All teachers serve me short time before they kill me

i see blurred.

When the blurredness returns
i see
what/it
is doing

i am, as i see
through it i learn

what and what not
who and who not
where and where not
how and how not
when and when not
it, not it

the blur speaks to me
it forces me
with exclamation to
get in conversation with

my most inner.

The blur is my friend
my protection from fiend.

i must follow
or i forever stay in,

blaming out
while in
where provided me all the tools
to break through,

beyond that what
convinced the blur to take my vision
and provide me
a teaching.

More i allow
to live behind blur
more i disconnect
my most inner

from those
that
where
what
it

i was put out to
come in communication
with.

The blur is
my teacher
also possible death.

All teachers should
serve short time,
before they turn to
make me ill, eventually...
kill
Me. 

Will I listen?

Sick, bad luck, 
accidents, serendipity,
meetings, good luck,
the signs

All are
there
for me to blur
my current essence
of organ perception
from where I rise
up again.

Only then,
I
can become.

You are your own shaman now

“You are your own shaman now,” my teacher Inge told me when we were discussing tribal dances and their roles.

Inge explained during my recent trip to Oberaudorf to me that he had lived with indigenous groups in Darwin Australia for a while when researching in the most primal of contexts the theories on the connection of man and nature that he had received from his own teacher.

 Beautiful Oberaudorf, Germany.

When I shared with him the effects I’d felt when practicing tribal-dance inspired coordinations he told me that it is a beneficial practice but at the same time I have to realise that in these tribes “the shamans had many dances for many different purposes and that the goal was always that each individual finds his own dance.”

This line sticked with me right away and in the subsequent sessions I had with my clients it started to make more and more sense how the ideas and goals of tribal dance and the principles and methodology I’d learnt from Inge intertwined.

To give an idea of what happens in these sessions I will share the basic setup: the client lies down on the floor, always in the same standard position, with the legs ninety degrees bent. Through observation of body language, mimicry, micro-movements blushing of the skin, voice, etc. I guide the individual towards a deeper perception of where the body wants to breathe and move. 

In a recent session the client started to move subtly with the toes so I asked if she was aware of it and maybe wanted to move a little bit more there, which she did. The movements started to become a little bit bigger and more intense and more freedom was noticeable in the dynamic of her body. Eventually the movement that erupted from this initial micro-movement was a shake from the pelvis rotating the upper part of leg internally and externally at a powerful pace with the leg completely off the floor. This took about half a minute before her leg relaxed again, fell on the floor, and she recovered with some deep breaths.

What triggered me with excitement when witnessing this burst of spontaneous movement happening is that this movement was almost an exact replica of a movement I had been practicing as part of a Tai Ki Kung form that I had learnt from Jozef Frucek another one of my teachers who founded Fighting Monkey Practice.

And this was not the first time. I had seen many times before how clients of mine, and me myself in a state of self-regulation exhibited - in a completely spontaneous or I could say instinctive manner - movement breakthroughs that are part of these ancient forms and dances of movement arts.

It brought me back again to something that Jozef had told me so often: 

“Look behind name and form.”

He told me more than once that practicing the forms can both “heal you or destroy you.”

And I sense, from the observations I’ve made that both of my teachers are pointing towards the same direction: to look within the symbol that these ancient methods and practices are, symbols that have been around for so long:

What is it in me they are trying to recover? 
Which ideas are carried within these forms, these dances? 
Of what messages are they the symbol?
What is this heritage in motion trying to provoke in us?

The same shaking of the limbs I’ve seen as spontaneous reactions in the self-regulation happening in Vegetative Training, I saw as executed movements in forms and dances. 

It seems that both, from a different angle, are trying to create in us to the same effect and work on us as a reconciling force in order to resolve the contradictions that are saved within our body from past experiences.

One way is to move in order to ‘remember’ and 'return'. Another way is to allow in order to move. 

How I see from my current understanding, is like this:

You work the form, so the form will work on you.
When the form works on you, you work what is within the form.
When you work what is within the form, you leave the form behind and cultivate it in every form.

Returning to the statement that the form can also destroy you, I feel it must be what happens when we get attached to the forms of the thing instead of what is contained by the form.

The form then becomes like an end in itself instead of the means it was always intended to be.

It is the case we see so often where the “shaman” with his many dances never found his own nor wishes for his pupils to find their own. 

Why would he? 

They would not need their shaman anymore as they became their own…

 

Teaching without teaching: the indirect method of education

A couple of weeks ago I went to a lecture that attracted me through the name that the teacher gave it, he called the lecture "Developing Common Sense." In this lecture, the teacher - Rik Vermuyten - compared intellect with intelligence. We went over the elements that make up more intellectual thinking and intelligent thinking. We talked about what was the oldest, more developed and more recent way of thinking.

Intuition and instinct were talked of as parts of intelligence or common sense - they work more expansive ('more Yin')- while ratio is part of intellectual thinking, and works more restrictive ('more Yang').

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At most schools the predominant way of education is developing intellect - or what the teacher called uncommon sense - which from being more restrictive, leads to a decline in creativity, growth and development of the student. If the student doesn't complement his traditional school education with other things.

 Freehand drawing exercise, as reproduced in New Methods in Education (1899), through Stephen Ellcock’s excellent facebook page

Freehand drawing exercise, as reproduced in New Methods in Education (1899), through Stephen Ellcock’s excellent facebook page

The teacher used the imagery of intelligence thinking as seeing the unity in reality, while intellectual thinking is about dividing reality - putting it boxes. Both have their uses of course, and without the latter we would not have a scientific method. But he emphasized that if you do not return to seeing the unity - the whole - in things, you give value to the differences (the boxes) - and you take these differences seriously. And that is where it becomes dangerous.

In line of the above, a recent practical read on Gurdjieff's exercises to develop self-observation and self-remembering compared knowing something with understanding something:

"Understanding is defined as the resultant of knowledge ánd being.

"When we begin to understand what we did not understand before, there is the chance of change precisely through the understanding.

"Man is a self-developing organism which means that man cannot develop under compulsion but only through internal freedom, which is one's understanding (knowledge + being) that a man can evolve."

And it is this internal freedom element that I feel is what is missing in most teaching. This teaching without telling, that attracted me towards certain people and has intuitively told me to keep away from others.

With this lecture in mind and the experiences I've had with my own teachers I started to ask myself a question I've been asking myself for a while now: which one of the teachers I've met had this 'common sense?' And subsequently,

What is a good teacher?

At the moment, I feel writer Henry Miller comes closest to defining the type of teacher who teaches (without realizing he is) teaching when describing an old friend his as a "Living Book":

"Without being in the least aware of it, I was receiving from this man my first real schooling. It was the indirect method of education. As with the ancients, his technique consisted in indicating that "it" was not this, not that. Whatever "it" was, and of course it was the all, he taught me never to approach it head on, never to name or define. The oblique method of art. First and last things. But no first and no last. Always from the center outward. Always the spiral motion: never the straight line, never sharp angles, never the impasse or cul-de-sac.
Yes, Lou Jabobs possesses a wisdom I am only beginning to acquire. He had the faculty of looking upon everything as an open book. He had ceased reading to discover the secrets of life: he read for sheer enjoyment. The essence of all he read had permeated his entire being, had become one with his total experience of life."There are not more than a dozen basic themes in literature," he once said to me. But then he quickly added that each man had his own story to tell, and that is was unique. I suspected that he, too, had once endeavored to write. Certainly no one could express himself better or more clearly.
His wisdom, however, was the sort that is not concerned with the imparting of it. Though he knew how to hold his tongue, no man enjoyed conversation more than he. Moreover, he had a way of never closing a subject. He was content to skirmish and reconnoiter, to throw out feelers, to dangle clues, to give hints, to suggest rather than inform. Whether one wished it or not, he compelled his listener to think for himself. I can't recall ever once receiving advice or instruction from him, yet everything which issued from his mouth constituted advice and instruction ... if one knew how to take it!"
- Henry Miller, Chapter Living Books in The Books In My Life

What, in your experience, are the qualities of a good teacher?

Habitual posture. Habitual emotion. Habitual thought.

Observing people has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy setting myself down with a book in a local café, pretend that I'm reading and then take a look at how the bartender is stressing out over clients, how people are enjoying or disliking listening to the story of a friend, people fighting verbally in cycling traffic, awkward situations of people meeting an old friend they would rather avoid today, other observers realizing you're also observing, all of that... I love it and every time it teaches me something.

Recently, this fascination of observing people's daily behavior has gotten a bit more specific through the stuff I've been reading and the teachers I've met formally and on the streets. My observation has shifted towards the physical behavior of people: the postures they hold, hand gestures they use, their facial expressions, what parts they are holding when walking, etc.

What I try to do often, is when a certain posture intrigues me is try to mimick it and observe how it makes me feel or what I associate with that posture.

I have been focusing my attention on different closed and open positions - both static and dynamic - and what they communicate to me, and maybe communicate in a universal way that everyone intuitively understands.

Better than to explain it, you can test for yourself with some of the artworks, pictures and videos by either putting yourself in these postures or observing your first associative thoughts with the postures. Observe some of these paintings for example:

Nick Cave's posture and facial expression during this song:

Compare this to what the following communicate:

Or Jack Lalanne "working out his face" and Henry Miller's general playful open posture and mannerisms all over his documentary:

Also, one example everyone probably has heard of, is the test of the 'fake smile' research where they showed that holding a stick between your teeth - creating a fake smile - showed "physiological and psychological benefits from maintaining positive facial expressions during stress."

Further, one of my "street" teachers once shared with me that he used simple coordinative movements to relax people who were suffering form high stress and tension in a psychiatric hospital.

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff in his "Work" spoke about his method of using movement as a way to bring about certain thoughts and feelings:

"You ask about the aim of the movements. To each position of the body corresponds a certain inner state and, on the other hand, to each inner state corresponds a certain posture. A man, in his life, has a certain number of habitual postures and he passes from one to another without stopping at those between."

A student of Gurdjieff, Jerry Brewster, in his Loft Tapes of group work sessions, explains it in a compelling vicious cycle of our habits. He shares that

"Our habitual postures are connected to habitual emotions and habitual thoughts in a strange dance - if you have a certain association, then you take a certain posture and have a certain feeling, so it's very difficult to think anything new, to feel anything new, or to sense in a new way - if you try to change it's impossible because each center is supported by the other two."

Further, if beyond the intuitive understanding of this you want a scientific backing of this subject, Stanley Keleman has spent a lot of research on this topic that he named Emotional Anatomy.

 Image from Keleman's Emotional Anatomy.

Image from Keleman's Emotional Anatomy.

Jerry Brewster talks about the importance of struggling with these habitual reactions physically, emotionally and mentally to make a change - to break this habit loop:

posture > emotion > thought

thought > posture > emotion

emotion > thought > posture

Brewster proposes that, "if I can interfere with a posture then I find I'm free of both the emotion and the thought tied to that posture."

The first thing is to become aware of our postures we go back to when we have certain thoughts or emotions - this is where Gurdjieff claims that the problems lies because we do not know what our habits are but to me this is also where the fun part begins: from observation, you start to observe what your habitual postural habits are and start to play games with it.

Gurdjieff suggests that

"Taking new, unaccustomed postures enables you to observe yourself inside differently from the way you usually do in ordinary conditions."

Therefore ways of using this knowledge in your daily life could be:

  1. to play through self-observation with your postural habits and the associations and identifications you make with these
  2. you can practice open static postures and dynamic movements to create the effect you'd like to evoke

For both of these it would mean that you will need to become aware ("to stop sleeping") of your existing habits, and in best case that an honest and caring (group of) partner(s) helps you to become aware.

A couple of examples of the work of people I've met who promote this practice using movement as a tool I shared below.

Moving Beyond Movement Practice: Experiences Of A Client With Autism

What follows is a conversation with Brent during one of our sessions. Brent is a person I have been working with for a while now who has been diagnosed at a young age with autism.

Before we started the session he came with his usual “I don’t feel like it to today.” After 5 minutes of struggling to balance on a wooden ball, he shook it off and we went for it. We worked a little bit on expanding the breath and internally sensing the body, looking for what kind of spontaneous movements he wanted to do.

Then we went to the park to observe how nothing in nature is perfect or symmetrical, therefore perfectionism is maybe not so natural. While observing how ugly the tree was in front of us this season, we did a standing practice where we ‘protected our fire.’ After doing about 15 minutes of this practice he said to me:

“it is wonderful to notice that you can look at your fire, but also beyond it, and also to the left, to the right, but it is too easy to fall into just looking at it from the front and forgetting all that is past!”

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 12.38.25.png

Yes, Brent has a remarkable way of expressing himself so I will let him do the talking. Here is a transcript of his recent thoughts on our way of working together:

“You have to learn to let go.” These are the words they have been telling me since the beginning. You have to live more in the moment. You have to learn to accept. But these are one those things that you cannot communicate in words… It just is not possible!

For example, one week ago I had a quarrel with my girlfriend. Some things had happened in her life and finally she will now do some of the things I once advised her to do, but of course not because I told her: because she  now has had a couple of experiences through which she understands it herself and realises it is like this and that, not because someone else told her - through her own experience!

And that is something I noticed in my experiences with psychiatry, there you totally do not get this. There you receive the experiences of other people or “we are psychiatrists or psychologists and we know it should be like this.” But this does not help me because I cannot just accept it like that! A human being has to discover it himself, I have to have the experience myself to know: “this indeed is the way!” Frustrating!

I really find it regrettable that I was not able to do something like this when I was 11. Because I really have something with movement I’m now realizing. There are people who do not have any affinity with movement but I do and I easily make connections through movement and subsequent reasoning in my head so for me it kind of is the perfect combo. I do notice now that I can move my body and at the same time deeply put in multiple things and connect them as you do in your way of working.

167 Likes, 15 Comments - Olivier Goetgeluck (@goetgeluck) on Instagram: "Coordinating with Brent. Brent is autistic. He was one of our first members in the early days of..."

But I really wish that when I was 11 and had fits of anger, that there was someone who said “come, let us use these things for something else and let us ‘physically reason’ how you are feeling.” I find it a bit sad that I only find out about this later in my life but it is what it is and maybe it also is no coincidence. Maybe I had to have those other lesser experiences to realise that this does work for me to then… who knows… do something with this myself to help others.

Besides, I also do not really know if this way would work with the autistic people of my group where I live because maybe they would not find enough connections with the movements. Because I tried to explain “how do I define what Olivier does?” and then there comes ‘movement’ and… It just is not easy to put it into words.

For example, a couple times they did yoga sessions with the group but in the end everyone fell asleep and that is not the purpose. One girl of the group did tai chi but it gave her stress. But that is, I think, all because they do not find anything beyond it, they do something and yes they do it, but they cannot pull it out of its context and bring to to their own context. And that is so unfortunate.

Also disappointing for me is to observe that very little of the autistic people I know work on themselves. Few go to a therapist, and this by the way is also a form of therapy for me. Little work on developing themselves causing them to remain stuck in the same bubble.

Waves of the ocean, extremities of my body

The waves crashing at the extremes of the big pond of water as the expression of the core of the whole. The outside, exterior appearance an expression of the inner going-ons, together forming the whole without form.

Wholeness coming from the dynamics of the thing, the constant changing with and of the all. Seeing the whole in the form of the one, and from the one understanding the whole. The one in transit, in flux, streaming, flowing as it always will: communicating in this way the laws the whole entails. Universally see-able, deep attention making it noticeable, observable and obvious at each and every moment.

 Playa Transito, Nicaragua

Each that is part of this whole, a product of its functioning by the same laws as each and every other thing in it and of it. Man is as nature, is of nature, is nature and nature is in man.

What do the waves tell me? I am the whole pond in myself, what are my waves wanting to crash to the extremities of my body?    

Written in Nicaragua, Playa Transito, 2017

What is Movement vs movement?

What is Movement vs movement?

"What is Movement?" Joseph Bartz asked in his last video.

What is the difference between Movement with big -M and movement with small -m? 

A good question now that more and more people are spending hours per week on movement practice.

This question on Movement for some reason reminded me of Baudelaire who said: 

"One should always be drunk. That's all that matters; that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows you down, you must get drunk without ceasing. But what with? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose. But get drunk."

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Interview with on Vegetative Training with Inge-Jarl Clausen

Everybody knows that experiences influence us. So then Wilhelm Reich, he believed that experiences influence our body, our physiology. He believed that emotion is adaptive physiology is the vegetative system: that the experiences of life are stored in the body. That experience from life already from childhood characterises our biology so we never become the one we should have been because of things that happened to us.

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When the practice does not make sense anymore: why do you practice?

"It does not make sense! I don't know anymore why I do it..."

A woman I work with told me yesterday that lately it did not make sense anymore, this practice. She did not know 'why' she was doing it. There was no logical answer coming up when asking herself this question so she lost motivation to do any kind of practice and started slacking in practicing what I suggested in her programme, especially the stillness parts I proposed.

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