Psycho-spiritual Skiing

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A Controlled Fall

To ski is to tilt just enough on a smooth downward slope, assisted by boards and sticks. as to rapidly descend–a controlled fall. Psycho-spiritual skiing is any deep contemplation of kenosis, that is, an emptying or unburdening oneself.

“Some people can walk away from a relationship, but they are so bound to their ideas, their beliefs or their assumptions that they are not free to leave them.” (Greater Community Spirituality, Chapter 14: What must be avoided?)

Some people can walk away from attachment to persons and yet will still find themselves stuck in relationship to the ideas that sabotaged the relationships with other persons. How to release them in order to be free to be in right relationship?  A technique is called for, and there are many disciplines and practices for this. “Psycho-spiritual skiing” is a metaphor for going deep into a spiritual journey, following the norms of discipline as given in a spiritual practice, according to inclination. It does require the courage to fall, to fail, to continue all the way down to the bottom–once committed to the downward path, momentum is hard to correct!

And commitment is required. The path can be one’s own choosing, but once chosen must be followed.

A Metaphor from Tai Chi: Psycho-spiritual Diving for Treasure

diving for psycho-spiritual treasure

Within the narrative of the legend of the Tai Chi Monkey are illustrations of the movements in tai chi practice. These images give a contemplative focus for the mind, a focus of no real meaning except to form a vision for the muscles to enact, giving a life and a purpose to the otherwise rote motions. The story is a heroic vision of questing and finding. Late in the series of ordeals is this move that I think of  like going to the very bottom of the ocean to find the drain and seeing that gold keeps it plugged, to only touch it having seen it, to know it is there enough to bounce off that bottom:

The monkey dove intro the water and began an exhaustive search for the sparrow, who was hidden like a needle at the bottom of the sea.

Religion is a gateway; gateways can have gate-openers or they can be closed doors. The rituals can be like the forms of disciplined movement in tai chi, the prayers and artifacts like sticks and boards for navigating mountains–intimidating to the novice, natural to the well-practiced. True religion, the real and pure religious impulse that once captured, solidifies into concrete, quests for the openings until there is the breakthrough called for, though the journey go to the bottom of the sea.

psycho-skiing to the bottom of the ocean

“When you enter the mystery of this, you have to leave behind your fixed beliefs, your ideology. You have to have the strength and faith and courage to do this, or you will be left outside the inner sanctum of the temple. For belief will not bring you to the God of all life. It will take a greater engagement, a more profound engagement, and a life guided by the great endowment, which lives within you right at this moment.” from The Pure Religion:

 

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