The Eye of the Storm

The centre is still, and becomes a home.

for a moment the world is turning 

You are still. 

I, along with every other little person, I loved turning around and around in circles, getting topsy-turvy, dizzy and watching the world spin as I tried to walk or eventually found the ground instead.  My training in ballet as a young girl touched on the same joy and finally, what has inspired me to write this is blog post is the experience that crystallised my understanding of the powers of spinning for me. 

I signed up for whirling dervish training at the Study Society in London. A very interesting place that you should check out, if not for the numerous brilliant study groups and teachers, then for the INCREDIBLISHOUS space in the top, front room. Not sure many places exist like that in the world.   

But the inspiration to write this came from the profound shift in myself after a year of training and a year of practicing this ancient mystic Sufi meditation.  The journey through dizziness, nausea, painful feet and a sense of being trapped brought me to an incredible silence, beauty and liberation. 

This sense of M U S T continue, despite all else, doesn't happen often in life. Perhaps we have had a martial arts teacher, or a swimming teacher who gave us this experience.  Or maybe we are one in many who can give ourselves that experience.  When there is a ceremony full of dervishes, whom you also respect, dressed in giant white gowns, turning in circles around the room, with the beautiful flute music, and sometimes an audience, 'you, ZOE COBB, simply cannot stop ****  No matter what is going on inside you, ***** you need to continue.  Find what needs to happen to make  you continue this absurd task. 

Continue to turn

and turn 

and turn 

and turn............................

While training, a sense of absolute panic came over me while confronting this obligation to continue despite the pain and discomfort.  Heart racing and some strong loud pre-lingual reaction inside me insisting that I stop. Interestingly, I didn't. Stop. 

It opened something new in me.  That allowed new experiences in other parts of my life.  Like I broke through to another level by not responding to my habit formed, boundary of self.  My confines had changed.  

With some distance from the practice, I realised that I had found a ground to stand on. Something that seems too obvious to say in words.  An awareness, a connection perhaps an energetic adjustment that I didn't hold before.  This position of looking at your left thumb, head tiled to angle through your heart, while turning in circles allowed my eyes to see my personal space as still, and the world as a blur of movement.

Mevlevi position

This still, personal space, this ground, this sphere that I physically created and saw, over and over and over again for hours had resounding meaning. We work on many levels at once.  The training of the physical, is a door way to the emotional, energetic, mental, sexual, intellectual and spiritual (however you want to call all the parts).

To have a ground - holding space - my body occupying a position - holding a perspective - owning the space that I take up with my body - responsible for the position that I am bringing into the world - the ideas I am bringing into the world - the actions, the emotions that I used this space for - the metaphors for the kinesthetic reality are all relevant.  There was a real sense of space that was mine to hold in the turning game with other bodies.  I wasn't afraid of it, ashamed of it, proud of it, just had it.  Like I had finally seen it, cleaned it and polished it and now stood strong inside of it.  It helped me start to centre in myself, where some how previously I had experienced my self as invisible. I realised that I had experienced myself as INVISIBLE. HOW absolutely BIZARE. Sometimes the most obvious things are not obvious. 

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
— David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life


That's it. Interesting to ask what are the ingredients of this breakthrough. Could it be: physical endurance, community, connection, collective aligned intension, sound guidance, observation, joy and persistence?  Someone must have outlined that in the development world?? In my case, my breakthrough was becoming visible to myself.  I am grateful, for the insight on how my self can learn new states.  I look forward to turning again and enjoy the application of this learning in daily life.