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When act becomes expression


A recent experience of directing a drama with children opened up new perspectives to the mother and teacher in me. As I was pondering about the art of acting as someone in a story, it dawned upon me that children are born actors. Look around to see how natural it is for a young child to imitate others all the time, so well without any inhibition or filter. A child naturally lives in the other to understand what it means to be the other - it is profound learning, and hard work that they are doing. It is only later, through the years of growing up, we gain the ability to look at others as someone else from the self. Hence we grow the ability to empathise, that we can transform ourselves to feel what it means to be in others shoes and come back to the self - much like playing a role in a drama.

As we grow, we invite many roles into our lives (father, mother, brother, son, aunt etc.) and juggle between acting in different roles. We act so well that we actually live in that role and do not make a distinction. The fun roller coaster ride that each role takes us on, sometimes gets missed as we become conscious of the role, when we start thinking if we  are actually living up to the role. For a drama, we can practice and rehearse to put up that performance on the stage. What form of rehearsal do we do, to take up a role in real life, for example, that of a mother? A mother is born simultaneously with the child at the same moment. While there could be near and dear ones who help and support the mother to take care of the child, the mother has already gained the motherly instinct. The reflexes and instincts of a mother are innate. How wonderful it is to observe that we have the ability and capacity to be in such a role almost instantly without much education!

Is there a possibility that we live with such natural instincts in more roles in our life? I could not think of a better role than to be a child. A child inherently knows how to express and when to cry. She lives by her natural instinct to explore everything and anything and when she perceives danger, she knows instantly to get back to safety, to unite with the parent. She just knows how to be carefree and have no inhibitions as she works so beautifully in every possible way to understand the environment and what it means to live in this world. She has no agenda and lives completely out of what is presented to her. However she perceives the mother, father and other family members or people in the immediate surroundings and continues to observe and understand the different roles and the web of relationships. She lives so much in the environment, that all things, visible and non-visible, have a profound effect on shaping her through the growing years. All these have a continuous effect on how her instincts and reflexes mould. Today, parenting has become a matter of focus, probably for this reason. That, how do we nurture and nourish that which is natural for children from birth and they continue to live true to their potential. Educating the child must be looked at, with this perspective, among others, so we continue to nurture and nourish what is possible.  

It is interesting to observe how each role demands certain qualities. It sounds difficult to accept that we have inherent instincts (like being a mother/father) for all the roles that we play. But is there a way to make it possible? Through growing up, have we become that person who can transform into any  accepted role with the appropriate set of instincts, required to fulfil the responsibilities that the particular role demands? For some roles we act in a certain way to become ready and for some roles we give our expression immediately. Then how do we understand doing something that our mother, grandmother, uncle, neighbour, friend, community etc told us? For that matter what the doctor, teacher have suggested to us? How do I let an expression flow into my actions, which is not mine? When I receive an advice or a suggestion, it starts at the level of knowing the person from where it is flowing and thereby builds the trust. And when I trust the matter, that it is in the best interest of my life, it starts with acceptance. Everything might not have a ready made logic available to find an answer momentarily. However when I do something out of trust, I am actually allowing the other to flow naturally through me into my living - much like our own intuition. By doing so, I make the act my own. Of course, it is alright not to accept something too, right away. If something sounds nice but not yet convincing, it is a great place to be in. It is an opportunity for us to seek the real essence of it, find inspiring values and understand if and how it is possible to make a connection. So we tap it enough to transform that to our own expression to live in our way and not act merely out of the formula.

Observing ourselves and identifying, if a new role we are entering into needs action for a period of time, helps us to allow the character seep into ourselves. The journey of an act becoming expression is filled with a lot of rare beauty and avenues that we now have the opportunity to explore for the first time. This is the kind of a learning that I do not find anywhere else, the journey of a forever student and seeker. The journey takes me forward but keeps me grounded. There is neither hurry nor stagnancy in this journey. 

I relate that kind of journey to conscious living. To me, conscious living is not about doing things in a certain way properly, it is about living in a certain way that is appropriate to one’s true nature.  And you live in a certain way because that is who you are. It is all about being a better version of yourself, so you are not acting the role of a worthy individual, but are living as an expression of yourself. What I achieve by being in that natural expression is "freedom." Freedom from peer pressure, freedom from conditioning, freedom from expectation, freedom from doubt, freedom from perfection and finally freedom from "the act of living." It is so liberating and life giving when we do not plan and rehearse to act for life. There by we grow in acceptance and love for the self. I wish all of us identify our reflexive gifts that we are born with, to express in any role that we accept - the courage to be yourself and realising the power and responsibility of leaving your signature in everything that you do. 

Comments

Unknown said…
Very beautifully written about act, expression, freedom

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