The Inner Dancer – the Priceless Present – Part 1

Want to give yourself a special present? It won’t cost anything and you can enjoy it forever. Just make a pledge that today, this very moment, you are going to be totally awake. Awake in the moment. Commit yourself to fully participate in the unfolding drama of your life. If you have a shower in the morning stay alert to the sensations, the feel of the water on your skin, the smell of the soap, the splashing sounds. Observe whatever is happening around you with keen interest. Come alive! It’s good entertainment value available and it’s also very instructive.

Well, that doesn’t sound too hard, I can hear you saying. Okay, maybe you don’t have a mind that races ahead of itself or dwells on what has been. But most of us mortals get trapped on a time-line. We are so occupied with the past or the future that we miss the ‘ever-present now’. You might be aware of the saying, ‘life is what happens while we are busy making plans’. Isn’t that the truth! ‘What is it that makes God laugh? Watching people make plans.’

There is a story about a Zen student who goes in search of a great master. After much searching, the student finds the wise man and asks the eternal question, ‘Please sir, what is the meaning of life’? The master contemplates the question for a long time and finally answers, ‘It’s working when you work, playing when you play, eating when you eat…’ The young student impatiently interrupts, ‘Sir, that is too simple’. The master replies, ‘Yes, it is, but few people do it’.

So, when you are dancing, dance with all your body, mind and spirit. Assert yourself to be completely present. The art of dance demands a focus which is very liberating. Perhaps the feeling of this experience is behind our drive to dance. We all have moments when we feel totally centred in the rhythm of our technique. Time slows down and we have a kind of clarity. There is no effort. We float through our movements with ease and fluidity. We are in a state of ‘moving meditation’.

The little monkey we call a brain quickly jumps back into action and begins to chatter, what if…, I should have…, how come…, this doesn’t work…, I’m not good…, let’s eat. We return to what we assume is reality with a resounding thud. Nevertheless, every time you enter class you have an opportunity to reintroduce yourself to your inner dancer, quiet your thoughts and stretch for your bliss.