Repetition & Finding Eros
Volker explores the depth, variation, and Eros that can be found in practicing what on the surface might look like a repetitive sequence.
In Continuum we look for what is new, emerging in the moment, flowing, ever-changing. We explore the present moment, in contrast to routines and repetition of what we have already done and experienced. But what happens when we take a fixed set of sounds and movements, and repeat them every day for a certain period of time? What do we discover with a daily practice of a very specific sequence?
I decided to do that with the “Peace Prayer” that Emilie Conrad introduced in her 2012 video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEJFo_3ZwAA). What would happen if I practiced the same sequence for 30 days? It was a choice I made for these times, when so many political, environmental and global issues are present. I felt the need to have a place of comfort and retreat inside myself, and at the same time add my “voice”—the sounds we use in Continuum—in a peaceful way, and start a movement of others in the world outside of myself. I found a healing movement inside myself, and while talking about it, I started a movement of inspiring other people to practice a sequence regularly, for a longer time than they usually do.
As with other practices there are obstacles, like finding time or a quiet place in daily life to commit to the practice. Having mastered this challenge, when lying down, I checked in with my baseline—what can be discovered now that is different from yesterday or other times. Noticing my baseline could be a powerful practice in and of itself, but then adding the sounds deepened the inquiry. I noticed changes in depth and pitch. New sounds emerged, especially with the sequence that is about a simple “hum”. The hum became what I would describe as a more ancient feeling, dropping into the chambers, caves and cavities of my throat and larynx. Sometimes the hum evolved into a puffed O-like expression. In other moments this new sensation of making this sound seemed more still than the felt sense of the sound. I experienced the stillness at the center of the sound, without the outward expression of it.
I experienced similar journeys with the movements. Every day my movements held different qualities, showing me different possibilities of circles, edges, and angles. Where do my movements come from? Where do I feel support of ground? What is the space I encompass? Utilizing my arms/wings/fins to expand, move, hold or lift the body, my legs became the counterpoint in their expanding/opening/turning directions, engaging my spine in undulations, tiny or large twists and interesting wave motions.
Each day of my practice, the news of the day and information from the world folded in. This daily news is actually a repetition of the same old story of human suffering.
I found Eros in the emerging news of my body and my discoveries.
Sometimes overlooking my room, gazing into the garden at home, my cat joined the movements, adding extra weight and additional purring sounds on different areas of my body.
While traveling during these 30 days, when practicing in nature, expanded views of the vast ocean entered my perception. Plants and details of unknown floral life could be discovered, ants and other little creatures joining in with their dance.
The elemental beings, the sun, clouds, rain, wind, stars and moon spiraled with me in this prayer of peace.
This prayer for peace.
This prayer is peace.
I invite you to join this movement. Choose a specific sequence of sounds and movements and practice them for a set period of time. Observe the changes, inviting Eros to appear in the complex unfolding of what looks like a repetition. Discover what is new and vital in the sequence itself and in your open attention. Share your experiences with us, or in personal exchanges with other people, with the elemental beings, or with life itself.