. With all these excited particles, glittering, whirring, blinking on and off, what else would we expect? Deep within ourselves, we can perceive this twinkling of light, and we call it “spirit.” It enlivens us. It has us kicking up our heels. It has us singing out loud a powerful tune.
Our connection with the cosmic dance, that eternal event at the core of all reality, helps us to comprehend the world of spirit.
Spirit is that which animates. It is that invisible, electric energy causing everything in the world to quiver in constant revelry. It enlivens. It enlightens. It is that vibrant force within. It rumbles through the innermost reaches of all that is.
Spirit sparkles. It shimmers with a brilliant light. It brightens our lives from inside and out. It glitters in the gaps where things once were. It lights up the room when we close our eyes.
Celebrating the Dance
This is us. We are here together. The particles inside our bodies hop and bounce and bop as if to music in some rhythmic, cosmic revelry. We’re a world of activity and this activity continues whether we move with it or remain still, whether we participate or whether we do not.
So why not participate? Why not dance? At this moment, why not make a conscious effort to enter the particle dance of the universe?
As you probably have guessed, our participation involves a change in perspective, a change in how we see the world. The particle dance is real. The way we see it however will be imagined. So first, let’s look for the real dance, and then we can allow our imagination to take over.
For starters, we can allow our minds to play. We can awaken and excite the particles in our bodies and get those particles dancing in unison with what we feel outside ourselves. We can imagine in this moment, every cell, every particle in our bodies participating—buzzing, whirring, popping, bending, zinging—in the dance.
When we relax into it, the ripples of microscopic motion fill us from within. We now can simply let ourselves dance. And as the dancing lifts our spirits, this can awaken our awareness. Even the intellectually intense Nietzsche admitted, “Every day I count wasted in which there has been no dancing.”
So, let’s dance. Let’s create some energy, some spark. The excitement in the dance unifies us. When moving our bodies in rhythm, we feel connected to our inner selves. We feel at one. When moving our bodies through space, we feel connected to the world around us and to the people around us. Our dancing awakens “spirit” from deep within, shakes it loose, and sets it free.
So let’s take a moment for the dance. We can dance to real music or dance to our own imagined music. As we set the rhythm within, our bodies begin to move. As we loosen everything—muscles, joints, nerves—our bodies open up. Creating this inner harmony, we vibrate and let the motion take over. As if we’re dancing the cosmic dance of Shiva, we liberate ourselves from worldly chaos. As if we’re dancing the cosmic dance of Jesus, we’re lifted in joy.
As we connect with our inner spirit through the dance, we find that the dance will make us whole. We find that the dance will make us holy.
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Jerry Dorsman is the coauthor How to Achieve Peace on Mind and the author of two books on addiction recovery: How to Quit Drinking Without AA and How to Quit Drugs for Good. This post expands on one of the subchapters in How to Achieve Peace on Mind.
For similar post, see: Dancing in the Universe.
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