For free spirits throughout the world, a powerful new sacrament has emerged. This simple ritual carries all the power and significance conveyed by baptism. When John the Baptist introduced Jesus to baptism two thousand years ago, this type of ritual washing was already in practice among Jews, Hindus, Egyptians, and other groups. The purpose of baptism was seen as purification. It has come to signify an initiation into spiritual life through the removal of impurities.
Today, free spirits are practicing Repose, which involves lying on one’s back with arms extended perpendicular to the torso, palms up, legs open, and jaw relaxed. It is done three times a day for seven minutes. Repose was developed as a relaxation technique with physical and mental health benefits, but those who have been practicing it on a daily basis understand it to be much more than that. Like baptism, it serves as a type of spiritual initiation.
For ancient peoples, initiation involved the removal of impurities. But what was the nature of these impurities and why did they need removing? In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Adam and Eve fell from grace after eating fruit from the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Impurity begins, then, with the ability to distinguish between good and evil, or right and wrong. Through this ability, human beings gain free will, which is the ability to choose one side or the other. When acting in ways that they see as wrong, evil, or sinful, people identify themselves impure.
Free spirits have always dared to experience the world in unconventional ways, recognizing that distinctions such as right and wrong can be arbitrary and limiting. “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field,” wrote Rumi. “I will meet you there.” In other words, we get a fuller picture of who we are and what we can be when we look beyond the obvious categories and distinctions. Rather than focusing on removing our impurities, we can seek ways to become more complete.
Each of us has a sense that there is much more to who we are than we have yet to discover. Within our own hearts, we may feel incomplete. The film Jerry Maguire made this line famous: “You complete me.” Implied is the idea that there is something or someone out there which can make us feel complete. So, let me ask you this simple question: What completes you? Perhaps it is a specific person, group, place, ideal or value.
For free spirits, it would have to be the experience of this moment. In the here and now, there is much more for us to be, feel, sense and intuit. We become more complete by opening ourselves to the present moment, in all its glory. When we increase our receptivity, we feel things more deeply and intensely, which in turn lets us be more fully ourselves. And nothing enhances our receptivity like the ritual of Repose (for more on this, see Repose: The Potent Pause).
Receptivity means acceptance of the other. After all, none of us needs to receive something that we already possess. We can only be receptive to something that has heretofore existed outside of ourselves. When we feel a strong connection to something, it becomes a part of us. Suddenly, our boundaries are expanded, and we become connected to the people, activities, and things that inspire passion in us. This passion—the experience of being fully alive!—gives rise to everything that enriches us: our creativity, happiness, well-being, and spirituality.
For those of us who are free spirits, Repose is a powerful tool. It opens the doors to a life filled with passion and inspiration, love and joy, bliss and ecstasy. Do you find it hard to believe that something so simple can have such a profound impact on our lives? If so, I say: Perfect! Don’t take my word for it. Try Repose for yourself—three times a day for a month. Then, let me know what you find. You have little to lose and everything to gain. I am eager to hear from you!