Tuesday, December 13, 2011
An Excerpt from Chapter Two: Introduction to Mind & Body Unification
As human beings we seek freedom—political freedom, religious freedom, freedom from discrimination The free use of our minds and bodies—freedom of action in general—is an innate urge.
Each action we take is an act of self-expression. We often think of large-scale or important deeds as being indications of our real selves, but even how we sharpen a pencil can reveal something about our feelings at that moment. Do we sharpen the pencil carefully or nervously so that it doesn’t break? Do we bother to pay attention to what we’re doing? How do we sharpen the same pencil when we’re angry or in a hurry? Is it the same as when we’re calm or unhurried?
Even the smallest movement discloses something about the person executing the action because it is the personwho’s actually performing the deed. In other words, action doesn’t happen by itself, we make it happen, and in doing so we leave traces of ourselves on the activity. The mind and body are interrelated.
How do you feel when you’re unable to express yourself? Imagine you couldn’t speak or in some other way communicate. An extreme example perhaps, but how would it feel? In the same way that we suffer if we’re unable to express ourselves, we also languish when we cannot, for whatever reason, assert ourselves skillfully. Self-expression is natural, even inevitable, for all of us; and skilled, efficient self-expression goes beyond mere activity and enters the realm of art.
For instance, many of us realize that our handwriting tends to reflect our personalities or at least our state of mind at the moment we put pen to paper. However, when we become conscious of our handwriting as an act of self-expression, when we allow our creativity to flow through the brush or pen in a way that’s not only efficient but also coordinated and dexterous, we call what we’re doing calligraphy—the art of writing.
Just as writing can become calligraphy when it’s creatively, skillfully, and consciously performed, so can all other activities become art. In this case, we are reflecting upon life itself as an artistic statement—the art of living.