You are an artist, right?

One day while teaching a group of young kids, I noticed that once again, one of them was not paying his attention to me.
He was paying his attention to something else to be found somewhere on the ceiling of the space we were all in.
Something that could apparently only be perceived from a certain exact angle with the head slightly tilted to the right.
I went to him about to tell him, with my angry authority voice that I had specially created for these circumstances, that he should be paying his attention to me, not the ceiling because - as my reasoning and own youth told me - I AM THE TEACHER and the ceiling has nothing to teach.
I decided the second before telling him, that
no! I will not do it!
Maybe he is realizing the most spectacular thing and I’ll rob it off him.
I asked “you are an artist right?”
The kid said “what do you mean?”
I said “it’s difficult for you to pay attention in school right?”
He said “yes, it’s a problem, how do you know?”
I said “no, it’s not a problem, it’s because you are an artist.”
The kid said “what do you mean?”
I said “you just have a tendency to notice things others don’t always notice.”
The kid said “so?”
I said “so you are an artist.”
The kid looked at me a bit confused with a one-sided smile and eyes full of potential adventures.
We finished the session with the group lying down on the floor looking at the ceiling.

FREDisanartist.jpg

Note from the Underground of the Tenth Fighting Monkey Intensive

I want you to understand that this is not a fan boy text, it is not a sales talk, nor will it have a “call-to-action” at the bottom recommended by the marketeers, it might repulse you. This is supposed to read more like a Note from The Underground of my experience with Fighting Monkey Practice running for close to 5 years.

FM Book presented in Denmark. Picture by Mike Rafail.

FM Book presented in Denmark. Picture by Mike Rafail.

I have both enjoyed very very very much and hated absolutely this Fighting Monkey practice in the past. It is and is not supposed to be a nice session, or great workout, is and is not even a “movement practice” - it can be all and many do join for it and leave again for such reasons as happens everywhere in yoga, fitness, this meditation technique to the other, this method over that, and und so fort. I have been there too and it seems to be that there is this pathetic, though quite natural and universal maybe, loop happening on a bit of wider scale.

Please give me another pill, but different than last time because it does not entertain anymore and stopped working for me…

The overarching thing that I feel a craving to write about is that this Jozef Frucek and Linda Kapetanea, who are sharing this FM Practice, is that they do have understood something very clearly about being a human being - or rather the habit of being a human being… the drama it can become if you don’t die at some point to that inner voice-over / outer definer you have grown to meet and resist life with, the physical capsule you have allowed yourself to adapt towards, the same sentences, same responses, same strategies, same ideas, same schedule, same days of living life locked into an iCalender, same same same same!

FM in my experiences feels like a joint performance art that in collaborative effort through temporary meetings perforates what your habit of being human is… opening a doorway towards a〔???〕where less and less of your conceptualising of this and that and attaching to this and that hasn’t much solid ground to fall on anymore - it’s all getting perforated - and finally you can be there, or you’re injured for a little while - both great. 
A nice workout! Funky Monkey, yeah!

The easier thing to do at some point of course would be to turn towards Influential Mister “Big Man” or Miss “Big Woman” who will teach you! “Hey I know the way. Just sit back, relax and follow me.” These ones are all around with methods and programs to offer you and coach you the way they overcame their particular, often recent wound. Those who have not yet experienced the subtle difference should invest in getting a pair of eyes that see through this and find a retailer who owns a shop or is part of a franchise that still makes them. They probably aren’t the influentials you would imagine them to be and I’ve found them as close as a five minutes bike ride from my home just waiting to be found.

So of course you don’t have to go to FM for that, it’s hidden all over the place. Though what I’ve come to observe is that the way it is presented, hidden or exposed is often again the same mystical, copied forms, out of context, in different context. There’s a laziness or incapacity in the presenter of the material, that only artists seem to be able to move past through their capacity of experiential understanding of symbolism, codifying and storytelling by their being both outsiders and secret-agent insiders of the times.

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But still rather no… we hold on so hard that we get burned or bored out of our skulls from this attaching to that what we’d love so so much to be able to let go of in us and outside of us - and then on top of that we have the arrogance to look for passive ways to rid ourselves of our symptoms that make us look less pretty to those we are looking to impress and not even enjoy the company of. Look ugly! Ugly but you! Most of the inspiring people of the past seem to have had quite ugly faces in comparison to the six-packed, anti-ageing wrinkle cream promoting celebrities we so adore and wannabelike.

But… I’ve invested so much in this! Letting go of your sunken investments made in wrong stuff, seems to undo the burn but not the scar. The scar is great, it’s the best reminder. Now you don’t have to put that nice little painting or miniature statue that brings you back to the Zen story in your apartment, you don’t have to visit the sacred place, you have it on your face, you found it in your body - free to see in every Mirror you pass by.

This Fighting Monkey Practice maybe is not necessarily is any or all of that. I do admit that I’ve always had this tendency to dig too deep or in wrong places when I was at the beach digging with my shovel as a child, but I do feel this creative act encompasses a pure and well-intentioned potency to act like that perforator of a made-up or accepted reality - that Reality anyway seems to resist or punish you for clining - and leave the invisible Fight Clubian mark for you to carry to any place and time you find yourself in.

How to explain an invisible thing… I guess we’ve always tried and every time needs his attempts. Just don’t demand any teaching, or program, or language you can understand before you Return yourself, as it is all hidden quite clearly, beautifully, horribly in between the lines of coordinations, movement situations, in still moments of meeting “the ugly mirror” - only for this one it is you who has to do it all yourself.

The Room

Here I am. I am sitting here on my chair, alone in my room.

I have ideas about myself, about other human beings, about the workings of the world, the cosmos even.

I see myself having these ideas. I see my capacity for thinking, for feeling, for sensing. I notice myself ordering and theorising about this whole, fine mess I find myself in - in my room.

A decision is forming itself, based on a reminder I strengthened in myself over years: the decision to change rooms. When I realise I become too certain, when imagining I have figured something out the times has arrived again for me to stand up and go to The Room. 

Every time I become Too Clever (T.C.) I go the The Room.

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Mens Als Natuur

Men hoort vaak dat de mens als deel wordt beschouwd van de natuur. Ik zou verder gaan, hoe ik het zie is dat de mens natuur is.

Als de mens natuur is, dan functioneert elke wetmatigheid uit de natuur onverbiddelijk ook in en voor de mens. Dit wil bijgevolg zeggen dat elke interactie die gebeurt tussen mensen ook een reflectie is van natuurwetten, in de zin dat natuur communiceert met natuur.

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De Heilige Oorlog door René Daumal

Je weet nu dat ik wens te spreken over de heilige oorlog.

Hij die deze oorlog in zichzelf heeft verklaard, is in vrede met zijn medemens, en hoewel zijn hele bestaan het veld is van de meest gewelddadige strijd, heerst er in zijn meest innerlijke diepte een vrede die meer actief is dan alle oorlogen. En hoe meer deze vrede heerst in zijn diepste diepten, in die centrale stilte en eenzaamheid, des te gewelddadiger woedt de oorlog tegen het tumult van leugens en de ontelbare illusies.

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The innocent one behind the imitation

Have you ever experienced this feeling where you sense that your response to the situation was a complete imitation?

An instant sort of self-awareness of the fact that you were unconsciously playing out an act that was not you, an act informed by the behaviour of another person or influence.

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"The Phoney Planet": Malaysian backpacker story

“Having perfected our disguise, we spend our lives looking for someone we don’t fool.”

The line has been stuck in my head ever since.

I believe this quote underlines very well an element that from my experience makes a teacher a teacher, and I feel I’ve been fortunate to have met many humans whom I could not fool.

Teachers of this kind have crossed my path randomly on the street, in coffee bars, during travels. For some I travelled to meet them, others I encountered - one could say - in more serendipitous circumstances.

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Tension, what do you want from me?

Sitting here with my book in hand I notice a slight tension in my shoulder. I see that I’m holding my elbow up a bit so I relax it. Still my shoulder seems a bit too tense just to be holding a book. I focus more of my attention on it realising that gravity wants my shoulder to drop down and rest on my ribcage. Still something resists.

As my attention grows within this tension, the resistance manifests itself as subtle, almost unperceivable, multi-directional activity of micro-motions.

I ask myself: what does this tension demand of me? What does it ask that I am not giving it? Or opposite, what did I ask of this tension before I became aware of it?

It would almost appear as if this tension wants to communicate something, similar to two people who in an argument try to convince one another of the validity of their point of view.

Would it be enough to give it my full attention, to direct all my capacities on listening to this tension? Or does it need something else?

Tension, what do you want from me?

Unseen learning in learning

London Fighting Monkey workshop October 2018.

“Let’s do coordinations,” Linda said.

Linda proceeded to show a new coordination inviting us to try.

From the first moment all of us where lost… if I can say so for the group.

This is the moment I always look forward to, while at the same time something in me hates this moment.

It is this moment between the first showing and my first try.

It is in this moment that lot can be seen.

From the inside out of course I observe what is being shown.

There is however another loop of observation: I can observe my observing.

I observe what is shown, while at the same time I can observe the fact that I observe.

Within this there is a lot of information, and not all of it can be taken at once.

It is part of the unseen within my experience of that particular universe of learning something new.

And we almost never look at it, while within that moment are to be found the secrets to many of our challenges.

There is a valuable insight to it when the teacher has both the nerve and the energy reserve to not explain everything to those present by step-by-step explicit instruction.

It’s also more vulnerable. The teacher could very well make it clear within minutes that he knows more and can do more than the others. It is an easy ego-fix that many teachers fall for.

However it cheats all of those present from a crucial element of the learning process.

The more I observe myself observing in those moments, the more I feel like a cheater when I feel like I know something after someone told it to me, after reading pages and pages of books without taking my own notes and actively thinking about it.

I have started to become very alert when I am being “clever” or am around “clever” people.

Can we really say someone is “learned” when you did not digest it for yourself?

It reminds me of the feeling I had when my teachers in economics school, who had never started their own business, gave long lectures about how markets work.

There was only a certain part of them that was talking, not their whole being.

So what then, makes learning learning?

De-Conditioning Training

Being a co-owner of a gym now for over 5 years, many people have come up to me with the question of how to get in a better shape.

Often this shape implies a specific form - the form of the times - and additionally one of the desired attributes coming with this shape is having better stamina as it is believed to bring more energy.

The route most taken for this aim in gyms would be to do "conditioning training". In this way the physical condition you are in will allow you to do more of the things you want to do.

However there is an other type of conditioning that is often overlooked: our psychological conditioning.

In short we could say that this is the way we react to things in our daily life. And it is the source of many of our hidden energy leaks.

There actually should not even be made a separation: our psychological conditioning shapes our physical form: habitual tensions becomes chronic and sculpt our human appearance and influence our energy management.

So what if we turned the equation around and instead of doing a metabolic conditioning circuit, we would do use physical conditioning situations to shine light on our conditioned reaction patterns?

We could observe:

  • How do you react to learning something new?

  • What are your typical emotional response?

  • How do you talk to yourself?

  • Where do you store physical tensions?

  • Where does your attention go in stress? In relaxation?

By observing objectively conditioned patterns,
"I am now telling myself that I can not do this."
"I feel tension growing in the muscles around my shoulders."
"I am now feeling angry."

And not attaching to the story (this reaction is because of..., and because once this happened..., and...) often added on top of it… we start to create an opening where change might be possible.

Because we try to not identify with the automatic responses, a potential new choice - or inner citadel as the stoics call it - for a more conscious response to the situation becomes a possibility.

Staying conscious of your states during struggle carries an opportunity to observe behavioural patterns that are part of conditioned reactions that below our consciousness deplete energy.

Our conditioning sucks our energy.

Often these same reactions are also present in simple daily activities. Most of them get re-played unnoticed.

Through training we create a safe climate where our conditioning can be exposed, observed and in the long run transmuted towards more beneficial choices in daily life.

Instead of - (or on top of) - training to have better conditioning, we train to become less conditioned and lose less energy.

Do not start a practice if you cannot do the dishes

Dirty dishes and cups scattered all over the kitchen.
i noticed them. But internally i decided
i’ll do it later.
i tell myself i have more important things to do:
i have a practice.
i explain to myself: i am going to the Mountain. (the daoists also say that)
i do my morning form
it’s like a cleaning for my body and my mind. it’s really great.
it grounds me.

i come home from the park.
still the dishes are not done
and still
i do not have the time for it.
now it is time for my journaling practice.
i sit myself down in my special sitting position
and write down my thoughts.
i do it the automatic writing way - i got that from Carl Jung,
i proudly tell myself.

After fifteen minutes, what wanted to be written
dries up,
and i think maybe now i should do the dishes?
Not yet, i tell myself.
i want to learn more about the
metaphysics of imagination of Ibn Al Arabi.
nothing really can be more important than that!
i read a little in my new big tome of a book
and take some notes to clarify these complex sentences a bit
for myself.

i take note of the time
and realise i have some sessions with clients and a meeting with my partners.
ahhh, my day starts to unfold.

One of my sessions was online with a new client,
i explain to him
the value of practice
how it’s like a cleaning of our psychophysicality,
of our physical and mental conditioning,
i tell him about “The Korean Friend”,
a central story about practice within Fighting Monkey research.

In the evening i return home.
For some reason i enter the apartment sensing
an angry energy.
My girlfriend looks me in the eye,
arms crossed.
i sit down and ask her
”what’s the problem?”
She points at the kitchen.
i go look and
see the complete mess.
it always seems more than i had imagined it to be.
i tell her
i’ll do it right away
first i want to arrive a little bit.
i tell her
it will be done by the end of the day.
She gets angrier.

i decide to start cleaning
those damn dishes.
i sense my lower back tensing
and get even more mad.
my thoughts going all over
why does everything have to be cleaned all the time?
why can’t i just clean it when it starts to bother me?

In the evening i sit down
in silence
and see the idiocy of this repeating scene,
this day must have happened dozens of times.

Thank God i have a practice
or maybe I would never have noticed it!


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!”

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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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