The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, July 24, 2006


“Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.  All dualities come from ignorant inference…”

This is a fragment of the verses Tim is having me memorize for the Friday morning class.  The resolution of dualities is one of the doorways to wisdom.  This is hard.  It is so difficult to look past male/female, black/white, left/right.  Most human beings cannot hold two competing ideas simultaneously in their minds.

At the Hurston Wright workshop, I concentrated on plot and characterization, and the way they interact to create theme.  Ultimately, plot is character, and character is plot.

But I also wanted them to erase the perceived separation between their art and their lives.  By using the Hero’s Journey not only to plot books but to understand the process of conducting their career, I was able to give them a glimpse of this higher, more complex reality.

The Path workshop takes this further: by concentrating on the smallest cycle of the Journey that can be voluntarily influenced: a single breath.  The road to understanding how a single breath relates to the Journey is found in the meta-cycle of say, 14-20 minutes of rhythmic endurance exercise (in the workshop, we use Flowfit for this).  The phenomenon of “Second Wind” contains all the elements of the Hero’s Journey: commitment to the path, girding our psychological loins, encountering deep resistance, pushing through with Faith, victory through blissful embrace of challenge.

To understand this is to grasp a secret every culture has known.  Most of the citizens of those cultures have been entirely ignorant of the potential of these patterns, the power of such daily cleansing.

I strongly encourage you to find some healthful physical discipline which will help you to explore this aspect of our brains.  Walking, running, dancing, rowing, striding, swimming…there are many, many rhythmic endurance activities that open this neurological doorway.  Embrace one.  The rewards are entirely disproportunate to the effort.


Unknown said...

I enjoy your blogs. Thank you :)


Viagra Online said...

duality, what a interesting word, but what is the true meaning of this word, is all made it by two polarities, two opposite sides, black and white, heat and cold?