Is there some way you long to emerge into the world? Some way you feel compelled to reveal your truth? To share your unique combination of gifts? Who inside you is longing to shine?
If this last question evoked an answer for you, consider taking a moment to jot it down, because the words that came are powerful in their creative exactness. I’ll give you an exercise to go with them shortly, but first, let’s appreciate your power of emergence. The cosmic understanding will enhance your experience of the exercise.
To sing praises for emergence, I’ll refer to the evolutionary cosmologist Brian Swimme who shines brightly by infusing scientific cosmology with the meaning and purpose of traditional cosmologies. With his Powers of the Universe, Swimme poetically imparts the ways the universe creates and courses through us. Numbered 0 to 10, they begin with Seamlessness, the “dynamic realm of pure generativity.”
If you’re curious about all of the powers, you’ll find links to Swimme’s work at the end of this post. For now, however, let’s skip to number three – the cosmological power of emergence.
By bringing our attention to emergence, Swimme seeks to enliven us with the awareness that the creation of the universe was not an event that happened in the far, distant past. Instead, creation is the continuing “story of an irreversible sequence of emergent events.” It’s an “ongoing creativity” in which humans participate – in which we can choose to participate – with conscious self-awareness.
In the Beginning
Swimme weaves his tale of ongoing creativity with eco-theologian Thomas Berry. They call it the Universe Story and it begins, not with the event commonly known as the Big Bang, but with “a flashing forth of evanescent beings.… In the beginning,” we learn, “the universe was a sparkling.”
Who are these evanescent beings, do you suppose? They’re the “sextillion” protons, photons, etc. that initially “foamed” into existence. In this case to foam is to dance wildly for an instant only to disappear “into the marrow of the universe” and then be replaced – over and over again – by yet another emergence of particles. The beginning was a “kaleidoscope sparkling between existence and non-existence.”
Time also emerged, and space too – with impeccable timing that revealed a “primordial elegance.” You wouldn’t be reading this blog without it. For if space had unfurled “one trillionth of a percent” slower, the universe story would have ended, and if space had emerged slightly faster, ditto. But space emerged at a rate that allowed the universe to establish its fundamental laws – electromagnetism, gravitation and the nuclear forces – and with this structure in place some of those subatomic beings entered into “primal enduring partnerships.” The universe became grounded with the emergence of simple nuclei.
The laws of interaction also reveal a “stunning elegance.” For if the strong nuclear interaction was slightly weaker, the sun we call ours would not have endured, and if the gravitational interaction was slightly stronger, the primal stars would not have been able to form “millions of veils of lacy galaxies.” Instead, they would have drifted apart.
But the galaxies did emerge and the sun we claim as ours still shines. We can feel its warmth today in part because it was born with just enough elemental residue swirling around its perimeter to provide the resistance needed to form the planets.
Indeed at every stage of cosmic emergence – the beginning of life on Earth with the simple procaryote, the moment when flowers first revealed their beauty, the first sea turtle excursion through pristine waters, and the first time early humans warmed themselves around a fire that they had made themselves – the universe has demonstrated an astounding creative tension. Swimme describes it this way, “the universe as it expands itself and establishes its basic coherence reveals the elegance of activity necessary to hold open all the immensely complex possibilities of its future blossoming.”
And now we come to the point of this post? SO DO YOU.
Your “basic coherence reveals the elegance of activity necessary to hold open all the immensely complex possibilities of” your “future blossoming” because you’re an expression of the cosmos, a child of creation, a unique human emergence, and…
Cosmic creative tension is something you feel inside yourself. You feel it as you struggle with your impulses…
to engage and withdraw,
to rally and rest…
to think big and ground your dreams with practical wisdom.
Emergence is that desire you feel to wave your magic wand or burst out of your shell, and resistance is anything that slows you down or holds you back. If you bring your conscious awareness to this dynamic, you can tap into the ongoing creativity of the universe and coach yourself with embodied direction.
So, who inside you is longing to emerge?
It could be a ballroom dancer or poet. A mechanic, martial artist or parent. A non-smoker, an activist, or an entrepreneur.
It might be something you’ve imagined for quite some time or an idea that came to you recently.
Regardless, if you’re aware of some way in which you’re longing to emerge, here’s an exercise you can try if you like. Please read through it first and pick a time to do it when you’re not in a hurry and won’t be interrupted. You’ll want as few distractions as possible.
YOUR SWEET SPOT OF EAGERNESS
Find a comfortable position. Close your eyes, bring your awareness to your body, and notice how you feel.
Do you have areas of tension? Do you feel an emotion arise? How is your breathing? Is it deep? Shallow? Are any thoughts racing through your mind? Notice everything and spend as much time bringing your attention to yourself as you like.
Once you get a sense of your overall state, fill in the blank below and make the following emergence statement to yourself – preferably out loud.
I’m willing to feel the (business owner, super fit yoga person, whomever!) inside me who is longing to emerge.
Feel free to edit the word longing if like. For example, you can use wanting or ready or whatever works for you. You can also be more specific with the wording about how you’re wanting to emerge. For example, “I’m ready to feel the business owner inside me who wants to open a cafe.” The idea is to create a personal statement that evokes your desired emergence.
When you make the statement, don’t try to visualize the outcome. Just keep noticing how you feel. Does the statement evoke a response? For example, you might notice your breathing or your posture change. An emotion or thought might arise. You might feel an increase (or decrease) in energy. You might even change your position.
If the statement elicits no response, repeat it and keep paying attention. This exercise may or may not work for you, and if it doesn’t, that’s okay.
On the other hand, the statement might elicit too much of a reaction, such as a knot in your stomach or the thought “No way!” In this case, try playing around with the word that you chose to fill in the blank. For example, if “best-selling author” makes you anxious for any reason, try working with published writer. You can dial it back up to “best-selling author” at another time if you like.
Or if you started with published writer and that didn’t get enough response, dial it up to “best-selling author” – if that’s your wildest dream – and see if that statement feels better.
The idea is to play with the creative tension and dial in your desire to a place that feels eager. Then once you find your sweet spot of eagerness, enjoy the feeling. Stay there as long as you can. Then when you’re ready, ask yourself this simple but motivational question:
What’s the next step I want to take to support this emergence?
You can play with this statement, too. For example, you can ask, “What do I need to support this emergence?” Either way, when you get your answer you’ll have embodied direction. You can take that next step and then use the exercise again to continue moving forward with a more conscious self-awareness or your creative tension.
I designed this exercise to keep myself and my clients in a state of emergent flow. It’s been effective for me and others, so hope it works for you, too. If you have any questions please feel free to email me privately or write in the comments below. Also, I offer a free initial 30-minute phone call, so if you’d like help tapping into or reconciling your creative tension, click the button below. I would love to assist you in shining, Kim
Purchase your EMERGE POSTER – designed by me & Hoshi Hani – at Zazzle.com!
All Swimme quotes were taken from the following two sources:
The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era – A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos, by Brian Swimme & Thomas Berry, Harper Collins: New York, NY, 1992
EnlightenNext: The Magazine for Evolutionaries, Issue 47, 2011, http://www.enlightennext.org
Links to work by Brian Swimme and colleagues are below. Please note I have only given you the tip of the iceberg. Swimme’s work is timely and profound.
Also, I really like the following short video. Enjoy!
Photographic Images are from Wikimedia Commons: