Blog Bite .005 - inside lies magic

Inside Lies Magic

“Where I am is what I need, cellularly.”

Deborah Hay

I have been so inspired by Deborah Hay’s writings about re-conceiving our perception of the mind + body connection. At once both a writer and choreographer, she has brought to the public a new way of reading and experiencing the body: at a cellular level. As Buddhists and meditators of all traditions have realized for centuries, one doesn’t need a microscope to ‘see’ at the scale of a cell. It does; however, take time and patience to cultivate the skill of observation to see deeply into our being. From 1988 in one of Hay’s exercise directives:

“I imagine every cell in my body has the potential to perceive action, resourcefulness, and cultivation at once.”

Hay believes that each cell has the ability to sense and that each cell cognizes. I will often ask my students to bring activity to their pinkie toes and to imagine a smiley face there. This may seem strange and even funny, but what I see happening in my students’ bodies is no laughing matter…it is delightful, it is life force, it is energy and it is smiling!

When I begin to think of the universe that we can explore within ourselves, I recall a beautiful Introduction to the book entitled “Outside Lies Magic” by John Stilgoe. This is an excerpt that we would always have our students of observation read at the beginning of each semester. My colleague, Josh Keller, and I were teaching a class on color to architecture students. As any student of color quickly realizes, everything is relative. Context is hugely important: any red will look differently depending on the colors adjacent, the quality of light on it AND most interestingly, the observer’s previous experience with that color. In this excerpt from the book, Stilgoe encourages a slow, relaxed stroll through the city to begin to open ourselves up to what is around us. If we hurry, we miss a heap of juicy information. The same goes for our inner explorations. If we are patient and take our time, magic ensues.

I like to say “Inside Lies Magic” because it is true. Our inner experience colors our outer experience and of course, vice versa. Becoming familiar and curious about our inner world as much as our outer world will bring a little romance and a whole lot of richness into our lives. This morning I led a meditation on this very idea…each cell is experiencing all senses and thoughts, both individually and together simultaneously.

How might that change the way you feel? One of my students said that when she felt discomfort in her cells, she imagined they were having a party. Now that is much better then thinking of it as just plain old discomfort, yes?

Recommended reading:

Deborah Hay “My Body , the Buddhist”

John Stilgoe “Outside Lies Magic”