We apprehend the world through our psychophysical organism – our body, with it’s inbuilt five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, and it’s two further psychic senses; our intuition (the “6th sense”) and our Liminal sense, or sense of ‘liminality’.
Sense of Liminality? Yes. By this I mean our ability to navigate consciously within – or during – our sense of self-in-flux. Perhaps often mostly experienced as a state of mind rather than as a “sense”, but in order to describe what I aim to here, I choose to refer to it as such.
Seven senses: Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, Hearing, Intuition, Liminality.
These I find to be the seven senses that make up the Holistic reality of a person. I invite you to work on these basic aspects of your selves. Imagination, not being a “sense” but rather a faculty, plays a fundamental role in the work, and is the connecting sphere of our consciousness, through which the desired result – personal transformation – is possible.
Is that result then a figment of imagination? Yes and no. No, in the sense that the result is real and not imagined. Yes, in the sense that (in the words of Bill Hicks) life is but a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves. At a first glance a statement that might seem more abstract than most – until we bring science, poetry and philosophy into our scope, ultimately coming to a direct, personal understanding of what Shakespeare speaks about in stating, that the world is a stage on which we all play many parts.
Yes the world is a stage and we are merely players. A player is not necessarily an actor – but the tools and skills of an actor is in every way relevant to our presence on this stage of the world. Acting, then, can be approached by different routes and with different aims. We will approach it by the route of Authenticity, the aim; to explore skills and tools of enabling conscious Personal Transformation in everyday life.
I invite you to step in with your full being, alive and ready, all seven senses turned on. And since I assume that you have a familiarity with the first six senses, I will now make the leap directly into that seventh sense of Liminality, describing it more in full.
Liminality is a state-in-between and beyond. We exist there mentally when we dream. In a ritual context, liminality happens during the liminal phase, during which the hidden forces invoked by the priest, schaman, magician, artist or guide, are as yet ‘up in the air’, waiting to land in their new spots of reality as the universe grows more or less intentionally transformed through the post-liminal phase – establishing reality by natural autopoiesis. In the context of linguistics, liminality takes place in the subtle, double-directed shift between the Signifier and the signified – enabling the presence of the absent, by sowing the seed of manifestation in a brief but timeless state of in-between, a seed, which in the same moment appears in the shape of it’s own fruit, still a signified something, albeit the something of the signified transforms.
Liminality- as-sense, is the ability to consciously navigate when in a liminal state of mind. A state of mind, which would not be possible to have, without having Liminality-as-sense, in the first place. The faculty of imagination is necessary to navigate in it – but the state of mind itself, is not imagination, nor is our seventh sense, by which we experience and navigate in this state of mind – this liminal state of reality. Liminality-as-sense, is the seventh sense, with which we ‘make sense’ of the liminal states of mind through which we pass more often, than we might be aware of.
For example: You are in Flow, time moves in slow- motion, you apprehend your actions as if they happened by themselves through you in perfection of timing and meaning. With your sense of Liminality, you are conscious of being in a state of flow, and that it is good for you to understand more of this state of mind, by experiencing it. You are conscious of that you should not disturb this process of just doing the action you do, while just taking in what is happening as you do it, without reflecting on what is going on in itself – and therefore, you are consciously, gently and casually, as if doing it without knowing it, letting go of the thought that this experience of flow has any potential meaning to you – thus continuing to immerse fully with the action-experience. Yet, the momentary observation, was impregnated by intention – the intention to understand and grow – a seed of intention, which will transform into it’s own fruit later, as you land from the flow-experience in it’s post- liminal phase.
Another example: You are in despair, something or some-things are wrecking havoc and chaos upon your situation, in which you feel utterly exposed, without control, and endangered, or sadness is overwhelming you, making you surrender to the gravity of your tears and sighs, letting them have their course through and in you. Yet with your sense-of-liminality, you know that this is a crucial yet fleeting moment in your life-process. As if watching yourself from outside of yourself, yet being utterly alone in being the only one that is you in this world, fully tied inside of the experience of being You with this situation, you are conscious of yourself traveling through this present time, and you do not let go of that inner gaze, which is beyond any feelings of sadness or fear, continuously keeping an eye on your sad, little self, like a silent witness invisibly parenting it’s own human vessel, carefully sorting the impulses coming from the dark, so that you do not lose your mind, after all, how ever much your mind is shaken and shocked, by what it is going through.
Or in the example of working with masks; you are wearing a mask on your face and it shuts down your usual, immediate sense of identity, liberating your body to explore it’s free movement as from another center. The exploration gives breakthroughs and discoveries – or, the exploration is hampered by an inner block, which refuses to let that liberation take hold and expand – in both cases, you are aware of that you are wearing and working with a mask, that you are doing something and not doing something at the same time. With your liminality as sense, you know that you will find the openness in expression that you are looking for, by not looking consciously – therefore, you remain conscious, yet uncontrolled, controlled yet unconscious, as you let the impulses flow and manifest from deep within your unhindered imagination, finding form and expression, as if you were a child playing in it’s own imagined universe.
And so one final example, also with a mask – the mask of your persona, the person that you present yourself in this version or that to be, on any given day. Your clothes and attires add to the expression of your role (equally chosen and given, by and to, the collective to which you respond), and as with the example of you working with a theatrical mask, you are also here in this everyday-setting subject to the same subtle mechanisms. You step into a social interaction and you become subject to it’s laws as they play out themselves in the situation. With your seventh sense, you register by meta-layers what is being said and done, what is being meant, moved, established or changed. Everybody knows – power is a question of ontological transformations – by the power of your mask and costume, you communicate and manifest your intention by it’s own discerned objectivity, being aware of the reality and the un-realness of the situation in which you play your part.
I hope that these examples serves to describe the contours of my notion of our Liminality-as-sense, and that You therefore at this point, have a working image in your mind, of what I mean by the Holistic reality of a person; the seven senses, by which our psychophysical organisms apprehend the world.
Calling Liminality, which would perhaps rather be better described as a state of mind, a “sense”, is a practical approach for the purpose of the work. Tools such as meditation, mindfulness, flow-theory and more, are relevant to it. The ability to navigate within our sense of self-in-flux, has been studied and taught by many schools and traditions since millennia, not the least in our current times, and there are many ways to approach the matter – but let us save that for practical lectures, and instead move on with the purpose and topic of this text, which now, the description of the Holistic point of entry being established with some clarity, can focus more directly on the notion of personal transformation as such.
We transform all through our lives, constantly. With our beginning as beings formally established by science as happening somewhere in the meeting of the egg and the sperm, we transform and transform again moment by moment, with some luck becoming living breathing children, some more luck grown-up humans, with some more luck still, we become old and we whither and one day an ultimate transformation occurs, as we cease to be the breathing, pulsating beings that we for some time were. In fact, everything transforms constantly, some things more visibly, such as the weather or the flowers in the fields, some things, such as rocks and porcelain objects, less visibly but not less so. This is the transformation of the cycle of life, or manifestation – everything has a beginning, a middle and an ending stage.
To work with personal transformation, it certainly helps to study, contemplate and develop an understanding of this cycle, since it is everywhere present and valid, being at the principle core of any material that we could ever hope or imagine ourselves to work with. However, when I suggest to work on Personal Transformation, I do not primarily mean the transformation of the cycle of life – that cycle of transformation, is taken care of by nature herself, since long before and long after our time here.
We do well to develop a deep personal understanding of the principles of that cycle of life, as part of our work with personal transformation, but only in the way that a dancer develops an understanding of the factors of ground, body and gravity, vertical and horizontal – the human being working on personal transformation, can be likened to a dancer, transforming his ability of movement and physical-energetic expression, taking all relevant factors into account, systematically and organically developing skills and traits within and without of his basic material at hand – himself. It follows, that what I speak of, is transformation by intention, transformation by will; will put into action in accordance with the reality of nature within and without of ourselves, guided by our apprehension of the world and our intention to transform within it.
The students will therefore take their starting-points from their dreams and drives about themselves and their lives, and work with these in a combination of tools and perspectives from physical theater, mask-work and immersive performance art, all against a backdrop of specific esoteric techniques. They will develop and deepen their acting-skills and psychophysical abilities, and their understanding on a philosophical plane, of their own presence in this world. The aim is for the student to formulate and manifest a personal version of the equation, from which I combine my lectures, in order to effect a shift in the journey through life, by which short- and long-term transformations begin to occur according to the personal urge to live and grow heartfully, vibrantly, with a living and clear understanding of one´s own creative abilities, as they exist and communicate their specific patterns in the cracks and in-betweens of everyday life.
To write these lines, I find perspectives from mainly Finn Hesselager (mask master), Gunnar Olsson (arkographer) and from my own explorations in countless situations within and without of the settings of Art, Esoterica and manifested Poetry as life, useful. It is my pleasure to invite you to learn how to work with these principles on yourself in your own life, within and without of these same settings. You are Welcome.