In the To Be Soul, Do Soul book club, we’re experimenting with creative practices to help us explore different aspects of human (and non-human) experience. I’m sharing one of our experiments here, so you can play along if you wish.
There are certain principles that apply to all forms of exploration.
Begin with a question that’s scratching at the back of your consciousness. Or one that intrigues you. Or one that won’t leave you alone, that shows up unbidden in your dreams, in the shower, when you’re driving. Begin with something you want to discover, that you want to understand better. Questions are often universal in nature. The answers to those questions lie in the realm of the particular. If you want to understand something, experience it physically — take the question into your body, and explore its resonance in the particular movements and energy flows of your body. Exploration works most effectively when you employ a multitude of perspectives. Examine whatever you’re exploring in as many different ways as you can conceive of.
How would a 90-year-old man, or a 70-year-old elephant- matriarch, or a carpenter, or a microbe, experience this?
How would an engineer or architect or chef approach the question you’re exploring? What would they see, hear, feel, know? How would someone who is dying?
The body of imagination is made of (metaphorical) muscle and bone and blood. The more consciously you exercise it, the healthier and more robust it will grow. Questions require a variety of forms of enquiry and response, to reveal their truth. Story, narrative — this is one way of understanding. Knowledge, information, is another. Symbol, metaphor, compression — these reveal layers that cannot be arrived at through other means. Movement, gesture, reveal meaning in breath and in their interactions with space. A blend of thought and feeling is more potent than either one alone.
Given these principles, explore a question you’re curious about. Create a practice as a container for your exploration, blending the universal with the particular. Share your creations on my Facebook page, if you wish.