When the five senses and the mind are still, and the reasoning intellect rests in silence, then begins the highest path. This calm steadiness of the senses is called Yoga. ~ Katha Upanishad
Have you ever experienced a feeling of restlessness in your body and then suddenly a previously unnoticed noise disappears from the soundscape (like a motor or an electrical hum)? With that noise disappearing you suddenly relax. It may then have dawned on you that the sound has been making you edgy for the last hour although you didn't notice it or the edginess until there was silence and relaxation in contrast. This happens often. Sometimes we notice. Other times we just are victim to our body's reaction.
If we were to notice the root of the tension (a sound for example), being conscious of it would prevent the reaction. We could respond instead. Our choice could then be to move away or accept it. I sometimes find when walking in strong wind that it either makes me edgy or if I feel it fully without allowing my judgment and preference to cloud the experience, then I can relax in it. All it takes is awareness.
These are just gross examples of the effect our sensory input has on our being. The more unconscious we are of the information that is coming in, the more we are at the mercy of it. However, the more present, aware and accepting of the sense scape around and within us, the more at ease we will be with it.
Dance of Pure Awareness
Enter the dance. Conscious dance is a dance of awareness. Of mindful movement. Our aim is to cultivate pure awareness. Pure awareness is the ability to experience the present moment as it is without filter, judgment, label, or preference. Conscious dance becomes a practice of perceiving through our five senses as pure awareness and discovering ways of responding in movement to our perception.
The Sixth Sense
Ultimately this allows us to open to our more intuitive sixth sense and connects us more deeply to reality, our nature and nature. As we learn to move from here, life becomes more fluid and graceful. This is one of the great benefits regular conscious dancer experiences. It also spills out into our everyday interactions in life and over time just gets deeper.
How to Practice
The practice of dancing with sense perception is simple. Simply extend your awareness through the five senses. Move based on what feels like the most appropriate in that moment. The environment changes all the time. New perceptions come into our field of sense perception. Others go. Some stay a while. They may build up in intensity. While others fade. It's like an orchestra playing a complex symphony involving the whole orchestra. Our dance is the listening to that symphony. It is not something we can get wrong, we learn through each movement made in response to our perception and over time our wisdom grows.
Our sense perception can extend externally into our environment, or internally into the body. Whenever we get distracted or our minds wander into thoughts, we simply come back to the sense-scape. We can choose to work with one sense, like sound, or sight, or touch. Or rotate our awareness through our senses, moving with each one. Of course we can become aware of everything all at once without preference.
As we move, we create. New sensations are felt. We open to new perception. Over time our awareness becomes more expanded and more subtle. We start to sense things that we previously wouldn't have noticed. We move in new ways.
The practice has two fold benefit. Firstly, cultivating sense awareness allows us to become more sensitive and aware of the present moment. Secondly, our movement teaches us to become more responsive to the present moment. Our repertoire of movement increases, as does the expression and therefore creation of our being. We also become more grounded in what is really going on as we begin to move more from pure awareness and less from conditioned reactivity.
Experience of Life
Our experience of life is largely governed by how we respond to the overwhelming amount of information that is taken in through our senses all the time. The more conscious we become, the more responsive we can be. So this is a good practice of mindfulness.
Learning to become less reactive to our environment and more responsive, begins with exploration into our sense perception. Seeing what the mind is doing with those perceptions. Conscious dance is a great way to bypass the intellect. The over rationalising tendency of the mind that disconnects us from experiencing our true nature. The dance drops us right back into the opportunity to be in that nature.