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The Live Experience March 27, 2021

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Uncategorized.
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“This has been such a very difficult time for live performance and many artists, technicians and craftsmen and women have struggled in a profession that is already fraught with insecurity.

Maybe that always present insecurity has made them more able to survive this pandemic with wit and courage.

 

Their imagination has already translated itself, in these new circumstances, into inventive, entertaining and moving ways to communicate, thanks of course in large part to the internet.

 

Human beings have told each other stories for as long as they have been on the planet.

The beautiful culture of theatre will live for as long as we stay here.”

– Helen Mirren, Stage, Screen and Television Actress, World Theatre Day Message Author 2021  

For the second year in a row, most theatres are shuttered, most box offices are closed, artists and technicians are laid off and/or working their backup hustle during World Theatre Day. However, there are a handful of places in the world where people will celebrate today as it was intended when initiated by the International Theatre Institute in 1961 (and first celebrated in 1962) – with live theatre.

Still others are getting ready. Because the time is coming… people will take their seats, theatres will darken, the curtain will rise and for a spectacular moment in time people will be transfixed by three-dimensional lives that are not their own. For a brief moment in time, people’s awareness will be drawn into a single point – the stage – as if nothing else exists.

That moment, however brief, when nothing else exists and someone is completely absorbed into the object of their focus, is a mere taste (or hint) of what Patanjali described in the Yoga Sūtras. Think of how you can get involved in a television program with which you constantly have to reengage your awareness, because of the commercials and any other distractions from within your home. There is focus and concentration, but you are constantly having to make adjustments to maintain that focus and concentration. Now, think of something aired or streamed with limited commercial interruptions and how there is less need for “course corrections.” Then there is a movie, where you have continuous flow – but it’s still flat, two-dimensional; with limited engagement of the senses. Finally, there is the play, musical, ballet, opera, or other live performance where your attention is held AND (more importantly) all of your senses are engaged. With cell phones silenced and everyone around you also focused on the same point, your awareness continuously flows into (and out of) the action on stage.

My analogy isn’t even close to perfect, of course; because these various mediums do not really represent a single point. Instead, what I want you to consider is the progressive transitions of awareness from all-pointedness to single-pointedness.

Yoga Sūtra 3.9: vyutthāna-nirodhah-samskāra abhibhava-prādurbhāvau nirodhah-kşaņa-chitta-anvayah nirodhah-pariņāmah

 

– “When the vision of the lower samadhi is suppressed by an act of conscious control, so that there are no longer any thoughts or visions in the mind, that is the achievement of control of the thought-waves of the mind.”

 

Yoga Sūtra 3.10: tasya praśānta-vāhitā samskārāt

 

– “When this suppression of thought waves becomes continuous, the mind’s flow is calm.”

Yoga Sūtra 3.11: sarvarathata ekagrata ksaya udaya chittasya samadhi-parinamah

– “When all mental distractions disappear and the mind becomes one-pointed, it enters the state called samadhi.”

Yoga Sūtra 3.12: tatah punah shanta-uditau tulya-pratyayau chittasya ekagrata-parinimah

– “The mind becomes one-pointed when similar thought-waves arise in succession without any gaps in between them.”

As I’ve mentioned before, what is described in the Yoga Sūtras is meant to be experienced and explored through the experience and explored in stages. In his translation and commentary of Yoga Sūtra 3.12, Swami Vivekananda said that we know the mind has become concentrated, “Because the idea of time will vanish. The more time passes unnoticed the more concentrated we are. In common life we see that when we are interested in a book we do not note the time at all, and when we leave the book, we are often surprised to find how many hours have passed. All time will have the tendency to come and stand in the one present. So the definition is given: When the past and present come and stand in one, the mind is said to be concentrated.”

 Please join me for a 90-minute virtual yoga practice on Zoom today (Saturday, November 21st) at 12:00 PM, for an experience. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Saturday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “10202020 Pratyahara”]

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

You can read my post from last year here and check out online World Theatre Day celebrations here. For anyone interested in more information about my old job/career, here’s a little glimpse into what I use to do, courtesy of someone getting ready to do it all again!

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