(First published in 1997 as introduction to our "Geometry of Balance" book)
THE BEGINNINGS OF UNITY IN MOTION by Michael Cristiam Nebadon
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina of a French mother and half-Indian father. At the age of six I contracted polio, and through the love and dedication of my immediate family and uncles and aunts who devoted constant time massaging my legs and body I was able to walk again after a year and half of this loving attention.
But even though I felt that I had recovered, my mother and father where always concerned that, because of my past illness, I would not be able to be as physically strong as my four brothers. Therefore, while growing up I did not experience the same sense of physical activity that my brothers did.
At the age of seventeen, longing to fully experience my sense of physicality, I came to the realization that I wanted to become a dancer. When I applied to the ballet master at the National Theatre, I was told that because of my age and developmental formation of muscles it would be practically impossible to re-instate the level of strength and power needed to fulfill my desire to dance. Perhaps because I was driven by my love for movement or because I did not fully understand what they were seeing in me, I persisted and asked for permission to attend and observe classes for a year.
This was the beginning of my great adventure in the realm of movement. I knew that in order to become physically strong and supple, I must practice and understand the working mechanism of the human body. As all things arrange themselves in life, I was blessed in my study with a wonderful teacher, Maria Ruanova, a master bio-mechanist who understood to perfection the skeletal connections and directions of movement of the body. I would go every day to class, attentively listening and observing how united movement came into being, and then at home I would practice for hours, gently allowing my body to receive and integrate this understanding.
From the beginning of this process, I intuitively knew that I could not push or force my body to do what it could not yet do. On the contrary, I needed to treat it as is it was: delicate molding clay that through repetition and knowledge of skeletal direction would day-by-day integrate into a new formation that corresponded to the new experience of physical strength.
Four years later, when an American musical was being produced in Argentina for the first time, I was chosen to be a dancer in My Fair Lady. My acquired ability to perceive the subtle nuances of the body, coupled with a developed understanding of gesture and movement was recognized by the choreographer, who made me his assistant. The following year I was asked by the same choreographer to move to New York City, where I worked as his assistant and danced in many Broadway musicals.
At the age of thirty-three, while on tour choreographing a musical, I found myself in Jerusalem shortly after the Six Day War. I wandered the ancient city, still lit only by candles, feeling acutely the charged atmosphere. I entered a temple looking for respite, but instead, for one brilliantly lit hour, I dwelt “inside of the heart of movement.” It was here that an extraordinary event dramatically changed my life and my perception of dance and movement.
When I first arrived in Israel I was touched by my perception of the conflict existing in the Middle East. Different cultures were living in close proximity to one another without being able to truly unite in a common desire for peace.
My most striking perception was the manner in which each culture was expressing their religious beliefs. I felt as if they were enveloped in a sense of longing for the reality of God, a reality that in that moment was failing to fulfill the essential desire of the human heart.
It was there as I was seated alone in a mosque in the old city of Jerusalem, that in a moment of frustration prompted by the pain that I was experiencing of the human condition I asked God: “Why?” Why have so many thousands of years gone by and the promise of fulfillment remained still negated, always projected into a time yet to come. From the vivid remembrance of this question, I only recall the next moment within my awareness as I saw a reflection of light pouring into the center of the room from one of the windows.
I was being moved, as if transported into a merging with an all- involving spatial design that was showing me all of the possibilities of unity that existed within the geometry of three-dimensional space. I was inside of the Geometry of Balance experiencing for the first time the dance of life.
I was in the presence of ecstasy feeling how everything that surrounded me was made of the same energy that expressed a form of vibration/radiation that I could only call love. For the first time, my body was not willfully moving but was naturally propelled by the very breath that was my life. It was here that my love for freedom of movement was understood as being a natural merging with three-dimensional space. And I realized that my merging with three-dimensional space was also my engagement with a pure momentum, not of my making, that was the result of my sense of unity within all things.
I cannot tell you how long I was inside this beautiful experience, but what I can surely say is that I learned in those precious moments the meaning of the exaltation that was my essential desire to express movement and dance. As I experienced greater and greater degrees of energy and love I became suddenly self-conscious, thinking that I could no longer withstand the extraordinary energy that I was experiencing. With this thought then, I witnessed how the geometrical patterns of movement existing in three-dimensional space that were enveloping me in freedom of movement were now gradually contracting back into my body. As this was occurring I recognized that out of fear I was contracting back into physical boundaries, realizing that after my experience of freedom, I was becoming imprisoned into my old, familiar sense of self.
Later, as I tried to make sense of this experience, I realized that even though I did not fully understand what had just happened to me, what I am sure of was that I had been given an extraordinary gift. This was the gift that was allowing me to make sense of my childhood experience of not being able to walk, making sense of my desire to fully experience the freedom inherent in physical movement, and above all assisting me to understand the force that has impelled me through all these years to learn and experience the many forms of movement existing within the world of dance. I had asked for the experience of freedom and now knew that freedom had been shown to me.
Now I was in the presence of a realization that was bringing me into a new perspective within my life. I was to use all my knowledge of movement and dance to consciously recover this transcendental sense of freedom that had allowed me to experience my physical union with three-dimensional space.
With this realization, I completed my work in Israel and returned to New York to begin the exploration of movement that has allowed me to consciously regain a sense of freedom.
Entering this exploration of movement became the most exciting time, because now I had an actual physical experience of what I was looking for. Now, through the physical experience of unity, I had a vivid, holographic implantation within my sense/body of the feeling of energy and the spiraling circular motion that suspended me inside of the all inclusive Geometry existing in three-dimensional space.
One day, as I was practicing, searching to find the spiraling movement that existed within the places of maximum movement within my spinal column, I had a recurring moment of communion with the Geometry that instantaneously gave a greater insight into what I had been doing. Through my hours and hours of practicing movement, I was releasing all sense of fixed structural formations within my body.In other words, I was gradually erasing all sense of downward, compressional force upon my body and by doing this I was experiencing a completely new sense of spatial awareness. I was opening myself towards my true vertical center of gravity.
Through this awareness of releasing into the new, vertical direction of my body, the center of gravity was ceasing to be my conversional relationship to the ground, and was becoming balanced by expansion.
Through the movements that I was exploring, by transmuting through expansion the compressional density through which my body was sensing its sense of balance, I was gradually raising my center of gravity. I was spatially releasing my true vertical sense of expansion so that I could finally relate spherically to three-dimensional space and thus experience momentum to be my natural communion with the Geometry of Balance.
As I became more and more aware of my equilibrated sense of freedom in three-dimensional space, I saw how the movement of my body was now becoming my essential tool for understanding. I was gradually becoming conscious of that which was a subconscious part of my being. And in this process I was erasing all forms of subconscious holdings so as to regain the union of energy flow that I remembered to be the whole of my body being supported and directed by the natural momentum of life.
With time, as I was becoming more and more familiar with the energy of balance, I further realized that the integration of my body was actually the transformation of my mind. My mind was now bringing to my awareness a new vision and understanding of skeletal relationship, fascia, ligaments, and muscle interactions.
Furthermore, my mind was also bringing to my attention principles of movement that were not previously part of my conscious understanding. I was practicing a certain movement for example, and all of a sudden I saw within my mind’s eye the workings of the solar system. Inside this mental vision, I was not only perceiving but also understanding how our planet is suspended in 0 weight by its natural gravitational communion with all planets, the moon and sun, and how all of these movements synchronized into the one natural momentum that is the Universe.
As I began to envision the nature of centering and relationship in motion that is the unity of the solar system, it occurred to me that this principle must also be true within the structural forms of our bodies.
I then began to redefine the centering of the skeletal segments of my body, with the idea of synchronizing all sense of centering into one instantaneous sense of wholeness. This synchronicity into oneness, became then my vision of suspended three-dimensions and the possibility of moving constantly in a fluid manner in 0-Point Balance. As I further explored this realization, I discovered that there were three synchronized centerings within each of the arms. The centering of the upper arms and shoulder girdle through the shoulder joint, the centering of the upper and lower arms through the elbow joints, and the centering of the lower arms and hands through the wrist joints. Together, the centering of the six segments of the arms at the joints were centralizing not only the shoulder girdle but also the center of the chest.
I discovered that the same unity occurred within the centering of the six skeletal segments of the legs at the joints. This unity of centering not only centralized the pelvic girdle, but also reconnected the centering of the legs and the arms with the three-dimensional form of the vertebrae and curves of the spinal column.
Together, in their synchronicity, all of the skeletal centerings at the joints unified the body’s sensation of the ground via the pelvis and legs at the joints. This simultaneous expression of unity culminated in the centralization of my head, at the atlas, (the top vertebrae of the spinal column), thus realizing the clear, vertical, spatial extension of the top of my head. Thus, my clear, vertical spatial definition expressing my physical centering in three-dimensional space is the Geometry of Balance.
Through this process of consciously redefining the simultaneous relationship of centering between all of the segments of my body, I was unveiling within my mind’s perception an internal pattern or matrix of suspended movement. This was the suspended instant of three dimensions that by the very nature of its structural form synchronizes the force of gravity and the force of expansion into the natural experience of balance.
As I became more and more fascinated with the process of becoming conscious of the many reflexes of movement within my physical body, I clearly recognized that without the transcendental gift that was my experience of the Geometry of Balance in Jerusalem, it would have certainly been impossible for me to have had this vision. The grace of this holographic experience was giving me now my physical understanding of the sense of the entire engagement of centering that existed within my body. Now in the thankfulness of my heart, I could make full sense of the experience.
I have been given the sense of wholeness from which I can presently make sense of the movement function of each part of my body. And, through the parts and the whole, make sense of the whole engagement that is the experience of balance. I was becoming conscious of that which was the very existence of my being, the primal reflex from which I experienced my physical sensation of life.
As my experience of three-dimensional unity became increasingly clear, it revealed the spatial matrix that was the simultaneous, expansional centralization of my whole body. This expansional centralization involving the unification of interaction between 19 centerings of the body, was the same as my unity with the essential movement that was my life. Through the process of becoming conscious of my sense of balance, I was putting myself inside the one frame of movement that was not only the three-dimensional whole engagement of my body, but was also the natural frame of movement that was the natural suspension of the planet Earth, the natural suspension that is the solar system, the natural suspension that is the universe. And now, in natural understanding and through the grace of life I was merging with the frame of movement of life. I was merging with the whole matrix of synchronized movement that is the universe moving as one.
Thus, inside of unity, I was recognizing that in regaining my sense of Earthly, three-dimensional physical balance, I was also becoming celestial. In my conscious engagement with the pure principle that is Unity in Motion, I was not only becoming aware of the whole animation of movement that is the life force of my body, but also becoming reconnected to the all-inclusive dance that is the dance of life.
This has been the process of rediscovered, physical awareness that has led me to my essential experience and understanding of my communion with the natural field of movement of three-dimensions. In my communion with pure three dimensions I was naturally merging with the frame and movement of life.
As this essential recognition of my given union with the frame and movement of balance became more and more physically real, the movements of Unity in Motion came into being through the direct reflection that is the Geometry of Balance. Inside of this unity, the Geometry can be explained in both ways. It is the universal, all permeating design of life that unites form and space into one. It is also the direct bio-mechanical expression that is the unification of centering between all the segments of the body.
In its circular unity, the Geometry of Balance makes both forms interchangeable expressing the integration of the three-dimensional form that is the physical body as it is fully supported and directed by the unified whole movement that is the Universe.
In the mid-1990's, the movements of Unity in Motion became finally integrated into one fluid form expressing the constant change that is a three-dimensional nature of balance merging the physical sense of self with the universal movement of balance.
In its entire form Unity in Motion embraces 45 minutes of uninterrupted movement and is composed of five sections. Each section,gives to the student an understanding and experience of a cumulative sense of centering, gradually strengthening in unification the whole body so as to merge it with the all-embracing momentum that is the suspended nature of balance.
The Movements are a miracle because they dispel all sense of mystery existing within the balance of the human body allowing all beings to become free of the many confusions and misunderstandings that innocently have separated us from the whole experience that is the unity of life.
Throughout the time in which I learned and shared through teaching the movements of Unity in Motion, it became evident to me that the students communion with the Geometry of Balance repaired all forms of confusion within the individual’s interpretation of the physical body. The discovery and the application of the geometrical connection balancing the body in three-dimensional space allows the individual to make full use of the extraordinary source of energy that is the electromagnetic field of the planet Earth. The electromagnetic field is like a fountain of life in the sense that all of its forces are in synchronicity, always converging and expanding as one.
In this sense the electromagnetic field of the planet can be equated with the Geometry of Balance as the geometry allows us to truly perceive the electromagnetic field. In their unity both express the inner engine quality of the universal principle that self regenerates into more within the same frame of movement of life. The understanding and utilization of this extraordinary miraculous given gift can progressively transform all forms of therapy because it can correct and bring into harmony all sense of imbalance and forms of dysfunctions within the human body.
ENERGY INTO FORM by Carol Sipper
Meeting Cristiam back in 1990 was one of those encounters that, looking back, seems pre-ordained. Basically, there was much work to be done and we simply set about doing it. Life is filled with such miracles and I know I have been greatly blessed in being able to assist in giving physical reality to this most perfect and beautiful vision that is Unity In Motion
Cristiam and I were engaged in other projects relating to Unity In Motion for several years and it was not until 1994 that we began working specifically on “The Movements”. It was time for the physical movement that had emerged from Cristiam’s ever-expanding understanding of balance to take shape in a more structured form.
We entered a new level of putting into words, giving names and describing that which was once formless energy. Like Cristiam those many years before, I became fascinated with the movement and came into an ever deeper appreciation for all the years he had spent making sense of his initial experience and for the love that propelled and keeps propelling him to share it. I began to practice for hours on my own.
I searched for my own way to describe what I was experiencing. I searched for clues that would assist me in defining myself in three-dimensional space. Being a musician, I began seeing the emerging Movements as a musical composition and became aware that they had their own natural rhythm. We began using the metronome while practicing. We became very precise with the beats and wrote them all down. We tracked the body’s ever-changing center of balance as it moves through three-dimensional space.
From Cristiam’s innate understanding, the Movements began to flow one after another until five sections emerged and the form was complete. We decided we needed pictures for students to have a clearer sense of the Movements. I took photos of Cristiam, we enlarged the pictures by photocopying them, we traced them and then worked on each drawing in order to get as accurate a depiction of the specific three-dimensional Connection as we possibly could.
The result was a pictorial map of all the Movements first published in 1997 entitled "The Geometry of Balance. During this time we also produced another book, Unity In Motion, The Balanced Nature of Life which is a more detailed explanation of the principles of balanced movement.
At the precise moment we focused our attention on getting the Movements into a teachable form, Nancy McGowan from Pittsburgh and Sandy Holland from Marin County appeared on the scene. They both knew immediately that they wanted to learn the Movements and pass them on. Sandy has continued quietly and steadily with her group up in Northern California.
Nancy, Cristiam and I continue to work together developing and refining teaching techniques. Cristiam travels to Pittsburgh regularly to teach and assist Nancy in establishing classes there. Nancy has written many beautiful things about Unity In Motion. She teaches classes in Pittsburgh and also leads a special class focused on the New Consciousness that Unity In Motion is bringing forward. There are now teachers of Unity In Motion in the San Francisco/Marin County area and in the Pittsburgh area. And notably, there is Ellen Rennell, a teacher in Los Angeles who was one of Cristiam’s first students more than twenty years ago. Ellen is still an ever-present and vital contributor with her own essential understanding of Unity In Motion.
As we all, students and teachers, continue to expand with experience and awakening awareness, we feel blessed to have Unity In Motion as a connecting thread running through our lives. We share the same feeling of gratefulness and are often heard to exclaim – “What a miracle”.