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The Three Anatomies

The Three Anatomies
Ellen shares flavors and perspectives of Continuum on the 10th anniversary of Emilie’s passing.

Continuum is and has always been an inquiry: there is no goal or defined protocol. There are, however, principles to understand and incorporate into one’s practice, like avoiding repeated patterns, open attention, pleasure as a guide, the importance of being self-referential. We are invoking the “spirit of water,” and are forever interested in and curious about what will emerge. As Emilie would say, “We are softening the inhibitors to invite billions of years of planetary intelligence to manifest. Fear takes a step back.”

Each dive is different. Emilie rarely, if ever, taught the same material the same way. Her inquiring mind infused the work with innovation, while continually returning to and expanding on basic questions. A Continuum inquiry can move between tracking a specific sensation in the body to the existential questions of What are we? and How can we become more of what we are?  Emilie deeply valued and always championed the individual’s experience. Thus, the ever-evolving body of this work has been, and continues to be, deeply influenced and informed by the experiences of its devoted practitioners and teachers.

April 14, 2024 commemorates the 10-year anniversary of Emilie’s passing. It is interesting to look back to the last 10 years of Emilie’s life (2004-2014) when so many ongoing seeds of thought, breaths, sounds, and overarching concepts arose along with the publication of her book Life on Land. Here are several examples that give a nice flavor of the territory being explored 10 to 20 years ago that became an integral part of Continuum and are worth diving into with fresh perception again today.

The Blurs & Intervals    
The Blurs are guttural, indistinct sounds that originate at the back of the throat or in the chest, the same place as the Tibetan tri-chordal chanting. The closest description of them would be ET’s voice in Spielberg’s classic.  Emilie said that they “undifferentiate” or “deconstruct” muscle fiber, which gets excessively patterned in the throat from talking. She called them “unshaped sound.” Doing the Blurs connects you to what Emilie would call the pre-associative brain.

The time between each Blur is called an Interval. Inhabiting an Interval is akin to watching smoke dispersing. That actively waiting & passively observing time between Blurs, helps develop the dexterity of our brain.

Puffed O’s & Involutions  
The Puffed O’s are made by making an O sound while keeping one’s lips closed, so that one’s cheeks puff out.  They create an active vibration in the fluid in our system. The Involutions are a visualization of squiggly lines at a specific place in the body, while sounding the Puffed O’s. This is an example of a potent combining of sound, intention & visualization, that, in this case, can burrow through tissue. The result is an experience of that area being opened, lightened, and aired or cleaned out.

The Three Anatomies  
This is a concept that distinguishes between three states of consciousness that are expressed by three different qualities, form, function, and speed of movement. With experience, one can move among these throughout a dive, further enriching the experience.

We are in the Cultural Anatomy when we, in Emilie’s words: “fetch wood, carry water.” This is our linear, daily movement that everyone uses to live life. The Cultural Anatomy is necessary for “running from tigers & buying Toyotas.”

Movement in the Primordial Anatomy is much slower and is characterized by the undulating, oozing flow of amoebas or snakes. It is not something we humans typically engage in, for there is no external reason to. Ideally, our entire body becomes deliciously fluid - both in internal sensation and in actual movement.

The Cosmic Anatomy inhabits a domain in which one moves even more slowly, with lots of suspension. When in it, one feels as if one’s body is dispersed and weightless, connected to a much larger context, hence ‘cosmic.’

As Emile wrote in Life on Land, “Depending on what is necessary at the moment we can shift our structure, thought, and tissue simultaneously in order to enrich the world we inhabit and, consequently, the world we are creating...The ‘I’ of the Cultural Anatomy turns into the ‘we’ of the Primordial Anatomy and eventually becomes the all-inclusive ‘field consciousness’ of the Cosmic Anatomy.”

There is so much yet to be discovered. There is so much to learn. May it always be so.