Winging On

Introduction to Dancemeditation

part of: Dancemeditation

by Teresa Dunyati-Long

What is Dancemeditation?

It is a form of motor cognition meditation training based in traditional Sufi meditation techniques combined with numerous modern bodywork modalities (http://www.dancemeditation.org/resources/reading-list). These motor cognition meditation practices, and they are practices like brushing your teeth, are all body-based. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you may find these exercises exceptionally transformational and deeply moving. Other individuals with different native predilections and learning styles may not find this form of motor cognition training helpful, i.e., if they are drawn to mental instead of physical activities. Because current research suggests that any kind of light physical activity enhances general cognitive and physical capacity throughout the life cycle, I recommend individuals take the time to discover a light exercise (walking, running, dance, martial arts, baseball, any non-combative sport, etc).

But, motor cognition-based meditation has a deeper purpose than just promotion of a general capacity. As the Greeks noted, the unexamined life is not worth living. Meditation traditions of all kinds educate practitioners in self-knowledge, self-control, social responsibility, and skillful adaptability. Active pursuit of these goals allows the individual to

1. Realistically evaluate their own strengths and limitations.
2. Establish their own path to understanding, personal power, and communion with the Universe that encompasses, yet is far beyond us all.
3. Create and maintain a strong identity within the vastness of the Universe
4. Create and maintain a constructive meaning for their life.
5. Create and maintain constructive relationships.

How did I discover dancemeditation?

I was born in 1956 to US parents wandering the globe with the US military. They had journeyed through various religions and philosophies and had finally settled on a comfortable secular humanist approach to life that included various mind control techniques drawn from Taoism, transcendental meditation, and Silva Mind Control. This approach worked well for them. At an early age they encouraged me to make my own explorations into mental training techniques. In the course of my wandering through various religions, philosophies, and mystical practices searching for something that worked for me, I encountered Yoga, Shaolin-Kung Fu (including Tai Chi), Persian Classical Dance, improvisational Middle Eastern Dance, and finally Dancemeditation. Dancemeditation combines elements of all the above, and is thus a versatile ‘toolkit’ of mental training techniques.

So, the exercises I will present in this space are drawn from thirty years of working with and studying the disciplines I mention above. They have helped me meet daily life challenges, keep learning at every stage of the game, stay open and receptive to other people, deal with my fears and grandiosities, maintain a sense of identity, keep to my life path, and contemplate the Universe at large. I offer them to you in the hope that they will provide you with many of the those same benefits.

These meditations are intended to help you gradually, over a long period of time, work deep into your own body. There you will uncover hitherto hidden emotions, behavioral patterns, thought structures, and experiences from the past. As you uncover these things, they will emerge into your conscious awareness where they can be properly analyzed and integrated into your whole life. This frees enormous amounts of information for any uses you like, including the exercise of creativity. The content of this statement can be fully appreciated only after the suggested course of work has accomplished this result. And here is the crux of the matter – this type of meditation is work – indeed, hard work and a life-long process one employs to keep one’s body, emotions, and mind in a state of optimum functionality. It is not a quick-fix. You cannot read through the meditation exercises I will share, do each one once, and hope to gain much. It is not snake-oil—it will not prevent aging, cure cancer or any other organic disease, nor any disturbances of the mind and emotions requiring medical attention, though medical professionals working in the fields of psychology and psychiatry may find some of the exercises useful in their practices. Likewise, physicians may find the exercises promote physical health and certainly enhanced proprioception, kinesthetic awareness, strength, and flexibility.

These exercises are for the average individual free of organic or functional illness. They will progress from the very simple and most basic, to the more complex and deep, and if practiced regularly, may allow you a surprising measure of insight into and control of your body and mind.

I will include several introductory essays before I begin sharing the exercises:
1. Meditation Made Simple. A brief explanation of what I mean when I say the word, “meditation.”
2. Creativity as Lifepath. This is a template for integrating the meditation exercises into your life in a pragmatic way. It is important to realize that this type of meditation will produce changes in you, not just physical ones, but psychological ones as well. This essay discusses transformation on a number of levels, including the fear of change, and is important information to think through before beginning these exercises because, with practice, you may be able to completely alter your inner topography at will.
3. Overview of the Dancemeditation Process itself, and a list of primary practices that will be included in the meditation exercises. See you next time when we will begin.