Ready for another week of tango? Or shall I say, ready for some creative walking meditation? Check out the article and/or the post below by a long time milonguero friend, with enough hours on the dance floor to have perfected not only his walk, but his talk as well.
Classes this week are on normal schedule Tues, Wed, Thursday. Hope LOTS of you can make it, and get tuned up for TangoLife Milonga on Sunday. The Suits and Slinkys theme was a topic of conversation at La Garua Milonga in Seattle on Sunday, so if you choose to go that route, you will have good, stylish company!
Posted by milonguero Greg McD’Arienzo
On Facebook, Feb 28, 2016:
As a long-time practitioner of meditation and more recently of Argentine tango, the positive effects on mood reported here comport with my experience. I find tango to be the more powerful of the two. While silent sitting meditation is good, it misses dimensions that tango vibrantly impacts: dynamic embodiment, plus social & emotional engagement. The two are certainly complementary, but for those who haven’t danced tango yet, I must say that sitting on a cushion and tracking one’s breath cannot possibly rival the wondrous feeling of tenderly hugging another living breathing feeling sentient being while moving in synchrony and harmony with beautiful music. I met an old Shambhalian at a tango event last year who gave me her opinion that tango offers in actuality all that Vajrayana practice offers as visualization. Fascinating. Caveat: I don’t think dancing tango is sufficient to make you a Buddha. Tango is just an embodiment/engagement practice, and as such can only provide its mojo within a context of one’s extra-tango focus, intention, and motivation.
The Zen and Tibetan Buddhist traditions practice meditation with eyes open, or at least half-open, though cast downward. I nearly always meditate with eyes open, however my focus is strongly internal, so that don’t attend to details in my visual field. To the extent I have any attention on the visual, it is more of a panoramic awareness. Methinks mindfulness is entirely adaptable to any circumstance though. A succinct definition of mindfulness is “paying close attention to the details of our present-moment experience”. That somehow feels easier in a more controlled environment when our course is more clearly determined. While dancing, I find great variation in the degree of comfort-in and control-over the environment, conditioned on connection with partner and ronda, and familiarity with music. Also consider the divergent responsibilities of the lead/follow roles, though those differences fade as we move toward a more egalitarian co-created approach to dance. During partner search via mirdada/cabeceo, there is also considerable variation in my feeling of comfort & control, depending on the degree of mutual familiarity, comfort and esteem with the potential partners at the milonga. All that said, I think mindfulness practice can only enhance one’s experience anywhere and any time, regardless of circumstance. In fact, many Buddhist authors counsel us to employ it especially in our most difficult moments. Mindful mirada/cabeceo meditation? Absolutely possible, and highly recommended!