Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wednesday: May 3, Chapter 2: The Book of Life

If this very moment is the start of a good life, what’s next? The next very moment, which conveniently comes right on along, nothing we can do about it, here it comes, now it is, there it goes and the next very this moment is riding through us, or we are riding through it. Nothing we can do. One present after another after another.

So. That’s it. End of book.

Or not.

Let’s be a bit more expansive and ask: What is it all about?

This had been asked before. Many answers. Different strokes for different folks. It’s still not a bad question. You come up with your answers. I’ll poke around and come up with some possibilities. My answers tend to come in threes: now, nature and love as a canopy big enough for everything. Or, how about: living a happy, aware and useful life?

This book will freely and cheerfully steal from a number of sources. One will be the ideas and work of Moshe Feldenkrais, judo master, scientist and inventor of an amazing system of learning. He maintained that thinking that doesn’t lead to improvement in our lives is wasted verbiage, nothing more than mental masturbation.

So let’s take another of his ideas and get useful here before we get too carried away with the Meaning of Life. This other idea is that anything we do has four (not three!) interlocking and interdependent components: sensing, feeling, thinking and moving.

From there I’ll propose that one of the great aims of a full and rich life is to discover where we are stuck in limiting habits and patterns and to advance from that into freedom and variety.

Ah, freedom as an aim of life. That’s been posited before, too, hasn’t it? And in the framework of sensing, feeling, thinking and moving the idea of coming un-done from stuckness and what could almost be seen as robot-like patterns, this coming to freedom sets us down some extremely useful pathways. To begin with only a few examples, since much of this book will be an expansion of these idea:

In movement, can we only sit or stand or go from sitting to standing in one or two ways? Do we even know what our habitual way is? Can we tell the difference between leaning to the left and leaning to the right? Do we sense the involvement of our pelvis and neck and ribs and breathing as we go about this? Have we allowed ourselves to try a movement that isn’t an easy do, lately, and explored how to make it more elegant and easy? Are we learning and expanding our repertoire of movements as we go about our days, or is it always the same old same old?

In thinking, do the same collection of words, posing as “thinking,” pass through our brain, given the same set up. Each time someone mentions X, do we think and/or say the same thing. When a political issue comes up, is the same set of thoughts popping up? When we think about our age, or our children, or our fellow citizens, or our siblings, do we have our thoughts in tight and bound boxes?

In feelings, is it the same story? Mention the name of Y and we feel such and such. Mention Q and we feel something else. Think about our weight and we feel the same thing each time. Think about our children, same thing? Think about ourselves, even, do we have one or two constant feeling tones? Do we have certain feelings that we avoid, hide in comfort foods, or getting busy? Do we have other feelings we deny and only see in others? Do we have grudges that are so old we’ve forgotten what they were about?

In sensing, do we have areas of ourselves that we never sense? If we tuned in, right now, what would be missing? Would the toes be all there? The different vertebrae? The ribs? The breathing? The knees and upper arms? Do we touch the world with the same hand? Do we slow down enough to enjoy touch? To we taste our food? Do we give ourselves time to sit on and lie down on the Mother Earth? Do we let our feet get bare and intimate with grass and dirt and sand? Do we dig in the soil and raise our faces to the sun? Do we have hugs and kisses in our lives? Do we always and only hug and kiss the same people? Do we ever hug and kiss ourselves? Do we spend time slowly and deliciously exploring the sensations inside ourselves? Do we use these sensations to learn new and more pleasurable ways to think, feel and move?

Can we feel ourselves thinking, feeling, sensing and moving all of a piece? Could we be more free? Would that lead to a better life? I think so. If you do, too, please join me as we explore this whole being alive thing. Come join me in the Book of Life.


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