Dancing with the World

“Without rhythms, there would be no experience, but rhythms do not have to do with experience unfolding in time. The movement goes deeper. It’s intrinsic to experience . . . For instance, it may be that beginning, middle and end are the same unit.”
Dimensions of Mind, Tarthang Tulku, page 229.

Anyone who has moved with the energy on a dance floor—music harmonizing our inner rhythm with that of our partner—knows that we don’t have to be going anywhere to be swept up in an experience that needs no destination.

There is no beginning, middle or end in this experience. Our body, mind, heart and spirit engage in the full range of who we are. There is no need to be self-conscious or have the right moves, because we were already dancing before our feet hit the floor.

The above quote evokes two perspectives for me; in both of which I am aware of the presence of beginnings, middles and endings. One is my lifetime on Earth, with my daily remembering of beginnings that are still playing themselves out; as for endings, I keep remembering the losses and escapes that have already swept through my life, but not so much the endings that stand ready to take up residence in places I still occupy.

The other dance floor for beginnings, middles, and endings is a novel, “Gaia Wept”, I am writing. Helped to this realization by a friend who read an earlier draft, I have been working for much of a year on a rewrite of a draft in which beginnings (of characters, situations and catastrophes) lacked expectations and then continued, almost unnoticed, into a middle in which the threats and longings prevailed. As for the ending I am now working on, my desire is that the fictional fate of Planet Earth will be healing and a renewal of hope.

I’m not sure that finding that for a fictional world will help it be true for the one in which we are all living, but for me it is helping me to notice more of what is around me.

My hope is that—in both my life and in this story about how I see our current situation on Planet Earth—there can arise an appreciation for the deeper rhythms that connect the seeming separation of beginnings, middles and ends. Can I contact this intrinsic whole that—seeming to come from somewhere, be somewhere, and be headed somewhere—is what allows beginnings, middles and ends to arise together?

I’m not sure whether writing a story in which starts, continuations, and conclusions seem required, if I am to engage the interest of any readers, is helping me to recognize that all journeys are woven from one rhythm. But, because there are autobiographical elements in this story, I find myself pondering my own life as I make my way in its fictional world.

I’m learning that I can only contrive connections so far. Whether the playing field is my constructed story or my lived life, meaning and understanding arise on their own timetable. All I can do is appreciate when something begins to harmonize with something else, thereby allowing beings who seemed forever separate to discover that they have never really been alone.

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