Erotic Gravity

— The pleasure of falling —

I’ve met many people who talk about “higher consciouness”, “light”, “transcendence”, “wake up” etc… as if there is a whole world above and beyond us. I have always wondered how strange that language is. How might I bother to perceive something “up there” while right in front of us, next to us, between us there are things we cannot even name?

Consider an example. Let’s say you have an out-of-the-world transcendent experience: bliss, orgasm or trance, induced by whatever method of your choice, sex drug dance etc… After that, you are high for days, if not weeks. Compare that with a case when you got a phone call on the road hearing a news: someone you dearly loved suddenly passed away. A second before, everything was normal. Now, everything has changed. What is more transcendent then?

In college, I took a philosophy class called “Nothingness”. The concept resists easy summary, but an example may help. Remember when you are first falling in love, that moment of silence between you and your lover where there is no word yet everything is expressed? It’s about the palpable thickness of the unspeakable, the simultaneous paradoxical nothing-and-everything quality of the moment. It is now a well-documented phenomenon that comes under many names, such as “presence”, “I-Thou”. Nothingness is the most attractive vacuum there is.

As such, I’ve been longing for a more embodied, down-to-earth, dirty, messy spirituality, one where falling asleep is just as important and “spiritual” as awakening. Forget all that language of “lightness” and “higher consciousness”: how about sensuous? Thick and thin? Rugged and smooth? Flagrant and elegant?

Or, as I alluded to from the title of this post, an erotic gravity?

The phrase pops up as I remember the word of a dance teacher “When you dance with someone, remember there is always a third partner: the floor”. I thought “Wait, if eros is about physical attraction, then the most erotic thing must be gravity between bodies, particularly the larger body of the earth”.

Mediated by comfy mattress and ergonomic chair, we the humans of modern world often forget the intimacy of gravity. Only when I started learning to dance, particularly Contact Improv, did I start to experience a deeper intimacy with this literal force of nature.

At my first Contact Improv lesson, I got to lie on the floor, curl up and down, roll back and forth, slither through and fall into its smoothness. It was the very first lesson because the first dance partner everyone has is the floor. My teacher said “every time you dance, remember you are always dancing with the floor. Get to know it intimately”.

It reminds me of a line in a Rumi poem:

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

You can fall flat on the floor, which is reckless, dangerous yet thrilling. You can drop gracefully, starting with the head nodding then body furling down like a rolling sheet. You can even melt as if your skeleton is suddenly pulled out of the body into thick air. Or you can tumble around like a blob of slithering amoeba, stretching out and embracing the floor in its entire glory.

There are many ways to kiss the ground…

You can say a lot about someone from the way one falls; it is the embodied manifestation of her relationships with gravity. How much is there resistance? Acceptance? Exploration? Cherish? Leverage?

Why bothers about those questions? I keep thinking about the Einstein quote “You can’t solve a problem by the same kind of thinking that creates it in the first place”. Anyone who are asking important questions about the world must explore different ways to relate to it. The world is not flat, not filled with straight lines as our rational mind fantasizes and our eyes perceive.

The most attractive thing is a vacuum, a void, an emptiness. We are always drawn to what is missing. For me, right now, it is a more physical, embodied way of conceptualizing the world.