Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Art of Effortless Living - Ingrid Bacci, Ph.D.

A Personal Development Interlude

I have just read 3 chapters of Ingrid Bacci’s wonderful book The Art of Effortless Living. As I type I’m aware of the wonderful power of the imagination – of what’s termed visualisation.    Points that stick in my mind are – the need to practise receptivity to the world around us by being awake and aware and open to experiencing it in all its wonders which are literally under our noses, to use a rather stupid cliché.  Smell the grass if you have no roses.  Breathe in the air and really experience it.    As she says, and I agree wholeheartedly with her, “receptivity is about letting go of planning and forcing, allowing ourselves instead to be guided.” (251).   I’ve always loved the phrase “to go with the flow.”  This captures for me the miracle of life.  There’s nothing passive in this approach to life at all.  It’s about letting your energy go in the direction of the energy of life or of circumstances at that particular juncture.  I’m reminded of what my friend the judo teacher, Alan Martin, says about judo that it’s about using your energy wisely, by using your energy in tune or in synch with that of your opponent and in so doing being able to stop him hurting you, or stopping him or her in their tracks in a rather creative rather than destructive fashion.

Another thing Dr Bacci recommends is the cultivation of the practice of being alone.  This is one I’ve been cultivating myself for years and I wholeheartedly agree with her.  Silence for me is very creative and empowering experience.  My best creative works spring from its fertile soil.

I also learnt from this wonderful book that at base the word “emotion” comes from a root meaning the movement of energy.  I found this a wonderfully liberating definition.  Grief needs to express itself through the movement of huge energy pent up within – hence crying, wailing, lamenting, allowing that pent up energy to flow constructively away.  Likewise with anger, joy, sadness, loneliness etc.  The worst experiences we live through are all caused by blocked emotions, i.e., blocked energies which end up crippling our bodies.  Even disappointment and all the frustrations we feel on a daily basis eat up much needless personal energy.  Doing something imaginative and relaxing can use such energy more creatively.

I loved her take on what she terms “the illusion of control.”  This is the way she puts it: “Most of us would rather stay in the illusion even if that makes our lives harder.  We’d rather pretend that if we just can keep on deciding how things are going to go, then life will turn out better.  But control is an illusion.  It’s when we try to control the outcomes of our relationships that we find frustration and disappointment, when we try to control our bodies that we get sick, when we try to control over nations that we end up in wars that destroy us all.” (263)

I also was quite taken with her description of passion: “Real passion is about being swept away by our own inner vision.” (267)
I loved the title of a book she quotes: Wherever You Go There You Are. (by John Kabat-Zinn)  (274)
Then she asks her readers to tell who their role models are.
Almost effortlessly the flowers bloom on the whitethorn tree. i took this picture in Newbridge House some weeks ago.

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