"Water is a very special fluid."
Roughly 70% of the surface of our planet is covered with water, around the same percentage as the content of water in our bodies. How this element resides throughout our body, at the very least, directly affects our balance, temperament, vitality, and memory.
Mark Twain wrote,
“The face of water, in time, became a wonderful book- a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.”
This page is dedicated self-expression, knowledge, healing, and curiosity. Take some time to tread through the waters of movement and reflection, as a journey to understand this essential element, thru the eyes of an Applied Eurythmist.
The Slosh Effect
When you drive your car around a tight corner you may notice your body having the sensation of being drawn, pulled, or sloshed through the corner. There is more than centrifugal force at work here. If you resist the pull, the less you feel the slosh effect. The more you relax your body the greater the effect, which is all happening while your body is strapped to the seat. This is not surprising, considering we are mostly water. Our body is a fluidic container and when paid attention too as such, can inform our experiences with surprising results. Amusement parks, extreme sports, racing, or even rocking your self to sleep, for example, all pay tribute to the fascination that people have toward the effects of gravity upon our buoyant fluidic self.
I don’t know of a better way to express the experience of listening to the natural water displacement within my body than the Slosh Effect. By training my attention to the subtle fluidic movements within my body, which usually live below the threshold of my habitual waking consciousness, I find an entirely different movement paradigm. It is a movement paradigm that brings focus to relaxing the grip I engage within my body. This allows my nervous system to relax a bit so that I can expand down to sense the deep still night waters of the fluidic blood nature of my being as counter pole to my often hectic, nerve sense, day waking being.
Leading Edge / Lagging Edge
Any movements that an individual makes with their bodies, such as the wave of a hand, dancing, running, etc, will express a leading edge of movement and a lagging edge of movement. If you understand the Slosh Effect then this next step is to experience slosh as a polarity between the lead and lag. If I have a glass of water in my hand and I thrust it forwards, the leading edge of the container immediately responds to my will, where as the water in the container will lag in the opposite direction, splashing towards me. Then it will follow the movement of the leading edge if another directional impulse is not given. Finally, the water will oscillate back and forth within the container, moving towards stillness. It is clear that our bodies are composed of compartments, membranes, and cellular walls, yet the totality of our watery being still expresses its “sloshy” self through the body matrix. By spending quality time with this natural occurrence a third aspect arises.
The Water Bubble
Water seeks its own level. The carpenter knows this from using a carpenter’s level which houses a fluid medium within a small container at its center with a bubble of air within it. This is also known as the bubble level. By focusing your attention upon your own unique natural fluidic displacement, you as a liquid being will find your balance; just focus on your water and your sense of balance will be informed. As you spend more time in water awareness, the layering of your experiences can give rise to witnessing the interaction of your habitual movement patterns with your relaxed newfound discovery of Slosh and the separation of the Leading Edge and Lagging Edge.
As you become a more conscious observer of your own movement and the movement of others, you gain the abilities to ride, glide, play, and push on your own inherent water bubble self.
As people we naturally float and ride within the waters of our own bodies. Active people have learned to tread and glide within their waters. Athletic people have gained the ability to swim and play within their water. An Athlete has gained enough familiarity to surf and push within the leading and lagging edges of their own watery nature, thus propelling themselves beyond the ordinary.
The Four Tempos
Earth, Water, Air, and Fire have rates of motion and activity that constitute tempo.
Earth- Movement that goes toward stillness or rest
Water- Stillness or rest that resides in the lagging edge of movement
Air- Movement that resides in the leading edge of movement
Fire- Stillness or rest that goes toward movement
As neatly arranged as these four qualities of tempo within space may seem, their interactions are manifold.
It is our indomitable fiery spirit to grow and change that brings us to our feet. In this accomplishment, it is this spirit that animates our nervous system so it can lay hold of our fluidic and boney nature and bring us into the upright. Consciousness and movement prunes back our fluidic growth forces, which in turn allows for new and more abundant growth and vitality. These growth forces are described in Anthroposophical circles as part of the workings of the Etheric Body. The Etheric Body is just one part of a whole four-fold picture of the human being, which Rudolf Steiner calls-The Four-Fold Being of Man.
Earth- Physical Body
Water- Etheric Body
Air- Astral Body
Fire- Ego Body or Ego Organization
In pondering the workings of just the Etheric Body, I will arrive at four distinct qualities inherent within it. This is consistent with the holistic maxim; "In every part there lives a picture of the whole". So in the watery movement world of the etheric there will naturally be earth, water, air, and fire qualities of the Etheric Body. This will also hold true with regards to what is called etheric movement. The Four Tempos are the four qualities of our Etheric Movement Body. So you can see how a sprinter for example, calls upon his or her fiery etheric nature to permeate the greater parts of his or her body, where as a person fired up about sending out an e-mail needs very little fire etheric in order to animate the body into typing out content.
It is our birthright to move ethericly. Only by strapping myself to a machine, which can do movement for me, will the use of my etheric be under utilized and in time will atrophy. You can see how having a well rounded experience of all four etheric movement qualities can give an individual greater connection to self and the four-fold world we inhabit.
Here is a beautifully written description of water from, The Temperaments and the Arts, by Magda Lissau.
"The all-suffusing, ever moving sphere of water encloses the globe with rolling waves from horizon to horizon. It levels as it calms, or bears long forgotten secrets in angry waves. Surface tension is great--it closes off the inner deeps from the prying eye, the curious probe. Forever it strives to find its lowest level, and presses down upon the mineral earth with increasing force. The surface is impressionable-- at least it seems this way as the slightest breeze causes ripples to flit over its surface.
The running brook, gently following the slope to river, stream and sea, delights us with its chattering and murmuring, as it gives life to all nature along its banks. The waters, which flow and merge, ripple and reflect as well as nourish, are the basis of all the life of nature. The being of water is a veritable Proteus of rainbow-hued disguise.
Water's close relation with air is apparent in the thick mists of morning, in the rising clouds and the falling rains--in the constant change between rising and falling. Water leaps the surface tension into the air and joins the streaming, blowing, flowing currents of air in its minutest droplets. Or it condenses into heavy drops, rushing to earth, to join the hugest drop of all--the watery sphere. The spherical shape is its signature form. The surface tension of each drop, both great and small, guards and preserves its inner world of stillness and self-containment.
Water is probably the most mysterious and least fathomable of all the elements--so many-facetted, yet so potentially still and passive; so formless and adaptable--yet following laws of its own. Peculiar and apparently contradictory manifestations, to take but the simple phenomena of its volume increase as water freezes!
"Still waters run deep"-- and the mysterious depths draw many curious probers."