Consciousness could be called finding a way to make sense of the world we live in. Just the word itself is a bit intimidating and "out there". When we explore our understanding of consciousness and higher thought, the outer most portion of our brains ( cerebrum) light up under imaging. These are the parts of our brain that define our brains as different from animals. The gifts of exploring this deep thought and personal experience is our ability to bring in hope, understanding, and to make sense of some of the things that happen to us as humans. It also protects our brains from many diseases.
Have you ever had a thought pop into your head that seemed to just "happen" without trying to "remember"? Those thoughts that seem to come from nowhere have always intrigued me. This sense of knowing something beyond what I have been taught in school touches on what higher thought is to me. Similar to the scientists who discovered antibiotics at almost the same exact time frame in two entirely different countries, this ability to discover goes beyond what we already know. To me I see it as a field of "knowing" that is going all the time and we have the ability to tap into it if we can keep our mind clear of mundane thoughts and we fine tune our bodies ability to sense the subtle sensation of this connection.
In Kai we practice finding our dance "outside of our thoughts" and witnessing our experience without attachment to interfering. This practice not only creates more space to learn and grow, it also opens up the mind to be more receptive. Sometimes I dance into a space of open-ness through my breath awareness, sometimes its simply the invitation to move without thought, other times its the sensation of meditation as I move. When I am deeply into this zone, I often feel tingles in my scalp, a high state of bliss, and I can transcend pain, heaviness, and thoughts that are self defeating. What a miracle!
Another way I enter into consciousness as a dance, is through spiraling.....I think of my connection with earth and the earth of my body, water of the planet and that my body has an equal amount of water inside of me. I notice my breath and visualize a breeze blowing leaves and how that happens in a vortex pattern. I sense all the elements and look at my experience in my body as a reflection of everything outside of me and this takes me inside deeper. The movement of the planets and stars is a spiraling motion and that spiral is similar to the movement of cells in the body or the spiral of DNA. Every organ of the body as an embryo is created in this spiral motion. So this belief and knowing opens me to find the spirals in my movements and I follow that and find the grace and flow from one move to the next. In the areas of my body that I disconnect, have pain or tension I invite consciousness in to understand and perhaps transcend. The information I get from my dance allows me to make sense of my life, the good stuff and the challenges.
As "far out" there as it all sounds it's all felt through the body and our experience of utilizing the brain fully. At the end of class we sometimes sit in a circle, and share our experiences. Everyones experience is valuable and no doctrine or 'one way of thinking" is emphasized. Some people stay silent and that's honored as well. Beyond the bliss and transcendence available here there is also evidence showing that those that practice consciousness and connect it with either spirituality or faith have a greatly reduced chance of having Alzheimers, Depression and other diseases later in life. The cerebrum activity is opposite the pattern of brains that are afflicted with these diseases. Adolescents also have a less chance of getting involved with substance abuse. From a practical perspective we are training the brain for health....just like any muscle in the body.