Monday, July 16, 2012

What is grace?

I had a great anatomy teacher at the Shi'atsu Institute in San Francisco. One of the things I learned from him was how to distinguish between muscles of doing and muscles of being. Large, powerful muscle groups, like the quads on the front of the thigh, do the heavy lifting necessary for walking, running, and dancing. The quads, according to my teacher, are muscles of doing. Thank God for the quads.

He referred to the deeper muscles close to the bone as muscles of being. Under the brute force of the quads, there are smaller, more finely tuned muscles, such as the psoas and iliopsoas. He told us to pay attention to great dancers, also great athletes, whose movement arises from their muscles of being, rather than the muscles of doing. The reason they're so graceful, he said, is because they move from the inside outwards. The muscles of being generate the essence of movement while the muscles of doing carry out the intended action. Movement that originates from these deep muscles looks easy. Fred Astaire danced from his muscles of being, definitely!

Of course we need all our muscles to get from point A to point B.

That thought brings to mind something one of my students said about a kind of gracious presence that great healers bring into the treatment room. Where does that kind of grace arise? What I'm thinking about today is the difference between the energy of doing and the energy of being.

The energy of doing propels us - we need it, most definitely. Otherwise the dishes would never get done, the floor would remain unswept and who would ever take the trash out?

The energy of being requires focus. Those who resonate with the energy of being are grounded, centered in their own energy and have cultivated clean, clear, healthy and resilient boundaries. Most of them have to practice connecting with the soulful energy of being. They meditate, pray, do yoga or Tai Chi. These practices requires focus, patience and commitment. 

This morning I'm thinking about how the energy of being brings a gracefulness even to those with two left feet on the dance floor. It is well worth cultivating the energy of being. Oh yeah.

May you move from your muscles of being, may you vibrate with the energy of being. May the muscles and energy of doing take their cues from a more essential, soulful source. May it be so.



Kerry said...

Yes. May it be so.

Angela said...

These are great thoughts, reya. you always find something new for me to ponder about. Yes, i truly agree. I f you are focused and have these boundaries and do not seek attention, things (and people) will come to you easily, and what you do will look like dancing.