On a Certain Intimacy with Void
© 1977-2012 Antero Alli
No-Form is a term borrowed from Buddhist Zazen meditation. Unlike traditional sitting Zazen meditation, in this paratheatre medium we practice No-Form standing up. Though this technique is taken from traditional sitting ZaZen meditation practice, in paratheatre work it is not practiced for its own sake nor for any attempt at spiritual enlightenment. No-Form is used as a tool for inducing enough internal receptivity to afford a more direct experience of living currents, energies, and forces embedded in the physical body itself and the internal landscape of the energetic body. From this receptivity, we can begin to detect, access, be impressed, and finally moved by the body's innate forces, resistances, and impulses.
OUTER ACTIONS: THE NO-FORM STANCE
We apply this No-Form technique in any standing posture that supports vertical rest, as in, standing with minimal effort or simply, standing at rest. Certain physical adjustments can be made to increase support and balance while standing, such as 1) unlocking the knees 2) widening the stance 3) dropping the pelvis 4) letting the spine drop relaxed and suspended 5) focusing on the exhale and allowing the inhale to come as a reflex and 6) eyes shut or open as a slit to minimize external stimuli.
INNER ACTIONS: INTERNAL ADJUSTMENTS
Once the physical mechanics of one's personal No-Form stance are established, the following internal adjustments can support the inner action of No-Form: 1) withdraw the attention from the external environment and reconnect within 2) relax the desire to control the outcome of the experience 3) relax the desire to control 4) find your anchor or comfort at be nothing and 6) be nothing.
THE CHARGING ACTION OF NO-FORM
From this state of internal receptivity, we can begin to detect and allow the body's innate and autonomous forces to surface and act on us and go under the influence of our own energy. This can occur by allowing the forces themselves to act on us and let these forces determine the direction and outcome of movement, sound, spontaneous gesture. This process requires a sustaining care allowing these internal forces to organically unfold on their own so they can act through us with minimal interference from the conscious mind and ego. This process of receptivity and engagement of forces represents the "charging" function of No-Form in paratheatre.
THE DISCHARGING ACTION OF NO-FORM
The second function of No-Form allows us to discharge whatever forces were engaged by allowing us to release our attachment and identification with them. Here, No-Form acts as a trance-dispersion device. By returning to No-Form after each ritual engagement with energies, we break that trance and restore internal receptivity. No-Form returns our awareness to being nobody but ourselves. Returning to No-Form after each engagement of energies minimizes the delusionary tendencies of ego identification with the psyche's unconscious contents. Once we can relax identification with these internal sources, we can return to being nobody but ourselves. These two functions of No-Form -- to charge and to discharge -- occur by setting apart a time before and after each ritual immersion, in a given source, to stand in No-Form.
PERSISTENCE OF NO-FORM
No-Form remains an ongoing practice for anyone pursuing development in this paratheatre medium. Once access to No-Form is established through the standing position, it can be extended to walking and jogging, as in the 'No-Form walk' and the 'No-Form jog'. First there is encounter with the Void. Then there comes different reactions and resistances to the Void. With persistence, there can emerge a friendlier relationship with the Void until, at some unpredictable juncture, all separation between self and Void dissolves and we are left with an experience of being an expression of the Void itself -- where all forms emerge and are born and return to die to be reborn, in perpetua.
by Antero Alli and others
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