Heaven and earth
There is so much talk these days about being grounded in the martial traditions. All the while, we wear shoes that most likely have rubber soles and walk on fabricated slabs of concrete suspended in office high rises. We sit in chairs with our feet barely touching the ground. We ride in cars that roll so fast upon the roads that we cannot sense the changes of micro-climate, texture or smell along the road. We fly in airplanes that shield us from any sense of grounding. And we sleep in beds elevated on four posts. It is very rare that we take the time to dig our toes into the earth and feel gravity do its thing.
That gravitational force that holds us to the ground was once called “Eros”. Perhaps it is the natural desire of our body to caress the ground that inspired the Greek cosmologists to name it that way. And perhaps we all give assent to this model when we say we “fall in love” as if we cannot resist the force of gravity.
But earth does not take without giving back. Neither I nor the earth is an object in this interplay. Feminist writers have often shown us how, even in our language, we have etched a fear-based objectification of all things animate and inanimate. Consider the sentence, “I make love to this woman”. “I” is the subject. “Make love” is the verb. “To this woman” is the object. This one sentence encompasses thousands of years of domination and patriarchy, as if someone is objectified as the “other” you can do violence to them.
Not so with the earth. Once I learn and respect the nature of earth, she and I are subjects engaging in interplay. She is the greater force, but not one to be feared. We engage in Eros together, as partners. She returns her essence through me as I surrender my weight to her. And if I remain structurally sound, her gifts can move through me and can be directed by my intention.
This kind of relationship cannot be reductionist. You cannot just quote Newton and say, “you push on the earth and the earth pushes back.” Hans Gadamer, perhaps, found the better metaphor. It is the interplay between two subjects. We make love together. I learn from her like she is my mother. When I sleep, I melt into her and receive healing. There is no need to push on her as would an impatient child clamoring to get a response from an adult. Her response comes naturally. And when it comes, if we are patient, the energies and momentums flow through us to perform work, to heal and to respond to aggression.
Earth is dwarfed by the heavens. And within the heavens, there are multitudes of planets and suns that, like the earth, pull upon me with Eros. They elongate me and massage my upper torso as they lift my frame. Indeed, I would be flung into the arms of heaven if it was not for the earth also caressing me. We develop the perfect ménage-a-trois.
My breath fills the bellows of my lungs as I am lifted. My crown point naturally aligns directly over my perineum. My pelvic girdle relaxes and tucks. My belly button sinks towards my spine and as I exhale, my whole frontal centerline sinks along with it; deeper and deeper into my spine. The pressure feels like a balloon within a balloon as I breath again.
As the heavens and I love, I find that they, too, are generous. Energy pours down into me as if I were an erect antenna and fuses with the energy of the earth.
I constrict my muscles as heavenly, earthly and my own energy flows and moves as a forward rotating ball within my lower belly. The mixture moves into my limbs and presses it into my bones with each flexion as if I was bathing in a bath of elixir. The elixir streams down and through my organs, sometimes like a subtle effervescence.
As I work, the process occurs naturally, my two lovers ever-present and never tiring. And as I give them my attention, they awaken my spine and limbs. My organs are filled with supple joy. Who would refuse such surrender as the ebb and flow of their tides cause the boundaries of my body to become nebulous. Where do I end and where do my lovers begin?
I invite my human partner into this flow. It is tantric. We test the stability of each other’s antenna, toppling and somersaulting as we grin. There is no adversary. There are only molecules dancing. Clumps of molecules and atoms; cells, together, creating form. And forms moving, dancing, and at play and in harmony.
I see an aggressor intruding into this flow. But he is pushing upon the earth and avoiding the heavens. His antenna is kinked at the base. Blending in this relationship is without contention. No fear, no emotion, no harm. I offer love, but as he presses, I offer weight to his unstable frame and the earth receives him. I whisper into his ear that he should remain there and be healed for a while. The earth wants to make love with him too. So do the heavens.