Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Modes of being: standing, walking, jumping and rolling.

Every bodily state has a psychological parallel. Here we shall explore the different states of being associated with sitting, standing, walking, running, jumping, and rolling. 

Standing involves a stillness and centredeness of mind. Standing allows one to easily travel in any direction one desires. This contrasts with walking where one has already gained momentum in a particular direction which makes it harder to travel in the opposite one. Though standing involves passivity, it intimates a readiness to walk. Sitting, in contrast, implies a deeper level of passivity (being two steps away from travel since one must first stand and only then can one walk.) In sitting, one opens oneself up to influence by adopting a receptive frame of mind. Students, for instance, typically sit while their teacher delivers a lesson.

Walking implies incremental progress. One foot remains on the ground while the other moves forward. The footprints left by a walker are coherent and easily traceable to their point of origin. One overly dominated by his rational mind is a walker. He tends to begin any process by learning the basic principles and then builds upon them progressively by adding and incorporating more information or skills; a  psychological growth typical of a standard school text book.

When running both feet lift off the ground. Still, a runners footprints remain quite easy to follow. The increased intensity and speed of running renders a runner both more and less predictable than a walker: more predictable because he tends to be more set in a particular course of action; less predicable because, in his haste, he tends to skip stages in the developmental process. Runners are highly confident in their beliefs and goals and, typically avid and passionate, pursue them vigorously. Running also gives rise to a particular form of jumping, commonly referred to as a 'leap of faith'. Having gained confidence in a given area, a runner may feel that no more intellectual inquiry or proof is required to further his commitment to that goal, theory or ideology. He launches himself into the air and lands on a path of super-rational faith and adherence.         
Jumping in general, however, reflects spontaneity and creative bursts which can transport a person into a radically different psychological space. A jumper's impulsiveness, his lifting both feet off the ground and his movements in any direction, makes him highly incoherent, and his foot prints are difficult to follow. He may jump to the left, then to the right, then behind, etc, making it hard for a tracker to determine where he began and where he finished. Ironically, however, jumping strongly relies on standing for its ability. Hence jumpers often have quiet periods where they want to move but don't know where to go (standing). Yet, in an instant they're overpowered by a surge of inspiration and jump into a project or area of interest. Artists are infamous jumpers. They may remain idle and uninspired for some time only to erupt with creative inspiration which keeps them consummately engrossed for extended periods.
Rolling, as on a skateboard, is distinguished from the other modes of movement in that there are no gaps at all in the tracks. The tracks are seamless largely due to the decreased friction in the medium of travel. Rolling depicts a highly desirable state of being where life's events seem to gel and flow smoothly. The more an individual is in harmony with the world, other people, and his own talents, the smoother are his travels through life. This state is aptly couched in the expression, 'He's on a roll!' and is often felt in the harmonization of diverse elements in paintings and songs.

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