Dancing with the Stars … Dancing as “Kung Fu”

March 22, 2012 by  


Watching legendary singer Gladys Knight perform her first dance on this season's Dancing with the Stars was genuinely breathtaking to me. Going strictly by calendar years Ms Knight would be categorized as a senior citizen. On the dance floor her movements and joyfulness transformed her into an age-defying diva who caught my attention and held it. With each step, each twirl, she taught Americans a lesson, an object lesson. Ms Knight rode the music with rhythm, grace and soul. Obviously, the power of soul in motion defies the years.

It is an unfortunate practice in the west to assume that as people become older their value as a person, even their allure diminishes or vanishes altogether. In other parts of he world age is synonymous with wisdom and grace, and often, power. Expectations, the power of collective suggestions can produce the effects projected. The saying, "Act your age!" is a suggestion that there are fixed cultural laws that dictate at what age we can or can not perform in certain ways. While to some extent this is good, such as those laws which protect children from themselves and outsiders, others are just arbitrary nuisances. They can serve as a net to pull in and drown the spirit. It is no accident that we have the term, "free-spirit," to refer to a person who will not be trapped by conventions.

A woman told me that she observed her young grandson watching a football game with his father. Excited by the action he hooped and hollered. His father coolly turned to him and said, "if you can't contain yourself, go to another room." If you can not express your emotions, your excitement during a football game, if you have to contain yourself and your feelings at home, when will you ever be free. It is the mission of society to mold and shape us, to whip us into shape until we fit snugly into a type. It should not be our goal to conform. The Authority of this world would have us do so, however. Yet, the spiritual teaching on the matter calls for a completely opposite tack.

Romans 12:2 (KJV) ~ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Although we do not act like it in our daily lives, we are essentially spiritual beings. To realize the highest nature of ourselves we must go beyond the pattern set for us by the minds of this world. Only when our mind is renewed will we be able to break free. As in the movie, The Matrix, people can not see their actual condition with their eyes. Someone free of the trap must inform them. Nothing informs better than a demonstration in real time.

When Gladys Knight, the oldest contestant on Dancing with the Stars, this season danced, she like octogenarian Betty White, who performed during a past season, demonstrated that a person, a single individual, can transcend stereotype and labels to create their own place. Dancing is moving in rhythm to a beat,and in harmony with another person but at its best it is more than that. It is allowing your spirit to synchronize and snycopate with your environment, within amd without, at the same time. When that happens you are dancing with yourself. Dancing, then is the same as Kung Fu, it brings the resources of your being together, so as to maximize your ability to move through the world around, staying in harmony with the nature of self, earth and the universe at large. That "Kung Fu" is far beyond fighting, it is Zen, The Way, it is Nature in its highest sense.

The world is always throwing things in our path, challenges, stresses, the unexpected. If we function from a fixed-mindset, the conformed mind, we will be slow on our feet, not at all quick to adapt and move on. We need to dance. We can do that when the music is always playing. Other people may not hear it but you have to listen for it, reach for it, meditate on that unique music that is beyond sound, "the music of the spheres,", the divine current of melodies that play in your soul. Now that leads to some good dancing.

Tennis great Matina Navratilova on Dancing with the Stars<7p>

It is no wonder that all cultures on the planet have dance. When performed with an uplifted heart and worshipful mind, it links us to our primordial roots. The ABC Network dance show is so popular because somehow people sense the curent beneath the hype. We are touched by the transformation of the individual. The performance of Tennis great Martina Navatilova was wonderful to witness because she went from awkward to feminine grace in a single dance. The legendary king of clumsiness, "Steve Urkel," who is really actor, Jaleel White, proved he was anything but clumsy on the dance floor.

Betty White, a timeless spirit.

We can rise above stereotype and find our own rhythm, if we are willing to dance. The dancing I am referring to is not just dancing on a ballroom floor. You must learn to express your rhythm wherever you are. There will always be guide-lines and frames in which we must work but we have the inward ability to make such our own. Those who are master controllers are standing by to tell you your movements are not legitimate. They may use ridicule to force you to conform. Ask yourself this ...who is the real choreographer of the Universe Dance? Are you really bound to what this person says or that one?

Jaleel White is not Urkel

The interesting thing about Dancing with the Stars is that the stars are not stars of dance. They are beginners with a star halo. Don't be afraid to try a new move in life. Take the risk. Treat it like a dance you do for fun. If we go out to dance and look at the great dancers, we may talk ourselves out of trying. Listen to the music. Meditate on the music. Before you even know it, you will reach for your partner's hand and walk onto the floor. In the ballroom called life, you have to be the star. Dancing is a creative process and so is life. There are themes we must follow to live in relative peace but we can expand upon those themes endlessly. Just as there is no end to the new songs that are written and sung there is no end to the way you can move to the rhythm. The critic may applaud how closely you emulate their model. If you want to soar, make your own dance. I like the way David, The Shepherd Boy who became king approached the subject. He danced before The Lord. His dance was a celebration of our creator. That is genuine "Kung Fu." However you view your own responses to life, don't stop dancing at any age.

Before we leave this subject of dancing, finding your own steps and the rhythm of being for yourself. I offer another video which demonstrates that I do, indeed, practice what I teach, not from a hiding place but on the stages of the world, if I cam called to do so. The art you see me display is a creative dance called Zen Mushin Ryu, arising from the same source that produced the great arts of The East but such a thing is not so easy for most people to accept. The dance must be taken to the floor. In this case, all the judges wear black belts. When you believe in The Power, all things are possible. What a marvelous opportunity to put God, The Spirit, The Choreographer to the test, for His glory, not mine.

Kitabu Roshi in Switzerland, leading a seminar on No-Mind for Aikido practitioners


Kitabu Roshi


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