Entering Meditation Through Ecstatic Dance

- in My Mindfulness
Dancing as Meditation

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Dancing as Meditation

When most people hear of meditation, what immediately comes into their minds is someone sitting silently in a lotus posture counting his breath or observing his thoughts.


To enter into a meditative state, however, one doesn’t need to be physically passive, like the above image would suggest. There are physically active ways one can achieve that, but most people on the spiritual journey are unaware of that. Those include running and martial arts (Kyudo, the Japanese martial art of archery is a good example), with the most ancient and arguably most potent way being that of dancing.

Shamans and mystics have for ages been utilizing the power of dance to dive deep into their consciousness and break through to bliss. By dancing, they can calm the mind with its endless stream of thoughts and discover inner peace.

Of course, if someone observed me from the outside, I must have looked like a totally crazy person. I was jumping, shaking, jerking as if I was possessed by an uncontrollable entity that was moving me around beyond my will. However, on the inside, I was still, silent, serene. I was aware of the movement on the periphery, yet at the center of my being, I was unmoved and undisturbed.

Discovering the Power of Dance

If you’re interested in meditation, I’d highly recommend you to give a few intense dancing sessions a try. And if you’re worried that you can’t dance well, trust me, it doesn’t matter — what matters is that you pour the totality of your being into dancing.

As I pointed out before, my girlfriend and I don’t know much about dancing, and we certainly don’t consider ourselves good at it. I’m pretty sure that if a professional dancer had the chance to watch us dancing, he’d most probably think that we’re two immature people who have absolutely no idea of dancing and are simply wasting their time in a childish effort to show off to each other. The reality, however, is that we didn’t care about learning particular dance moves or impressing one another — we just wanted to spontaneously express ourselves and feel energized by the act of dancing.

When you decide to dance, be sure not to force yourself into certain movement patterns. Instead, let go of controlling your body and instead allow it to dictate you how to move. Don’t intellectualize the process — just let yourself playfully enjoy it like you did when you danced to your favorite songs as a child, without aiming for a particular goal. Once you re-discover the joy of dancing, you’ll soon be carried away by the dance’s energy. Having surrendered to the dance, you’ll find yourself in ecstasy, and, naturally — that is, without any effort on your part — you’ll dive into a deep state of meditation that will have a profound and lasting effect on your psyche.

Still, even if you’re not able to reach to those ecstatic, meditative moments, you’ll always get much out of your dance. For one thing, dancing is a lot of fun and will help put a big smile on your face. In addition, dancing can be a great way of exercising your body — it’s good for your heart, it makes you stronger, and it will help with balance and coordination. Most importantly, dancing can be a form of catharsis that will help you to purify your mind and heart, and thus restore your emotional equilibrium as well as reduce your stress levels.

As you can understand, dancing can be immensely beneficial in multiple ways. And the good thing about dancing is that you can do it from almost anywhere without using anything else other than your body and perhaps some good music!

Whenever you find an opportunity to dance, grab it tightly and make the most out of it, and the rewards you’ll receive from doing so will by far exceed your expectations.

So what are you waiting for? Go dance like there’s tomorrow!

“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”

Jalaluddin Rumi


This article (Entering Meditation Through Ecstatic Dance) was published by The Unbounded Spirit and is republished here with permission under a Creative Commons license with attribution to theunboundedspirit.com


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