Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Beautiful Mind

No this is not a post about the movie A Beautiful Mind; although that movie does offer a fascinating study on the subjectivity of perception and how it impacts the quality of our wellbeing.

And... perception is the theme of this post.

My thoughts on perception were stimulated by an upcoming workshop offered by the poet David Whyte, entitled The Art of Creating A Beautiful Mind. In his description of the workshop he writes: "How much stress or unhappiness we undergo can depend on the qualities of perception we cultivate."

As is usual with David, he swims in the waters of imagination. He sees imagination as a vital tool toward making sense of the complexity of our evolving selfhood.  He speaks of imagination as a form of intelligence and a deeply rich and intuitive faculty of perception, which supports "... a way of being in the world that engages a rested, alert intelligence with the courage to simplify, to act, and above all, to have a life worth living at the center of our endeavors."

It got me wondering how the being that I am, the life I unfold into, and all that constantly swirls within and around me - would be experienced if I swam in the waters of my imagination more. It felt liberating and a little giddy to imagine (!) such an imaginative life (and/or being); possibilities abounding.

How is this actually done?

Good question.

Since I haven't taken the workshop, I'm not sure how David would direct us on perceiving our lives via the faculty of imagination. But - I can take a LEAP and say that he might read this poem as a doorway into the territory of our imaginations:


START CLOSE IN
Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step you don't want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people's questions,
don't let them
smother something
simple.

To find
another's voice
follow
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
listening
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don't follow
someone else's
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don't mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step you don't want to take.
   From River Flow

I'll be taking this poem with me as I once again LEAP off the grid for 2 weeks (I seem to be in need of lots of time off the grid at this stage of my life. Time away fuels me to return with more passion to KEEP LEAPING in the mix of all that challenges and thrills me).

While away - I plan on being very curious about the qualities of the perceptions I cultivate - moment by moment. I'll be opening some windows and letting the breeze of my imagination blow in.

So, until I return, I invite you to do the same.
And....

KEEP LEAPING!



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