Waking up the innate powers of connection to experience, and integration through practice.
For this written piece I want to assume something, offer something that is true and accessible in its first form, and highlight the principles that are demonstrated as a result.
My assumption is that yours and my senses work in much the same way, only differing in the degree of subtlety and particular detail. I also assume that we share the ability to connect to something, to a phenomena with our attention. By focusing with our attention we entrain ourselves to the object (or subject) of our focus. The connection deepens with repeated practice.
Another very important thing we share is the ability or the potential to be curious. Curiosity is a certain attitude of awareness to the unknown. Without curiosity, we can learn “by rote” and repeat certain patterns, but there is not the spark behind the action to also ignite joy and invigoration: the action is imitation only. Curiosity is fueled by something, propelling us forward effortlessly. We can be curious within repetition and discipline, but we must start with curiosity. It is like planting an orange tree before building a house, we work to construct the scaffold and the structure and so on, whilst knowing that the oranges are on their way. We can know that the house we build will be richer for its shared beginnings with the orange tree. Later in the life practice, the orange tree continues to give, and the life of the home is both structurally sound, and nourishing. In this way curiosity must be part of the foundation of any expedition of transformation practice.
There must be a certain level of innocence within this work: not naivety, but rather a lack of constrictive agenda. Our maps of meaning and value, and the story we tell about our experiences can either amplify or eliminate. An approach to practice that is open enough to allow the unexpected, to allow us to be surprised, is really essential to the process of making meaningful connections and learning through synthesis.
What I'm pointing to here is a certain power or character trait. It may seem an obvious statement, but consider the following: a thread has one loose end, as we follow the thread, we enter the weave, and as we pull and manipulate the thread, we change the weave. Curiosity then, is a way or method of pulling a thread, or following a trail. Using a curiosity with our senses in direct perception practice will have a certain affect on the weave. What we perceive will respond to that particular tone or attitude. It is not the only way to manipulate the weave, but having left gaps for the unexpected to flow through, we end up with a richer pattern, and a subtler experience.
So if the attitude of curiosity is at least somewhat established (or rediscovered), we can become aware of the way or feeling our attention works from that basis. Once the sentiment and practical focus are symbiotic, real change starts to occur.
But what is the weave? What realm do we want to focus our beings on? Assuming we can at least categorize the difference between thinking and feeling, ideas and sensation (or the combinations thereof), we can choose where to focus: thinking or feeling, imagination or sensation. I don't want to make value judgments on the personal practice of individuals, but rather offer a perspective on integration: Self-localization is the ongoing process of connecting to the resources of the present moment. I'm specifically referring to the sensory information presenting to the awareness, that precedes the layering of meaning that comes after. The assumption is that the attitude of curiosity is an open enough map to allow this direct experience to pass the filter.
So if we are practicing to localize the self, and approach deeper and deeper levels of embodied connection through direct perception, curiosity is a great attitude. By extension, trust is the glue of integrity. As the sensory experience within the present moment unfolds, as the weave shifts and shimmers, we slowly establish a deeper connection that is orientated around permission and non-violence; deeper subtlety, more reliable feedback; ongoing trust in the act of practice.
Another way to say this is that the mundane can be nourishing, if we approach our sensory experience with the right attitude, this curious focus. The point is not that we will have some kind of revelation (we likely will have many), but rather that we can begin to redefine success, redefine the feedback relationship with reality to allow the best conditions for simple satisfaction. Integration is moving towards the safety of being interconnected through voluntary practice, accessing resources made available according our own curiosity; personal allegiance with ever-present forces. The orientation around simplicity, localization and the present moment reduces the dynamic tension of transformation to a gentler level; I.e sustainable practice.
There is another assumption within this whole model: that practice can be in any moment, any space. That the living experience itself is one continuous thread within the weave of life. The way we wash the dishes, the way we sit and write, the way we sit and talk with friends, work and play, love and grieve, rest and travel. The way we move with each step, breathe each breath, all of this is the weave, and our particular point of awareness is a thread within the larger pattern.
Improvisation is a process of responding to the moment, making decisions within a state of flow that holds our attention and our sense of purpose. Improvisation allows focus through uncertainty, continuation through variation, and authentic connection to experience. Sensory improvisation then, is directing focus effortlessly in connection to sensory phenomena, relaxing into choice and curiosity in such a way that we nourished by our own awareness.
The way we follow the thread; pulling the string, affects the weave at large. We experience more of what we do; we are the weave, speaking back to ourselves through sensory phenomena.