michael j. morris


Softening
27 November, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: cosmology, creative process, yoga | Tags: , , , , ,

I have been inspired over the last several days by a familiar concept reframed, re-imaged, re-articulated, from several sources.

The first came in the form of Nita Little who taught a master class and presented her research this week at OSU. She is one of the originators of Contact Improvisation (along with Steve Paxton), and to have the opportunity to experience her was incredibly rewarding for me. Of the many things she offered which found fertile ground in my current thoughts, creative development, and research, she offered this concept of softness in her master class. She asked how we sense, how we feel one another, and her answer was softness. In softening, we become receptive, impressionable, open to information (kinesthetic, emotional,cognitive, etc.), and vulnerable. In C.I., she offered that in softening the musculature, the hold on the skeleton, the gaze, the epidermis, etc., we become receptive, more capable of perceiving and knowing our partner, their weight, their center of gravity, their “small dance,” and it is in this sensing that true connection takes place. I cannot help but also read this as a metaphor, and a macrocosmic theme in my life right now.

Today I began reading the Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual by John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga. In his overview of Yoga Philosophy, I was again presented with this idea of softening, in a different frame. He articulates Tantric cosmology as all things an emanation of Absolute Consciousness, in which all things are One, and distinction is a construction within a limited reality for the purpose of bliss, the bliss of revelation, of contrast, of beauty, of connecting that which is essentially one, of understanding. He reminds me that “yoga” literally means to unite or yoke, a process of re-integrating that which is already One, part of or an expression of higher Absolute Consciousness or Being. To me, this is a kind of softening. Recognizing our boundaries, our edges, our distinctions, as limited constructions, revealing our true boundless nature to be something beyond our corporeal, temporal form, we soften our concept of distinction or separateness and approach an understanding of ourselves as intrinsically connected by a common substance or Source. Friend calls this commonality “Absolute Consciousness” or “Boundless Goodness” or “Boundless Being”. I think of this as Love, the underlying commonality/connection of our being. . .

I am interested in how these ideas/approaches/philosophies might inform my concept of the Listening Body, listening being a metaphor for awareness, receptivity, Nita Little attributing receptivity to softening, John Friend articulating softening as a realization of boundlessness. I am interested in the synthesis of these ideas.

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1 Comment so far
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I just watched some of your dance/choreography videos on youtube. beautiful rawness.

Comment by Kali




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