“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.” ~ Rumi
Dancing, personally I feel, is the most underrated forms of spirituality. Meditative dancing, if there is such a term, can be used to transcend the boundaries of our consciousness and connect with the source.
It’s well documented that Nataraja or the dancing form of Shiva, represents the source of creation, preservation and dissolution, yet such little importance is given to dance when it comes to worship.
Dance for me has been a way of expression from the time I was a child. Till date I break into random dance at any given point, its good to remember that this does not by any means make me a great dancer, but it has never stopped me from grooving to familiar tunes.
There are two incidents that I recollect where I had a phenomenal life-changing experience with dancing.
The first one was when my sister was expecting her first child, she was 8 months into her pregnancy and had come over to my parents place where I was put up at that time.
The music was playing in my room and I was completely lost in my dance, while she was sitting on the sofa around 20 feet away.
She got me out of my trance by calling me to come out. I was a bit annoyed as it brought me out of my altered state. She insisted I come out to see the baby move, even though I had felt the baby move multiple times. When I stepped out, the baby was virtually rolling in her stomach to the music.
But what happened next led me to believe it wasn’t the music, she asked me to touch her stomach. It seemed ridiculous as I could see the whole baby moving but as I reached out to touch her stomach a tiny hand pushed up and touched mine.
There was a transfer of energy that left me dumbfounded in shock, surprise and disbelief as I slowly sat on the floor.
This incident changed something in me, it made we ponder on the possibility of sharing the energy and connecting with a soul that hasn’t yet been incarnated into the world yet. While this got me thinking about the other experience I had while dancing at a party many years ago.
We were in the fields overlooking the mountains, while dancing in anticipation of the sunrise. As dawn broke, the first few rays of light peeked through above the hills and as I danced the rays turned into a huge figure that danced along with me.
As that happened for the first time I felt immense love and an energetic connection with the universe. It entered my body through the feet and exited through my head into the sky and circling all around.
This was the first time I felt one with everything and started to believe there is something, such as for the lack of words, God. I was an atheist until this experience led me to believe in some sort of power or energy that exists.
These were two transformational experiences that I had with the help of dancing that shifted the course of my life. Till date when I dance I close my eyes and begin to feel the music.
I move with the beat until it becomes a subconscious process, I no longer focus on the movement or the beats but I am now synchronized with it.
At this point I begin to feel an energy build up, and visualize it and feel it flowing through the body. Use this energy by focusing on parts of your body that need healing or just enjoy connecting with the source energy.
It would be fair to say that I discovered a power known to many tribes since ancient times. Native Americans danced for rain, for war, for courtship and many other reasons. I love the video of this track done by Skrillex which covers part of the native’s rain dance.
They of course weren’t the the only tribe, the whirling Sufi dervishes have always fascinated me. The main part of the dance consists of the dervishes who represent the moon, the Sheikh represents the sun as he spins on his own axis at the center, while the dervishes spin around him on their left foot.
Their right palms face upwards towards Heaven and their left hand pointing at the ground. Each part of the dance represents something specific, in short it represents the recognition of God, recognition of the existence in his unity, the ecstasy one experiences with total surrender and peace of the heart due to Divine unity. To learn more about the symbolism and dance of the dervishes you can read about the Mevlevi order.
Tribes across Africa have over 30 unique dances that teach social patterns and values and help people work, mature, praise or criticize members of the community while celebrating festivals and funerals, competing, reciting history, proverbs and poetry; and to encounter gods.
African dances are largely participatory, with spectators being part of the performance. With the exception of some spiritual, religious or initiation dances, there are traditionally no barriers between dancers and onlookers.
Many cultures have and still use dance as a means to achieve trance states for healing rituals. So always remember, dance you can and dance you must, dance for peace, dance each season and dance for no reason.
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