The universe is expanding. Science tells us that it has been growing into greater spaciousness since the moment of the Big Bang. Within this immensity, each one of us is on a trajectory of growth and expansion.
What does this mean for you? Think about a time when you were tense, constricted, shoulders hunched up to your ears, teeth clenched, stomach in knots. Then think about how it felt to let all of that tension go and allow yourself to expand. You found a greater sense of wellbeing and comfort.
Your body/being knows the value of expansiveness. Aligning with expansion is the third of three touchstones for peaceful living that ensure that you are acting in accordance with your and Nature’s highest good.
In the past two weeks in our exploration together of rooted, vital expansion, we have been looking at the example of a growing plant. First it puts out strong roots. Then it raises its stem and leaves up to the sun. Only after that does it bloom. Your healthy expression of expansion happens in the same way, with rooted vitality. As the flower expands into a broadening beauty of being, connected with the air and the sunshine, it opens to meet its surroundings fully. So too, when you are in expansion, you truly meet the moment with all levels of your being.
The opposite of expansion is contraction. Any time you get stuck in “I don’t like this”, “I wish I had that”, you are in a state of resistance to what is, and you miss out on the magnificence of the moment. After all, if you were to meet this moment closed, you would not be meeting it, any more than a flower could meet the light and breezes and bees while staying closed up in its bud. Opening can be as simple as breathing. Why? Because life-force is inherent in your breath. It brings you more into your body and out of your busy mind. And above all, your breath co-creates with air, allowing you to recalibrate your consciousness from constriction to expansion and feel part of it all. Breath is inherently spacious.
Meet the Moment with Childlike Wonder
Expansion opens you to the newness of the moment, with a sense of innocent wonder. Since each moment is completely new, have you ever really met this moment before? As you enter into a childlike, receptive, allowing state, you experience spaciousness.
Yet, most of us are not in that state. How come? Because our egos are focused on knowing, rather than on receiving. In each moment, we get caught up in anxious thoughts like “I’m hungry, what will I have for dinner?” or “this seat isn’t comfortable” or “did I turn the stove off before I left the house?” This wanting tendency, coupled with anxiety, creates more resistance to the moment.
In expansion, you feel a relaxed, effervescent broadening through your head, neck and heart. You release constriction, both physically and mentally. You meet this moment as it is, with kindness and compassion for yourself and those around you. You feel less busy-ness of mind and more spaciousness of heart. You experience more possibility and support greater vitality. Your senses become more acute and your perceptions widen, so that you are more present. You know, for example, that you turned off the stove, and that you can relax to feel greater comfort in your seat.
Ultimately, rooted vital expansion moves you in the direction of evolution, in harmony with Nature and your soul purpose. However, when expansion is not rooted or vital, it can be a form of denial. You could even have a tremendous sense of euphoria, but if it comes without rootedness and vitality, then it is disconnected. To ensure you are having a healthy expansion experience and not just “blissing out”, check to see how your body feels. Are you feeling grounded, present and relaxed? Or are you feeling constricted to the point of numbness from holding on so tight, or maybe not even able to feel anything at all? Breathe. Take a few minutes. Allow yourself to settle in. If there is constriction, simply notice it. “Oh, yes. I am feeling constriction.” You do not need to try to judge it or fix it, which only adds more constriction. Keep breathing and see if you can begin to experience more rootedness, vitality, and expansion.
Putting It Together
Let’s now continue the exercise we’ve been building for the past few weeks.
Begin as we have done for the rootedness and vitality exercises: stand tall, with your feet hip-width apart. Your knees are neither locked nor bent, simply relaxed. Let your navel move gently back towards your spine so that your core feels engaged, but not tense. As this happens, your tailbone naturally tilts slightly inward toward the front of your body and releases like a plumb line towards the Earth. Feel your shoulders soften and release towards the ground as your chest relaxes. Your eyes are fixed on a point in front of you, as the crown of your head broadens and floats gently upward towards the sky. Take a moment and feel this natural realignment.
Take a long, relaxed breath in, then breathe out with ease. Allow your awareness of your breath to deepen. Enjoy breathing and sensing. Let your breath be natural, not forced. As you breathe, scan your body. Where do you hold tension? Where do you feel relaxed? Just notice, letting go of any impulse to fix. Keep breathing and sensing.
Feel the soles of your feet broaden. Sense the contact you have with the ground. Imagine that your feet are growing roots and anchor into the ground. Feel energy move through your legs and out your feet, downward, towards the core of the Earth.
Notice that as your feet release into the ground, the Earth meets you, and a wave of energy flows up through your body towards the crown of your head. Feel that energy charging your every cell with vitality.
Imagine that your spine is the central channel of energy that runs through your body/being. It connects the sky and the Earth through you. There is a beautiful two-way moving flow of life-force energy that travels through your spine: downward from the heavens, into the crown of your head, down your body, through your feet, and into the planet; and upward from the ground, through your legs, up your body, and releasing outward into the heavens. You are a conduit for life-force energy.
Feel how this two-way moving energy awakens your heart and balances your belly, bringing rooted, vital expansion to your whole body. Feel the crown of your head broaden, as roots continue to anchor you into the Earth. Feel the vibrancy of life-force energy as it pulses through your body-being, until every cell feels like it is glowing with life and joy.
Allow the connection between your feet and your head to become a whole. You are rooted in the awareness of your physical sensations and the energy that flows through your body. Also, be aware more globally of your sense of place within the whole. Feel within. Feel without. Feel the flow between the inner and the outer and let these become one.
In this flow, allow yourself to continue to feel greater expansion. It is not so much that your body is expanding or that you are taking bigger breaths, but that consciousness is expanding through your body, so that within each cell you feel more connected, spacious, and luminous. Let your whole body feel effervescent, responding to the increase of consciousness in your cells. There is no pushing. There is no “gotta get it right”. You are making room in your being and in your life for a wise and compassionate force beyond your individual will.
Stay with this for some time. Sense how it brings you into greater presence with the moment. Allow yourself to understand that the effervescence and transformation you touch in this rooted, vital, expansive state are an alignment with who you truly are.
Then, when you are ready, take a deep breath and return your attention to the room as your breathing settles into its normal rhythm. Before continuing your day, take a moment of gratitude for the practice and offer the intention from your heart that all beings—big and small, near and far, those you know and those you don’t—may live in the rooted, vital and expansive state.
Summing It Up: Rooted, Vital Expansion
Rootedness, vitality and expansion are three qualities of Nature that, when combined, ensure that you are aligned with your own highest good as well as the highest good of all. They are the three touchstones for sound decision-making, clear thought, and compassionate action. Now that you have had a chance to explore all three, keep making them a part of your every day, and watch how they move you to greater presence, peace and joy.
Next week, we will begin a new chapter in “Finding Your Inner Peace Sanctuary” about the shift from positive possibilities to impossibilities. But between now and then, continue to deepen your experience of rooted vital expansion and how it connects you with Nature.
From my heart to yours,