Observing urges

To continue this rumination on joy, I must clarify a little.  There’s a vast difference between happiness and joy, for instance.  I think we can manufacture little sources of momentary happiness for ourselves, but joy is an encounter of entirely different dimensions.  Joy is a wellspring which, once located, eternally feeds us.

We traditionally use religion as the vehicle towards our joy, but these old standbys have crumbled in the past few decades, their mores and promises have proven unhelpful in our time.  Many Americans have substituted financial success for joy, and abandoned the search for anything more meaningful.  Certainly, the demise of organized religion is the biggest difference between us and our ancestors.  Without it, we must individually re-invent our joy.

The first step in the journey is calming the mind, releasing your clutch on everyday tensions.  You must allow the possibility that you are not in control, and open wide to the instructions from the universe, which can be subtle, whispered hints.  You must cultivate your sensitivity so that you can hear the directives.

Note that this is not about some new religion; the instructions from the universe are instructions from your inner self, and the ‘being still’ that I recommend has to do with transcending the petty details of society and conditioning so that we may glimpse a larger reality.

So the technique I want to share today comes from the theater, from an exercise we used to do in rehearsing improv.  It’s called ‘urging.’  Four or five of the group stand within a marked-out ‘stage.’  There is one directive:  move only when you must, move according to your deep urges.  The spectators watch as the ‘actors’ begin to explore their urges.  Some move frenetically, others do not move at all.  The door to authenticity begins to give. 

You can do this in any quiet moment, if such moments exist in your life.  Be still, and then observe your urges.  Let whatever you discover inform you; it is sacred information.

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