Saturday Features

On movement

  • Where did we stumble? Why is the song bereft of melody? Why has the locomotive of love run out of steam?
- Samrat Kharel
Why then, we wonder, has poetry become sterile? Music devolved to regimented virtuosity? Acting stagnated to showmanship? Dance regressed to acrobatics and architecture given way to loathsome noise of epic magnitudes?

Apr 15, 2017-The Master spins a dusty tune,

From the lost pages

of Lorca’s book.

The violin cuts like a razor blade, 

My solitary waltz in a 

Viennese cage. 

..........

Movement is morality. Movement, lucid movement without the interference of thought. To dance therefore is holy. To restrict the body—a sin. To dig your toes into the earth and go like the wind, to run, run, run, to finish the race, to partake in the grand drama, to overcome the little self—this is virtue, courage, transcendence if you will. The end result doesn’t mean anything, the right effort means everything. And right effort does not result from thinking. It is a spontaneous outburst of movement whose origin does not lie in memory. If you have any doubts—ask the cellist who meditates on Bach, listen to the drummer channeling the fury of Nateshwor, watch the athlete becoming one with the thunderous clap.

Humans are simply a psychosomatic manifestation of this impulse, which needs to express itself—any attempt to suppress it with ascetic rigidity, cloak it with modesty or discard it in favor of convention, or worse yet, some superior and abstract virtue will only invite disaster. This movement is not about ceaseless agitation leading to trivial achievements. It is not about unrestrained growth driven by greed and mistaken for progress. This is movement arising from a point of stillness that lends itself to endless variations of form and texture that are in sync with larger patterns of existence. This is the very rhythm of life itself—an occasion to connect, a moment to come together and an opportunity to dissolve back into the source.

And it is participation in this symphony that gives birth to spontaneity, spontaneity which blossoms into grace, grace which ultimately shatters whatever we thought we knew. When asked what came over him to dance like that, the lawless Greek responded, “What could I do boss? My joy was choking me. I had to find an outlet. And what kind of an outlet? Words? Pffff…” The dance defines the human. It brings out the devil and the god and he embraces them both. This is how he cultivates his character—by becoming one with the movement and not by intellectual arguments or philosophical posturing. She attains integration by questioning the meaning of existence with every cell in her body and not with her head and herein also lies the great paradox—complete participation becomes the pre-requisite for unconditional dropping out. The hero gets his hands dirty to become thoroughly clean. He swallows everything hook, line and sinker to become totally empty.

To detach one’s self from the most powerful force on earth, that goddess with wide hips, hair of gold and eyes of turquoise blue; to just feel the vibration in its totality and let it go—maybe that is what makes a true poet. The heroic bard of bankrupt hearts and the inspiration for this write up, Mr Leonard Cohen, left us earlier this year with a book of hymns titled, You Want It Darker—the last volume in a series of prophetic manuals for navigating the murky and volatile waters of the sea within. Half a century after his first pronouncement, the mystic/poet bowed out with unmatched grace and dignity—a feat possible only for a man who has abided with the movement—down in the dungeons or up in the celestial realms; wherever the rhythm of life took him.

In the messianic ocean tides Cohen conjured up, one finds the true meaning of compassion. This, yours truly, understands as vibrational affinity or movement that is in complete harmony with nature. A quest not fundamentally different from that of the scientist, who according to the eminent theoretical physicist, David Bohm, is essentially seeking a hitherto unknown lawfulness in the order of nature…a totality or wholeness constituting a kind of harmony that is felt to be, yes, beautiful. Joyce called it epiphany and declared it to be the fundamental aesthetic factor. Otherwise there is mere fragmentation and contraction; neurosis masquerading under a hundred different names which could also be understood as movement in the wrong direction.

Why then, we wonder, has poetry become sterile? Music devolved to regimented virtuosity? Acting stagnated to showmanship? Dance regressed to acrobatics and architecture given way to loathsome noise of epic magnitudes? One need only observe the onetime valley of the gods from a bird’s eye view to determine the general quality of consciousness prevalent today. Where did we stumble? Why is the song bereft of melody? Why has the locomotive of love run out of steam? A child learning to walk—there isn’t anything great or noble in it. In fact, it is very, very ordinary but there is a purity and grace to the movement; something we are not able to touch anymore despite the numerous books we read on creativity, spirituality and what not. Despite the many rites and rituals we perform endlessly. Maybe it’s because in the child the fragmentation hasn’t occurred. The flow hasn’t been obstructed. The body hasn’t been contaminated by thought. It hasn’t been expelled from the Garden. It is not learning to dance. It is the dance.

Movement is morality—so proclaimed a madman.

Kharel is a writer/ filmmaker currently based in Nuuk, Greenland

Published: 15-04-2017 08:57

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