The final journey is inward


The final journey is inward

August 06, 2011

The final journey is inward

August 06, 2011

I approach the end of my course in movement arts. It has been a year greatly fulfilling and educational.

I realized that after all else has been explored, the final journey is to dive deep into yourself. There are many paths one might take to go there, and this year I used my body as a tool.

I was a very lonely teenager. While growing up I often felt claustrophobic in my own body and the space around me, waiting for something to happen, day after night after day. The waiting never seemed to end. The empty sense of waiting still exists, although whilst being so physically and mentally occupied, it aids the passing of time.

Its ironical, how Ive always felt that wasting time is the worst sin one could commit, and I try and squeeze in as much productivity/happiness as I can to my day, yet it seems as though at the back of my mind i'm still waiting.

People ask what my purpose in life is, and I think there is no such thing for the non superhero. My goals are all short term and keep changing.

This course above all has taught me the virtues of patience. In this information age where everything is instantaneously obtainable, one never has to wait, and has forgotten the art of waiting. The body though has not evolved as quickly as the times. Having sustained numerous injuries while experimenting with different forms of dance, I realized that time spent nurturing your body meditatively is directly proportional to the benefits you reap from it.

Feldenkrais has been a life changing learning for me. I sometimes aspire to be like a tree, to just be, exist, and observe everything happening around me. Old trees seem so intelligent, who've been around for years just observing un-imposingly. Feldenkrais has taught me to just observe my being as it is, and not try to alter immediately what I observe to be a defect. I have learnt that just accepting a problem and observing it, is a starting point to solve the problem. By actively trying to solve a problem we might be getting obsessive and actually making it worse, as the being is far too complicated for the conscious intellect to comprehend. Instead trusting yourself, and all the acquired wisdom through our years of information accumulation, a problem can solve itself if we give it some time and space. By information accumulation I don't just mean the history and mathematics we learnt in school, but acquired sensorially and perceptively starting the day we were conceived.

I get very irritated with myself sometimes because I'm habituated to give opinions and sound intelligent, whereas all opinions are imposing, and by imposing i'm interfering in someone else's karma. Not an intelligent thing to do at all.

This year i've tried to protract my learning through movement into everyday life. Patience is something that applies even for relationships, as even relationships haven't evolved as quickly as technology. By that I also mean my relationship with other people, animals, the environment and my feet.

I have realized that similar to a warm up exercise, the beginning of many things that lead to bigger things can be the most difficult part of the routine. But while sustaining the hardships of beginning something new, one mustn't be too aggressive and ambitious in trying to push oneself during warm up. In exercise, a build up over a few hours is what ultimately leads to long lasting strength. By pushing oneself in the beginning one might be able to achieve certain goals temporarily, but it is not sustainable. By stressing about anything, we only dilute our capacity, as worrying consumes energy and masks intuition. I'd like to think that the same principal applies to life.

This year i've found answers to many questions I had as a child. Sometimes the answer being that there is no answer, and that everything I thought I was odd for, is perfectly in accordance with nature. For example, I never liked the sound of the drums, and never understood why. I found a book written in 1875 by Surendranath Tagore (Rabindranath's grandfather) about how the drums started to be used in mediocre bands as a tool to keep in time . It explains why classical music never has the drums, because the artist doesn't need an external redundant source to keep rhythm. Rhythm is inherent in us because everything in nature has rhythms, from the heart beating 72 times a second, to the earth turning once in 24 hours.

If you observe a child going about its business, the observation is interesting because the child is so unpretentiously involved and focused on what its doing. An artist who does the same, is one whom its interesting to watch. I have had various kinds of teachers this year, and there is a distinct difference between a teacher who encourages you to dive deep, makes you understand the intention behind the movement, versus the teachers who show you images, makes you a 'performer', and hence work outside in. There is also a kind of teacher who makes you imitate images continuously and patiently all year, so you figure out for yourself what it looks like from inside your body. The kind which works for me is the first kind. With my limited memory, images never last, whereas a feeling lasts much longer. It brings out a certain kind of gold which is far more appealing even to an audience. To be endearing to an observer, the intention behind the movement cannot be to please the audience, but to really feel the movement beyond the physical.

It scares me tremendously, that in 2 weeks time, I will have limited access to this plethora of wisdom that resides in schools. If I had it my way, movement is the one thing I could commit to for the rest of my life.