Every art has its mystery, its spiritual rhythm.
– D. T. Suzuki
At heart, we are all mystics searching for the divine.
Whether we perceive this divinity to exist in religion, culture, spirituality or some other form of human tradition, we all seek to be united with that which is beyond our limited minds and fragile bodies.
Dance is perhaps one of the oldest and most widespread practices known to man, which not only fulfills our need for free expression and leisurely catharsis, but also bridges a gap between the finite and infinite.
While most of us skim along the surface waters of life, superficially navigating our efforts here and there, we all tend to have a deep craving to plunge into the depth of the ocean of life and experience its true fluidity, its true mysticism. Dance in many ways is the ultimate route to the truth of who we are beyond our names, beliefs, titles, achievements, memories, and identities.
Dance, in many ways, is the ultimate surrender.
If you would like to explore spiritual dancing, if you would like to open the door to experiential ecstasy and pure presence, keep reading.
Spiritual Dancing: 5 to Explore
I have never been much of a dancer. In fact, one of my earliest memories was of me crossing my arms and angrily refusing to dance the “Chicken Dance” because I thought it looked stupid (I was 5). But although I wasn’t born with tap-dancing feet, I have experienced the whirlwind bliss of dancing wildly and freely before.
Whether you are a graceful swan or an awkward elephant like me, spiritual dancing has something very valuable to offer.
1. The Mystical Dervish Dance
2. 5Rhythms Dance
Created by dancer, musician and author Gabrielle Roth in the 1970’s, 5Rhythms is a fusion of gestalt therapy, transpersonal psychology, shamanism and eastern philosophy. The five rhythms included in this kind of dance include “flowing,” “staccato,” “chaos,” “lyrical” and “stillness.” When combined, these five elements form a “Wave” which can be clearly seen in the movements expressed in this kind of free-form dancing. Roth described the 5Rhythms Dance as a journey of the soul to freedom through the releasing of the heart, mind and body.
3. Folk Circle Dance
4. Middle Eastern Belly Dance
“Goddess” is the very first word that comes to mind for most of us when we picture belly dancing. With its undulations, shimmies and sinuous movements, this form of dance brings you directly in touch with the power of feminine energy. Many women report embracing their sexuality and accepting their bodies more after belly dancing.
5. 21st Century Trance Dance
When we think of trance dancing we think of rave parties and LSD, but trance dancing is much older than it looks. Having its roots in shamanistic tribal healing, trance dancing is always performed to the “trance like” beat of a drum (or in modern times, a DJ). By dancing free and unbridled, those who trance dance connect with the primal energy of life and often reach “spiritual” states of being characterized by inner freedom and expansiveness.
By allowing our minds to stay fully centered in the present moment; in the rhythm of the drum, in the thrust of the hip, in the catch of the breath, we shed away every thing we think we are just for a few moments. This opens up a doorway to fully experience what is beyond thought and form; a path to merge with our eternal nature.
Since there is no information:
It’s the Sufi Muslim Mevlevis’ (whirling Dervish’s) spinning in circles is in an attempt to reach heaven in a Nirvana state to communicate with Allah while being alive. They spin to block out all thought except Allah. Before begining they pray and begin spinning with prayer, and they end spinning with prayer then finish with a prayer. Their right hand pointed up to the heavens their left to the earth while they spin. Every bit of what they do has meaning. Some Sufis use dances other than this too, some move back and forth as a group, some Sufis use Music to achieve a trance state to reach God
The thing that really gets me about belly dancing is the CULTURE that it belongs to practices it among women. AND believes me when i say they embrace their sexuality yet they are constantly told they are oppressed or ashamed of their bodies because they cover themselves. Belly dancing troops who charge money, dress up and “culturally appreciate” are nothing more than culturally appropriating the fun side of being an Arab or Persian woman without having to live with the fears or negativity Arab and Persian women live with in the same societies that “appreciate” their culture. – This also goes for Bollywood dancing.
My hope is that one day Covid cures will be common and reliable so as to meet in person and perhaps participate in a retreat that you may organize.
I’m sure it would be very interesting and an opportunity to dive deeper into simplicity
Solitude is often healthy because it keeps us in touch with God. There is content you spoke about here that I don’t understand. I need dancing lessons but self love sharply enhanced my ability to quickly forgive, love others, and everyday life.