Have you ever broken one of the “Four Agreements” and then woken up the next day and wondered, “What the heck just happened?” Try as we might to hold ourselves to higher standards, we’re only human and sometimes we miss the mark.
It seems like a lot of us were guilty of making assumptions about the recent election so it’s time to remember to not take anything personally, be impeccable with our word, and always do our best.
Regardless of which cliff you’re perched upon at the edge of the political chasm it might be useful to ponder what got us here in the first place, and by extension, where are we headed. Here in America we hold the idea of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in high esteem. So a lot of our progress has been in innovations that makes achieving happiness easier, better, and faster.
Case in point, the Internet. Big brother to television, (pun intended), this interactive entertainment and communications medium is designed to deliver more and more of whatever we like most. In recent years we have gotten to the point where 65% of the population gets their news through the mirror chamber of social media. So the algorithms are simply doing the job they were designed for, doing their best to make us happy by reinforcing what we already believe in.
My dear departed friend Terence McKenna, the author and philosopher who wrote many prescient books about culture and consciousness famously quipped “My technique is don’t believe anything. If you believe in something, you are automatically precluded from believing its opposite.”
So on one hand, in the privacy of our individual relationships with the screen, we are free to rant and rave, caustically comment, and commiserate with like-minded people, dialing our angst up to 11 against “those other people” and their inexplicable beliefs.
Yet in public, the idea of civilized discourse across the chasm is a thing of the past. A recent study of college students revealed that very few are willing to have a face-to-face conversation with fellow students down the hall about important matters of the day.
Our founding fathers hammered out democracy by meeting fellow citizens and working out differences in person. Today, one person’s opinion is someone else’s micro-aggression, so it’s easier to clam up in public and bang it out on the keyboard in the safety of the filter bubble later.
When I was a senior in high school in 1981, I did a book report on Jerry Mander’s “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television” (and haven’t owned one since). One of the key points he makes is that the very nature of the medium requires the creation of stark polarities. Nuanced conversation and subtle shades of gray are always pushed aside by stark contrast.
The Internet is like television on steroids. The ability to be outrageous will trump meaningful discussion every time. It’s the reason why professional wrestling is considered a spectacle rather than a sport. It’s not about playing the game, it’s about destroying the frame.
That’s why the words of Banafsheh Sayyad at the top of this article are so important. When we ‘listen with the ears of the heart’ we inform our intelligence with the language of consciousness. A lot has been said about ‘healing’ in the aftermath of the election and as we move forward into a new political era. But it’s important to remember that ’consciousness raising’ and ‘healing’ are distinctly different.
Healing is what happens after there’s been trauma: an injury, disease, or infection. We break a bone or get the flu, so we wear a splint or do a cleanse. Consciousness-raising however, is about elevating our vibration and reaching higher levels of happiness and well-being. When we become happier and more aware, health and vitality follow.
So it’s time to practice the preventative medicine of positivity and model the methods of consciousness. Playing into the trap of polarity blinds us to our common core of humanity, so keep standing up for your values and engage with ‘the other’, in-person and with your heart, so we can shine light on the shadows and move forward with love.
May delight be yours in the week to come!
Dance First Member Spotlight:Banafsheh & Dance of Oneness!
Spending the day after the election at Esalen doing a Dance of Oneness workshop with Banafsheh was probably one of the best ways to decompress from the campaign that I can imagine. Having her as a longtime member of Dance First has made me long-overdue to experience her sacred dance approach in person.
Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Tony Khalife and percussionist Mike Reidinger, she led us to a deep level of embodiment with her wise guidance and captivating presence. It’s no wonder she’s developed a global following and is invited all over the world, there’s a level of elegance and professionalism about her that’s rare in our circles.
Growing up in an atmosphere of the performing arts, she developed her ability to lead and feel comfortable in front of a group an early age. Her father, the legendary Iranian filmmaker, theater director, and actor Parvis Sayyad is referred to as the Charlie Chaplin of Iran.
We learned movements inspired by the Persian alphabet and gained an understanding of the sacred art of whirling along with greater insight into the life and works of Rumi. There’s a depth of knowledge she brings forth with elements of Sufism, Flamenco, Tai Chi, Persian dance and ritual all in the context of exalting the Divine Feminine.
We were fortunate to share the day with her and the group participating in the workshop and doing photography for our upcoming members annual printed edition of Conscious Dancer. We are looking forward to bringing you a historic volume of high vibe photography documenting the work of our dynamic Dance First members.
Thank you so much Banafsheh! Much love to your marvelous musicians and a hat tip to your hard-working assistant Heidi for helping to put it all together!
Visit the Dance of Oneness calendar to find a workshop or event near you, and if you are in the Los Angeles area be sure to attend one of her monthly workshops with live music from Tony Khalife!