Sunday, September 24, 2006

Step two…A friend of mine, Albert, calls the material we engage through the hands, “the working surface”. This is a good concept because it notes that the surfaces we touch through the sensing of the hands, are also shaped by our touch, and possibly refined and made better though our conscious engagement and attention. Albert is a pizza maker, and applies his attention through his hands in the making of dough.

Is dough made with conscious application of mindfulness better than dough made mindlessly and without human care? There are many who would argue on opposing sides of the issue, with some probably believing that the mechanical processing would give more predictable results. Even the hands can be trained to do things mindlessly and without care or attention and get satisfactory results and there are millions of people who prefer squishy white bread. But here we are talking about art, the role of the hands in learning, and the restoration of greater meaning in human life. Greater meaning comes through the application of human attention.

As mentioned yesterday the"homunculus" diagrams illustrate both sensing and motor functions of the hand’s activities in the brain. In fact the hands are the only sensing instruments that also act creatively in human life. In most cases they perform both functions in a trained but unconscious state.

So step two is very much like step one. Restore your attention to the movements of your hands. When you pick up a pencil, pay attention to your grip, and then also pay attention to its movement across the page. When you wash dishes, take childish delight in the warmth of the water and then pay attention to the movement of your hands through it and over the surface of the plates, forks and knives. When you drive the car, consciously lay your fingers onto the wheel and make each movement one of connection and conscious intent. You will reclaim your hands from their unconscious state and liberate your creative consciousness from patterns of destructive thought.

Tomorrow, step three.

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