Ignore the chatter

So I asked my wife, “Do you have a little voice in your head yammering away all day. Kind of like a jerk in a movie theater that has to comment on everything.”

I had been driving on an errand. For some unknown reason a thought, maybe more like a non-thought arose. It felt like a real-time meditation.

Each time I (“I?” Me? Which identity?) noticed my mind starting to make some internal comment or judgement, I simply turned my (whose?) attention away from it.

I went on to tell my wife that I’d realized that my body isn’t impatient. It is quite comfortable just BEing. It’s that chattering part that raises ruckus and causes problems.

“You really don’t have a voice inside talking to you sometimes?”
“No, but I sure hear yours.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry on its behalf.”

Argentine tango, did somebody say? There is a connection here.

In my early days of tango my eyes were darting everywhere. “Where to look at my partner? What to notice? What is going on in the room? What look do my teachers have on their faces?” Thank you Alejandra and Luciano for making me aware of this and the problems it causes.

Our patient bodies, happy just to be, have incredible natural wisdom about how to be, even when exploring new skills, like tango. But no. Some other parts of us want to interfere. Vision, speech, sounds, thoughts, judgments, worries. Any of these or combinations can pull energy and clarity from the body.

An approach that people suggest for dealing with this is to distract the distractors!

  • Vision: Close the eyes (followers, when safe to do). Keep a soft focus midway between horizon and self.
  • Hearing: Give exquisite attention to the music. So much the better for our dancing.
  • Thoughts: Give the thinking, evaluator assignments. For example, “Monitor the tension in the arm-side of the embrace.” (Eleven years in, I still run a background “instrument scan.” Over the years the focus and frequency of the scan changes.) Focus on your breath.

But I find that not enough. My guy says, “Got it! What else you got for me? Oh, and say did you see what that guy did over there! By the way, don’t you think we all might be getting bored with what you’re dishing up here?”

For me it works better to have a slippery attention. I don’t want to get in a fight with the part, or make it feel bad. I simply don’t allow it to catch a firm hold on my attention. Whatever thought/remark/judgement/worry I feel start to arise, I just slighly twist away from it. Like a mental martial art.

Chatter thing would just LOVE to tell us what and how we should really be doing things. “Hey, I am the analyzer, the critic, the synthesizer, the philosopher. I should really be in control of that back boleo. … Um, that was a boleo, right?”

Even in learning and practice mode we want to turn away from the egotistical worry wart. Analysis, cataloging, synthesis good. Trying to think our body actions, worrying about the results bad.

For the dance, in the dance away from the learning or practice mode, we want to give most every thing over to the body. Let it do what we’ve been helping it to learn.

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