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Calmness in Activity is True Calmness

What is the difference between the stillness in movement and the movement in stillness? Simply, micro-movement vs. macro-movement.



Where is the movement in stillness?


It’s small, not obvious: the subtle balance or poise of the head on the top of the spine, the release of the abdominal muscles on an inhalation, and free hip joints in movement led with the “up-and-over” of the head.


And where is the stillness in movement?


I’ve come to understand they are in the same places. The subtle balance or poise of the head on the top of the spine, the release of the abdominal muscles on an inhalation, and free hip joints in movement led with the “up-and-over” of the head.


So, what is the difference between the stillness in movement and the movement in stillness? Simply, micro-movement vs. macro-movement.


Since exploring Alexander Technique and body mapping, my awareness of micro-movement has informed all movement.


In his Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki writes “Calmness of mind does not mean you should stop your activity. Real calmness should be found in activity itself. We say “It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness in activity, but calmness in activity is true calmness.”


In order to find that calmness while playing, I needed to learn how to inhibit tension. The observation of the pre-playing (putting a pause on the preparation to play) (see Non-Doing is Itself an Activity) was the key practice habit for me, but learning how to be aware of micro-movement helped refine my sensitivity to the movement in stillness in order to better experience the stillness in movement (and therefore reduced dystonic clenching) on the flute.

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