An Undivided Wholeness of Flowing Movement

My dear friend and mentor, Will Johnson, has just written this:

flowing-movementAn undivided wholeness of flowing movement. What a delicious phrase! And it neatly encapsulates much of what I teach in the long sitting retreats I lead. Most of the time we experience ourselves as irrevocably separate from everything we can perceive to exist outside of ourselves, but when we truly awaken the body and start surrendering to a breath that can indeed “breathe through the whole body,” we gain access to an alternative dimension of consciousness in which our conventional sense of separation gives way to a ground state of union and undivided wholeness. And the way to this awakening of body—and the doorway into this entrancing dimension of undivided wholeness—is through relaxing so deeply that the body stays in a condition of constant, subtle, flowing, amoeba-like movement in resilient response to the breath. When the physical body stays moving in this way, the current of the life force can be felt to flow freely through as well.

An undivided wholeness of flowing movement. I wish I had come up with that phrase myself, but it comes from a far superior source. It’s the shorthand phrase that the quantum physicist David Bohm came up with to describe how he believes the universe is constructed. Bohm was one of the most respected quantum physicists of the last century, and toward the end of his life he began to intuit that our understanding of how reality is constructed needed a rather complete overhaul. For Bohm, there are two fundamental dimensions of reality, what he called the implicate and explicate orders. The implicate order (which he felt had been completely overlooked by science) was like a unified ground state or source out of which the entire explicate order—with its gajillion of stars and universes and atoms and subatomic particles, all of them constantly moving, twinkling, and shimmering—was projected, somewhat like how a complex holographic image is projected from a single light source. For Bohm, everything is constantly moving back and forth between both these dimensions, but at such a rapid rate that the world of appearances still manages to look solid and stable.

The Heart Sutra, one of Buddhism’s most revered texts, in an almost exact reflection of Bohm’s dual vision of an explicate and implicate order, tells us that everything that exists partakes of two dimensions—one of conventional physical form, the other of a deep underlying emptiness—and for me, one of the goals of spiritual practice is to have a direct experience of the simultaneous existence of these two dimensions. The easiest way to grasp this mind boggling understanding is to remember that, even though we look at people and recognize them by their very solid looking face and body, we don’t experience ourselves as particularly solid. Rather, we feel like some kind of openness or space that somehow pervades and permeates our very solid looking head and body. And if this dual condition of an apparent solidity permeated by an underlying intangible openness is true of you and me, why shouldn’t it be true of every other physical object as well? The ground dimension of undivided wholeness is very real, but the only way we can directly access this dimension is to make sure that our entire body remains in a condition of constant, flowing motion. If we remain stiff and frozen in our bodies, this extraordinary dimension will never appear to us, and we will completely miss the joy of wakening to its presence. So . . . flow on, and remember two things: 1) that constant flowing motion is what connects you to the source of all things, and 2) combining a simultaneous awareness of both—the dimension of undivided wholeness and the condition of flowing movement—takes you directly into your natural state.

I love Will Johnson — he embodies his work, and his work helps us experience the body the way the Holy Spirit in A Course in Miracles does — just in different language. I find different points of view and the fresh use of language are potent mind-openings. Hope you feel the immediate benefits of this wisdom. For more of Will’s work, visit