Lao Tzu’s wise words ring true. They inspire us to look for something bigger than ourselves, something that society, education, and identity cannot provide: a sustainable connection to the living network.
The living network is not ruled by ones and zeros, or born of wires. It is the original network. It has always been, right here, right now — right before you. Learning how to stay connected to it is important.
Babies are constantly connected to it. Every sight and sound, motion and reaction informs them about who they are, and how they relate to their surroundings. We love to watch babies interact with their environments. We are amazed by their abilities to be in the moment. Their unhindered explorations give us a sense of awe.
Neuroscientists discovered that babies don’t really think. Their pre-frontal cortex is not yet developed, yet they fully experience themselves and their environments. Without a thought, they use their bodies to explore their worlds, absorbing every detail. Their explorations help to form their developing nervous systems.
As adults, our brains have already made sense of the world. We have associated thousands of causes with effects. We have learned which behaviors create certain outcomes. In essence, we have developed our identities, a necessary first step to becoming an adult.
However it is only a first step. Identity alone can create problems. Our identified thoughts and beliefs that once served a purpose become useless over time. Like a broken record taking up the airwaves, old thoughts keep us from hearing new information.
As adults we must take baby steps towards a more holistic understanding, and achieve interdependence.
Interdependence is the integration of our baby ability to be constantly connected to the moment, and our adult ability to make sense of previous experience. Like an expert jazz musician that knows music theory inside and out, yet lets go of thinking while playing, we too can learn how to let go and “let it rip,” using all of our understanding to spontaneously respond to the flow of the moment.
Rhythm has some special powers that can teach us how to develop these abilities. First it calls us, like our heartbeats, to the present moment — pulse after pulse. In order to sense rhythm we must sense ourselves — in the present moment.
Rhythm flows in the same time-space as thought. This means that it is impossible to be lost in an old thought while sensing rhythm. In the time it takes you to think a self-centered thought, you could instead be in rhythm — in rhythm with a drum, or in rhythm with your life as it plays out.
Once you are in rhythm, you are no longer held prisoner by old thoughts. You are free to creatively interact with your environment, while expanding your understanding of it. You gradually develop more spontaneous acting and thinking — and begin to integrate yourself with the living network.
You can recreate yourself. This is what Lao Tzu meant when he said, “I become what I might be.” 2,500 years later, Gerald Hüther, a neuroscientist from the University of Göttingen, writing about the effects of TaKeTiNa, wrote something similar:
“When one loses the ‘self’ and all
that is connected to it, one is
reunited with the authentic self.”
Come experience TaKeTiNa, and become what you might be.