This post occurred to me a few days ago. I don’t remember what it is that I was staring at – but I was staring/glaring at something. At first I recognized the object – it became a concrete concept. But then, as I stayed with it and waited, I seemed to go beyond the initial impression (I do wish I could remember what it was – bu it escapes me) and the concept seemed to evaporate. The object was then revealed again – but this time I was traveling farther – a story or path seemed to be unraveling instead of a conclusion. I felt a wave of creativity.
My yoga teachers suggested a model that describes an affect of a continued Yoga practice. The model is that we are a vessel filled with murky water. With practice the water becomes still and the murky residue sinks to the bottom. When the residue sinks the water become clear and things can shine through clearly – our perception becomes clear.
I often think of this model to remind myself, as both a yoga practitioner and teacher, that clarity is already within. Nothing new needs to be introduced through the practice. The practice is meant to reduce the distractions.
Improvisers experience emptiness – it is only natural that this happens when you enter a performance space and the performance is not set – it is improvised (experienced performers this emptiness and learn to recognize it creeping up on them). About 8 months ago, during the first Orchard Labs, Shahar (context: with whom I collaborate extensively both in art/photography and SweetClarity) applied a term – ‘Grazing’.
‘Grazing’ describes a state in which a improviser (performer) is searching for materials. ‘Grazing’ was used as a metaphor – cows graze without a sense of purpose or achievement – they just do it. Naming this all-too-familiar state had two major affects. First it became a legitimate place for a performer to occupy – she is no longer ‘lost and looking for material’ she is engaged in a concrete & legitimate activity of ‘grazing’. Second, with patience, ‘grazing’ itself vaporizes emptiness and becomes a material, and like any material it leads to more (unknown) material.
I feel an underlying common thread connecting these experiences and ideas. Waiting. It takes time to go through and past conceptualization. It takes time for the murk to settle in the water. It takes time to realize that a non-existent future is clouding a concrete present. We need to slow down. We need to make and take time. We need to wait.