Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Lance Kinseth, 2007
All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over turn it over
wait and water down.
From the dark bottom
turn it out
let it spread through, silt down,
Watch it sprout.
A mind like compost.
IN AXE HANDLES, poet Gary Snyder describes an Earthen process that can also be a high mental process. This mental process can be optimized by the intention to calm and quiet and slow that is central in body mind practices such as restorative yoga. The barrage of moment-to-moment stimuli that is “on top” is not really the heart of the matter. Stilling, turning it over, inviting it to spread throughout, to silt down, entering and opening the depths, then recreating, creating, transforming.
Lance Kinseth, 2011
LISTENING, NOT KNOWING: Everything that we “know for sure” is subject to be radically overturned. The very nature of the universe(s?) will remain beyond our capacity to ever sense.
And in everyday life, everything that we might experience as constant, wondrous or even static and boring, is a stream of change. Even across the time span of a few months, personal, societal and environmental consequences will occur that we cannot foresee. Commonality is a measure of our limits rather than life at it is.
How to live in such uncertainty?
Listening, remaining alert to the changing conditions of existence, is the core of a wild state that optimizes the sustainability of each species.
With senses pulled in many directions at once, coming to a listening point may optimize alertness. Overall, this action offers to reduce the sensory overload so that we might not overlook resources and actions that are optimal.
This listening point centers us just enough to come inside our experience rather than just look at it or, most of the time, overlook it. We then stand to not finally know, but rather, to invite and to listen to that which appears, we optimize in our general capacity to connect, and we just might improve our capacity to come into harmony, integrate and adapt and transform.
Body-mind practices often arise to essentially create a listening point. Rather than being just a borrowing or an age-old way from modern “exercise” or “stress reduction,” such practices can provide a listening point that steps out of the everyday for at least moments if not more. Many moments of body-mind practice or “repetition” may flower into awareness of increasing integration with events that had, heretofore, seemed separate and unimportant. Then, subtlety and grace become visible in the movements and poses of practices such as tai chi, qigong, meditation, and very gentle yoga. And if they are authentically subtle and graced, there is much more going on with everyday activities such as work and cooking and cleaning and relationships to others and to landscape.
Perhaps the crucial element of body-mind practice involves cutting through the chatter of the continual rain of sensory stimuli and thought. Slowing to stillness and calmness optimizes this process. And, paradoxically, doing less, a switch is flipped, and a profound acuity and physiological action might be triggered that optimizes a listening point.
Body-mind practices tend to cut through routine and place each of us at a center point of sorts, an “in-between.” On a very basic level, each inhale might penetrate inside us, and each exhale connects or integrates and expands into our experience. In the body-mind practice of gentle yoga, when we cross a threshold from the everyday to the mat, to the place of practice—our initial stilling of the body-mind, perhaps followed by breath work, takes us out of the chatter of discriminating self into being-ness. Rather than self and other, we might shift to Being-ness & Cosmos. Then, each breath is more that “air.” It extends into the infinity of cosmos. We might go both inward and outward. There is a listening point, a center point and this point is a prayer of sorts, a call inviting something deep that we literally need and should not be ashamed to seek, rather than exercise or stress release.