Dance as Spiritual Pursuit

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Dance as a Spiritual Pursuit As you move along your path toward peace and enlightenment, you can balance your loftier pursuits by also putting equal attention on the physical plane of existence. Much of our faith based exercises occur outside the realm of the material world, but in reality we spend every moment of our lives in our physical bodies. Most belief systems emphasize teachings such as “The body is a temple.” Exercise and diet are prescribed in detail in many spiritual practices. But beyond the maintenance of the body, there is a diversity of opinion about how our physical self can be used in a pleasurable exercise that affirms life's basic joys. Some religions expressly forbid dance. Others have a rigid code of what is acceptable as rhythmic movement. If you follow your own path of spiritual development, though, and have the urge to dance as a way of expressing your new levels of consciousness, the only thing to learn is how to maximize the experience. Dancing opens one up to new experiences and connects you to other people. It expresses feelings and emotions and puts us in touch with universal energy. The body is a disciplined servant of the universe that extols the virtues of following a spiritual path. So get your groove on and be one with the cosmos. Historical Connection Many cultures have extreme forms of dance associated with their spiritual pursuits. A group in 19th century America called the Shakers did not believe in sexual relationships between people. They would meet to worship and perform elaborate dances that involved near-violent shaking. The exercise was a process of ridding sexual tension in the physical body so that the soul could be nearer to the divine. As popular as the sect was, the fact that none of their believers had sex meant that they had no children and the group ceased to exist. A few centuries before the Shakers, the

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