Monday, April 8, 2013

Something About Bharatanatyam Clears My Mind

Namaste readers! This post has to deal with Indian classical dance, more specifically the portion of it known as Bharatanatyam. I'm posting on this because I had the pleasure recently to attend a Bharatanatyam performance in my local area.

According to those who practice and teach Bharatanatyam, there is a heavy spiritual aspect to the dance. As someone who watches it, and especially as a Westerner trying to embrace Hinduism, I would have to agree. I know there may be issues with that perspective - I've learned that sometimes the societal position with which I gaze at Bharatanatyam performance (or any other cultural aspect of a culture I'm not a part of) can tarnish my perception, and by extension my soul. I can accept that, but I want to emphasize that I genuinely want to appreciate (not covet, there's a huge difference) the beauty of the art form.

I think there's evidence that I can truly appreciate this ancient art: for example, I try to promote such events in local publications when I can, or otherwise help out with these events in ways which I'm capable. A couple of performers I know have appreciated my efforts in that regard, and I am grateful for their appreciation. But my ultimate test comes in terms of my mind and what it comes away with from the performance.

What does my mind take away? It takes away stillness and clarity. I say that because whenever my mind watches this art form, it becomes still, able to observe itself objectively. Does my mind wander when I observe Bharatanatyam performance? Yes, it does...but I'm able to observe this wandering, and for once accept that it happens, not to judge myself for it. After all, thoughts only get power if you let them gain it by focusing on them. As for clarity, this has to do with what I mentioned earlier about trying to promote these events; I feel that by trying to do my best to help these events out, I can look at my mind clearly and accept that yes, I do have a place in this world, somehow. Am I fulfilling this role perfectly? Of course not. But I still work at it, and that's what matters.

I certainly hope that my service genuinely helps Bharatanatyam in my area...because watching it certainly helps me.

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