For over six months I was very sick by my standards.
I could not do much of anything anymore.
So I had to come up with new ways of dealing with reality.
While at it I combined yoga, parkour and ecstatic dance techniques to what amounts to the new “Dancing with the Walls” YoPaDa approach.
How CFS-like Symptoms Affected Me
I usually don’t get sick often due to my super healthy lifestyle as a vegan parkour and Zen practitioner.
Yet for over half a year I experienced symptoms similar to CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome):
- debilitating fatigue (already in the morning)
- digestive issues like bloating
- brain fog
- social anxiety
plus some unique ones due to my personal health history like
- bleeding wounds
- fits of anger
I couldn’t train, meditate or even walk straight sometimes.
Sometimes it appeared as if I was very drunk without the “positive” effects of being intoxicated while having a hangover at the same time. I don’t know for sure as I was never drunk or hung over in my life.
The less I moved the worse it became.
So I couldn’t train properly but also couldn’t not move.
Sometimes I literally dragged my body to the place I usually trained at and had to pause already because I was so exhausted.
Then I would perform some warm up routines and was already so out of breath and dizzy that I had to sit down and rest in-between sets.
Also training was no fun that way most of the time.
Earlier on I had to stop practicing sitting Zen meditation.
I couldn’t focus anymore and would touch my wounds unconsciously and they would open again.
Thus I had to become a bit more inventive.
When You Can’t Move – Dance!
Ever since I’ve first heard of it I always wanted to try Ecstatic Dance but thought that I was not cool enough or ready yet.
Given my worsening state of health I decided that I had to try it now or never.
The dancing meditation session was third eye-opening to me.
After it I was completely changed. Even though I danced for almost 2h I was
I walked home talking to one of the other participants on the way back for 40 minutes on top of that.
It was the only one that took place during daytime. This way I could gather all my remaining energy and take part. It was a regular group that took place weekly.
Even though I did not expect to be able to take part regularly I wrote Nora and she encouraged me to attend.
Usually I would go there already
- having brain fog
- racing thoughts
- or being in pain.
When returning I was usually in a state of bliss.
I would give away my last Euro to a homeless man who sat on a bench or spend some money on things “I couldn’t afford” (because I couldn’t work and earn money properly) on the “Turk market”.
You Are not Your Body or Thoughts – But They Can Feel Like a Burden
When you read, listen to or watch spiritual teachings they will all sooner or later tell you that you are not your body or thoughts.
Only the “false self” or ego identifies with these superficial appearances and creates a fictional persona or mask to show the “outside world”.
So we tell ourselves that we are female or male, black or white, young or old, ugly or beautiful, rich or poor, cool or boring.
Somehow I couldn’t fit such categories anymore or was both black and white at the same time.
You don’t get it? Well, I’m still not sure I do.
Long story short I realized that there is also a “true self” in and out there.
Some spiritual teachers like
- Alan Watts
- Deepak Chopra
- Eckhart Tolle
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
will say something along the lines of
“You are the universe”.Deepak Chopra
“You are the universe experiencing itself”.Eckhart Tolle
Are you into gender duality and prefer female teachers? Check out:
- Teal Swan
- Tara Brach
- Pema Chödrön
- Rhonda Byrne
- Thea Alexander
What does “you are the universe” mean?
It means you are indeed not your body or thoughts.
You are the consciousness that watches that body or those thoughts.
Consciousness is not bound by a body though.
It transcends bodily limitations and is common to all of us.
Hence some refer to it as “universal consciousness”.
Others say God but that may be misleading (as you might think of an old bearded man nowadays).
The body or thoughts are not yours. You do not own them.
They are not you. You can do a full body or brain transplant and still be you.
You would have a new body or brain but the essence would still be there, maybe even the individual one.
I didn’t have a full body or brain transplant yet so I can’t tell you for certain.
What I can say is that the body or thoughts you witness are usually far from perfect in a conventional sense.
In my decade long Zen practice I had to realize this directly.
Most of the thoughts you witness are not yours at all.
Essentially there are no real original thoughts you witness. It’s all something you picked up from “elsewhere” and “other” people:
- religious figures
- bloggers nobody knows
love to condition you with “their” thoughts.
Remember when you were around five and someone said to you that you were
- [insert negative thought pattern here]
So now I’m nearing fifty and I still witness those thoughts from afar. It’s like time travel (and essentially it is because there only is an eternal now). You are still the little kid bullied for the first time.
Your “inner child” is right here with you and still suffering!
It is repeating that old mantra day in day out and treating it as a life motto!
Yet you are the universe while at it.
How on Earth am I to put that into practice when I’m bleeding, hurting, my vision blurs and my thoughts are racing?
WTF Are You? You Are the Universe! At Least Act Like One!
So the universe (that is you) is all-knowing, omnipresent (everywhere) and omnipotent (has unlimited power and energy).
- You look in the mirror: you see the universe.
- You pat your dog. You pat the universe.
- You hug your loved ones. You hug the universe.
- You eat a steak. You eat the universe (or yourself).
Once you know that everything is you, you will be far less likely to hurt “others” as it would be actually shooting yourself in the foot.
So in essence you can do whatever you want. Apart of causing suffering of course.
The “false self” or ego says that you need to amass money, power and influence to stay safe and survive also at the expense of others.
The “real self” can access all of those at any time, anywhere or in other words here and now.
It’s easy to say but harder to practice. As an individual I’m still not yet fully there.
I can manifest things, people and experiences out of the blue by now.
I just need to think of a name e.g. and I will meet a person of that name I haven’t met before soon. It works with rare names as well.
Yet my conditioned mind or “false self” will always attempt to thwart that by resurfacing old beliefs like
- you are ugly
- you are unworthy
- you are powerless
You name it.
So essentially you have to shut up the mind or simply laugh off those thoughts.
Thoughts are like clouds in the sky passing by. When you try to cling to them and own them you may struggle.
Whatever “you” think becomes “your” reality.
On a good day I think I’m popular and successful and immediately people approach me saying something like “shut up and take my money”.
On a bad day – and during the prolonged illness I experienced lots of those – even the good days were just good in contrast to the bad ones – the quality of the thoughts on my mind screen deteriorated. It was like hashtag #sick #ugly #weak #poor #desperate
To counteract this and while preparing for surgery as I knew my energy was ever dwindling I embraced inertia.
So I increasingly limited the scope of my tasks. I stopped checking the mailbox (the physical one and virtual one). I did not vacuum clean or shower anymore.
Sometimes I would fall asleep while still wearing my clothes and without brushing my teeth while the music was still playing and the light was still on.
I did not go anywhere beyond a walking distance radius that was ever dwindling.
So I would focus all of my energy on eating, sleeping and saving it for my weekly ecstatic dance session. That would boost me for a day usually.
So during those weekly ecstatic or conscious dance sessions (I only missed one in 5 months, as I had surgery the same day), I “raised my vibration” to align my physical body with the universal consciousness.
Sounds complicated? It wasn’t.
I just danced myself out of the mind by using the body.
I wouldn’t know how to do that so thank you very much to Nora Fischer and the other ecstatic or conscious dance facilitators.
Check out some ecstatic dance videos or playlists now.
While training parkour I started to involve less taxing moves and more flowy routines that did not require a lot of energy. Yet I struggled even with that little movement.
Instead of sitting (Za Zen) meditation that would make me nervous and agitated I would attempt some yoga poses from memory or improvised.
I never went to a yoga class in my life but I did some common yoga poses for warm up for the past dozen of years.
- As a peace-loving individual I only salute the sun for example.
- As a dog owner I trained the forward dog.
- And as I was too weak to do an unassisted handstand I would do the crow pose instead.
So in recent months I combined all of those intuitively during the ecstatic dance sessions.
YoPaDa Comes into Being
And here we are. I just “channeled” a new meditation technique from the universal consciousness based on yoga, parkour and ecstatic dance. The name yopada came also intuitively.
You can spell it as YoPaDa to remember that it’s a mix of mainly three elements.
You may want to use it to memorize the address.
I will also mention all of those people and influences that helped to come up with that approach and name in the end in a follow up.
Check out the martial art of fighting the false self now!