I couldn't help myself. Of all places, ecstatic dance is probably the most permissive of adults staring. Still, I felt naughty doing it. But I couldn't help my self. The way she inhabited her body, how she seemed to be pulled into movement, her controlled fluidity. I could tell by her posture and energy, eyes soft and down, mouth moving as if slowly chewing, in a world of her own, yet contained, that she was in flow. She wasn't thinking, or choreographing in her mind as she went along. She was being danced. The sense that some outside force was compelling her movement was deepened by the shape of her dance itself. Grabbing hold of the arm of her sweatshirt she'd pull it close with the other hand, then toss it away, as if it couldn't move on its own, then follow that momentum into a turn. She'd suck her stomach in, hunching the shoulders over, while scooting back, like a thread came through the body from the belly button, and pulled her around. On her knees, I could feel the pull of gravity, or some invisible lover, gather her to the ground. I watched, captivated and frankly drooling, until I got the courage to copy her, try it on as best I could.
Trouble is, the flow state tends to resist our trying. It is a mysterious allowance. Phenomenologically, flow feels like it is happening through you. It isn't yours and it isn't you. You are just the body it can happen in. The vessel. The channel. And it is ecstatic, numinous, for that very reason, because it seems to come from the beyond, something larger, something vast and extraordinary and eternal.
It is also erotic and arousing. Through the many crotch novels I've read since discovering the world of BDSM, and through my embodied experience, I've learned there is something deeply satisfying and just hot about being well used. In erotica, submissives are often called fuck toys, or likened to draft animals, or even slaves. It is compelling to give oneself over, to be at the service of something outside your control. Importantly, a BDSM relationship is a consensual one, where at bottom (and top ;), the goal is pleasure for everyone. The game is that the submissive gives themself completely to whatever the top desires, but that is only in the context of stated limits and shared desires. The game is in fact in service to the submissive. To play as if you are being moved by your Dominant is freeing, powerful, and ultimately, essentially a religious experience, a deeply embodied and pleasureful one. BDSM is a way to experience the vast and benevolent, though wild, universe, which can course through, take over, and leave you feeling spent, like a salmon after spawn.
What is it really that takes over, that courses through, in moments of flow? I don't claim to know, but it is the primary way I feel God, the larger web of life, Mystery, the universe. A state where the ego seems to step aside and I am a mushroom arising from the mycelium of life. A direct, embodied experience of the divine. I want to submit to that because it feels good. And because it feels like something immense and creative is at work, using me to dream its dream a little further. The loving power of the world dances me, tugs on the strings that puppet me, which sit in God's palm.
In my experience, flow just happens. It is unpredictable and unplannable. But I can imagine ways we might become more alluring to the larger web, that it might be seduced to use us. Devotion is one. Giving offerings, especially of things you cling to, honest sacrifices. Expressing trust and love in the larger force, or even honest doubts, being vulnerable. Loving yourself enough so you don't need much from the world, so that your dance isn't working to earn you worth or belonging or praise. To be sure enough in yourself so the dance becomes about what Earth wants, instead of what you want or need. An intention can help, or a ceremony to deepen your permeability, open you up. Playing -- honestly delighting in your experience in the present moment -- is a welcoming state. All of these have supported me in the practice of being Earth's submissive. Yet there remains a mystery in it. It is untamable. It does not want to be bent by us. And I for one, do not want to bend it. Instead I bend, kneel, pray, give thanks for this wild wondrous web of beauty that sometimes, blessedly, uses me.