More on floating

October 19, 2012

I was driving home from somewhere recently and saw a hawk floating high up in the sky, having one of those moments when it looks motionless but easily aloft.  I thought, “Maybe that’s why I’m so taken with hawks, I am trying to figure out how to float (metaphorically).  How to hover easily above or in or otherwise with regard to the moment.”

For me, having a sense of how to arrange my mind to do that has not come through someone telling me about it; that may have set the stage, but actually “getting” what the note sounds like (to mix the metaphor) has come through what has felt like an empathetic experience with someone who has the skill or well-developed ability already.

When my mother was working with me to overcome my mispronunciation of Ks and hard Cs and hard Gs when I was about five or six, I didn’t get for a long time what I was doing differently.  Suddenly I realized it was where in my mouth or throat the motions or contractions or whatever were being done — in the floor or back of my mouth, not behind my teeth as I had been doing.  With this floating and not pressuring the moment it’s a similar issue of figuring out what it entails.

The other day I was waiting in my son’s dentist’s waiting room and there was a baby in a caregiver’s arms (my son thought she was a nanny) drinking a bottle and falling asleep.  I got this really peaceful feeling inside myself and starting feeling sleepy, too.  It was quite lovely.

It was similar when I shared the feeling of floating through a same sort of vicarious experience of someone else’s experience.  The other person may have learned to do this floating through prayer and meditation, I don’t know.  I do know that what was encumbering me was basically anxiety and its sequelae.  But anxiety can be a mindset that seems real, that crowds out all other, non-anxious ways of interfacing with the world.  So changing it through wanting to doesn’t always work, I think, whereas having a “pace car” of somebody else’s floating can.

That’s I think what I did.  Not that I’m doing my own floating continously and wonderfully now, but at least I know what it feels like.  I wrote before about how for me it helps to think about not applying so much pressure to the moment itself and letting the natural rhythm of the situation establish the beat for me to follow.  Having experienced the experience, I can practice it myself, kind of re-find the note to sing after having heard it, and matched it, from somebody else’s pitch pipe.  (Well, at least the last couple of metaphors were both musical, even if I am mixing them.)

I am extremely grateful to whoever shared with me their floating.  I don’t know whether that happens as a gift or an exchange; if the latter, I hope they got back something equally helpful from me, although I’m not sure what that would be.  (Maybe I helped someone else similarly and this is part of a bigger and more complicated system?)  If the former, that too is an ability I would like to develop.

I suspect my recent extra-awareness of things that float, like islands and hawks, is related to my working on learning to float myself.

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