Seeing the good side when a pigeon bangs against the windows: OPENLAB session on Friday, 3 May 2013

Last Friday, 3 May OPENLAB was attended by Jiska Morgenthal, Thelma Sharma and myself.


Sometimes the things we believe as fact, and therefore the things we preach about, seem to have abandoned us. It is as if we were enlightened once but since then we have forgotten the way that enlightenment looks and feels like… its memory has become so fainted that we start doubting even if it was ever true.

I lead the OPENLAB sessions most of the time. For this reason, for me it is hard to do what I’m saying whilst I’m saying it. I try, but what I normally experience is that I cannot really dive into “the thing” as I’m focusing in the flow of my speech about the thing to help others to do so. Still, I keep on trying to be in “the thing.” That’s my task.

However, I cannot resist the temptation of push it to make it happen. So, there I can see myself: pushing, pushing, pushing… so much I push sometimes I think I have laid an egg. No, I haven’t become oviparous just yet but the thing is that the more you push the harder is to make things happen. The more you push the more jammed the whole system gets.

Last session on Friday, 3 May I was feeling this way. We have been working for a bit on becoming mindfully aware of one-self and becoming mindfully aware of the world we exist in, the hows and the whats we can feel. In the end I asked the group to find the place in between, i.e. the inter-relations between the how we feel and what we feel.

As I was finding the task impossible I reminded to myself as well as to the others that the absence of relationships is a relationship in itself and that we should accept the fact that we may not encounter relationships (other than one of absence) at every single instant. I asked for patience, to wait for that moment in which the relationship emerges…

Well, relationships didn’t emerge for me in this session; at least not in the studio. When I had given up and went to pick some paper for the others to write in, I saw that there was a pigeon in the main Studio at Chisenhale Dance Space. I went into the studio to make the pigeon get out but actually the pigeon was trying to escape itself… only that the pigeon was not really able to find the fire scape door (which was open to let the hot air of last Friday to come into the studio). Instead, the poor little pigeon was banging itself again and again against the windows in the studio. With it bunging not only the pigeon’s body but also my own one were clenching. My fibres felt like hard strings tensing and reverberating, my guts flipping over… it’s hard to put it into words but I can say that the noisy bangs were clearly happening in unison with the clenching of my body. Ey, wait a minute! That’s a relationship of the kind I had set myself to find before, isn’t it? And I just find it when I had stopped trying. That reminds me of something…

In any case, the session did continue after my experience saving a pigeon (yes, I did manage to shoe it out of the studio). We tried out then a little exercise related with overloading attention: “how quick/how many body parts/how complexly can other people move you before you lose the capacity to be fully aware of those movements that are happening to you?”

Don’t worry, we just started the exercise and so you didn’t miss it yet. Come next Friday (10 May) and you will have the chance to experience it for yourself! I hope to see you there.