Inside and outside

I have a long-standing interested in exploring the relationship between the internal and the external. My current understanding of it, is that the separation between external and internal is illusionary. This statement, of course, requires much substantiation and is a large claim to make, in light of the way in which many people currently perceive the world. I’ve given a lot of thought to this idea, and have read quite a lot on the concept – but now, I am interested in exploring the concept through the physical.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with various movement modalities in order to explore this internal-external phenomenon. In doing so, I’ve been translating my thought experiments into my experience of the material, or physical, world. Over the past few years I have – on many occasions – found myself in what can best be described as states of one-ness, reached through movement. In fact, even when I was younger, I had an undying passion and love of gymnastics training. In reflection, this love was largely due to the feeling of movement and flow through the air, using equipment, feeling flow, feeling free, but so in-the-moment that I forgot about my so-called sense of self. In short, the external and internal were married through movement, and I became my surrounds and my surrounds me. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, exactly, about gymnastics that I loved so much. Now, it seems clear. Since, I have craved such moments, and finally in the past few years, have managed to – again – find them as my older self.

Through dance improvisation, trance-dance, slow-flow movements such as yoga and tai chi, I have again found such moments of one-ness. Often, such moments have been reached through movement with others; through a portal of deep connection, we have reached a point where connection actually no longer exists. Here, we, are simply just we. Alone, I have also experiment with modalities that lead to the dissipation of the external-internal divide. I feel lucky to have experienced such a state. Through deep embodiment, the knowledge of one-ness has become felt, or embodied. 

It’s possible to explore this relationship through stillness, too. Lie on the floor. Lie on the floor. Bring your consciousness to the point at which your body meets the ground. Allow yourself to receive the ground, allow the ground to carry you. Concentrate on your breath. Feel the ground, feel the hug that it provides. Feel your heels, melting into the softness of the floor, feel the stability of the floor behind your back, your head. After bringing awareness to how the floor holds you, try to imagine where the floor meets your body. You may feel that this point is no longer able to be perceived. Instead, where you and the external world meets, becomes unclear. This experiment, for me, has become an interesting way of exploring both the internal and external, and the concept of ‘me’, and ‘it’; or, if the experiment involves touching another person, ‘me’ and ‘them.

My exploration of this concept is by no-means conclusive. I suspect that it will be a long-standing interest that I will explore for many years to come. Have you any experience with exploring the external / internal through movement? Do you find that any movement modalities leave you feeling a deep sense of ‘one-ness’?

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