“The spirit of the work we are doing is not to distract ourselves from being aware of what is happening.”
Gesture of Awareness is not a technique. There are no tools. There is no one way of doing something that we can learn; no one way of standing, no one way of moving the arms. It is rather an attitude ⎯ an attitude towards ourselves and an attitude towards life that we are exploring.
Gesture of Awareness draws from two traditions: Buddhism and Sensory Awareness. Almost all of the Buddhist meditations are drawn from the Sattipatthana sutra, with which Gesture of Awareness is very much connected. Mindfulness of the body is clearly described in this sutra: when the monk is walking, he knows he is walking; when he is turning his head, he knows he is turning his head and so on.
Sensory Awareness is the name given by Charlotte Selver to the work she taught for many years. She learned the technique from Elsa Gindler, a woman steeped in dance and body awareness. For Elsa Gindler, the point was not to transform, but to begin to be aware of how one is holding, how one is blocking the process of life. She said that if we used all the energy we are using to block ourselves, we would be stronger than lions.
Within our organism, there is a natural tendency to move towards a deeper balancing, a freer way of living.
“So, like freedom, presence is not a pure state of mind devoid of distractions, sleepiness, jealousy, and anxiety; presence is our relationship to all that. How do we relate to sleepiness, to distraction, to anxiety, to joy, to peacefulness? As long as we believe it is a specific experience, that feeds our tendency to do something about it, to transform, to improve.”