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Last October, when we completed our Foundation seminar, I couldn't believe that we were already more than halfway through our training! Each seminar is such an enjoyable surprise, and also follows on so naturally from the previous ones. This training builds globally, from the center out, each seminar wrapping around the one before. This time, after experiencing many wonderful ATMs, I felt as though I had so clearly embodied the concepts that I could literally roll along the path home.
Near the end of the series of ATMs was "The Prayer". We started the movement in sitting and in lying and gradually worked our way through many combinations. As we progressed through the variations, the feeling in the room became increasingly quiet and calm. I have witnessed this when I am teaching in my own classes, a wonderful sense of softening, almost like the very air in the room has a different quality. I suppose it does in a way, as everyone begins to deepen their awareness through noticing when they breathe in and when they breathe out and whether they sense any further changes all along themselves in relation to the floor. It is as if they melt further into the floor during the scans between movements. I often have the sense of cracking an egg and watching the whites spread out! You can see and feel the difference as the people in the room let go.
This lesson is particularly profound, a universal movement of prayer. Whether you are religious or not, the movement and the corresponding awareness one brings to it has an impact on the system that is so noticeable, so tangible.
One morning, during the sequence of lessons, Mia came in and said, "And now it's time to thank God, so roll on your sides and stand on your knees... and put your hands in front of you..." There was a little ripple of warm laughter through the room since we all knew that we were not actually praying, but making the movement as though praying. We began doing the movement while kneeling, first bringing our hands together and then lowering ourselves towards the floor and returning to the beginning place. As we continued, listening to further hints and observations, my sense of the movement through my whole self became clearer, from my toes to the top of my head. My chest began to soften as my breathing became fuller and my ribs more mobile. My feelings and emotions actually changed as I let go of holding patterns.
Mia commented as she observed us,
"Make it smaller and feel the wholeness. It is this wholeness that gives the feeling of peace."
Through this lesson, by simply keeping my hands a small distance from my nose, noticing whether there was any pressure change between my hands and continuing to lower myself and return to the beginning position, I sensed my front, my back, my sides, all of me, working together. I was aware of the length of my spine and my chest softening, my breathing becoming easier. I experienced cohesiveness.
When there is "no argument" in the system, there is unison, integration and peace.
Such a simple, clear movement allows one to go into oneself and then open up to the outside environment with each repetition. In some form or another, this movement has been used and continues to be used around the world, in many belief systems. It unites us with ourselves and with those around us.It is through this connectedness that we create peace.
At one point I opened my eyes and glanced around me. I was so moved to be there in that room filled with people from around the world: Japan, USA, Korea, Israel, Germany, Austria, Singapore, UK, Italy and many more countries. We were brought together by our love for this work and our curiosity to learn more about ourselves and those around us! I had the sense that when we are each at peace with ourselves, we are also at peace with each other. How wonderful to have this experience of spreading this feeling throughout our own systems and also realize that we can take this with us into the world!
When the seminar finished and we all dispersed once again, going off to our far-flung homes, I found myself wondering what awaits us next in this multifaceted and multilayered process. Each time I come away with a deeper understanding of this work, of myself and of the world around me, with wide-open eyes and more spring in my step! ---- Mary Morrison
"Find your true weakness and surrender to it. Therein lies the path to genius. Most people spend their lives using their strengths to overcome or cover up their weaknesses. Those few who use their strengths to incorporate their weaknesses, who don't divide themselves, those people are very rare. In any generation there are a few and they lead their generation." -- Moshe Feldenkrais