Stripper on a pole

June 19, 2009

How would we connect to God if there were no religions? How would we experience God if there were no priests? How would we open to God without “spirituality”, without meditations, rituals, ceremonies, sacred circles, candles and incense? Where would we find God if there were no churches, temples, sacred places? Those questions came to me as I was watching a video yesterday, sent to me by Brooks. “This woman is an example for unique modeling of advanced life opportunity, creativity, and she is complete in God and advanced beyond God” said the email. When I clicked on the link I saw a video of a pole dancer performing in a pole dancing competition. I looked at the video, at the, admittedly, amazing athlete and a fantastic dancer and thought: but this is just a stripper! The way she moved, the way she flew through the air, her grace, was incredible and yet the foremost thought in my mind was: but this is just a stripper! I finished watching the video, I looked through the dancer’s website, I looked at photos of her, most of them nude, and still there was the persistent protest in my mind: but this is just a stripper! And yet there was such beauty in her face, such light in her eyes, such innocence in the nude photos of her and such total, complete and unquestionable joy in what she does, that eventually I got it. The persistent thought went away and in “just a stripper” I saw the amazing woman, complete in God. As I saw it I realized that it is not about what we do, it is about who we are, it is about how open, how present we are. This woman is a pole-dancing stripper fully, completely and absolutely. Her dance is so full of power, beauty and grace because it is so completely who she is, so totally who she is, only who she is. Totally present as a human being, fully present in her body. Her presence, her awareness, made the pole-dancing a beautiful experience. It made me think of a man I used to date, long ago, back in Poland. I was a zen student back then, he was a painter, an artist. He used to say, when I would invite him to meditate with me: “I don’t need to. Whatever it is you experience in your meditation is what I experience when I paint, when I create. I don’t need to look for it anywhere else”. So how would we connect to God if there were no “special ways”, “special places”, special “middlemen”? Would we recognize God without flowing robes and a glowing halo around his head? Would we recognize God dancing half naked on a pole in a night club? And even more importantly – would we recognize God looking back at us in a mirror when we brush our teeth in the morning?

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