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why do we...?

edited June 2005 in Buddhism Today
OK. In the spirit of the musical tastes thread.

Why do we dance? We can explain all kinds of human actions and reactions all the way back to the reptilian cortex. But dancing? I once read a Sufi story about God, the soul and the body. It says that God wanted the soul to enter the body and give it life. But the soul said "why should I trap myself in that mortal bag of skin? I am free." so God explained to the soul that the only way it could dance was in a body. When the soul heard the music it raced into the body...etc etc...
So I am not saying this is the way it happened. Just pointing to other religions and philosophies trying to answer the question. As I said in the musical taste thread we feel music in other places (thank goodness) than our mind. What has your gut got to do with it? Why do you want to tap your foot, dance, wriggle around what ever you do? I’ve heard arguments saying it’s a"mating thing" but I don't buy that. What is it about the beat of a drum?
As a musician it appeals to me greatly because I actually play my best when the mind gets out of the way. Just letting it flow as it were. Flowing from the cosmic pool? lol I don't know but the music moves better without the mind for me. Playing OR listening.

^gassho^

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited June 2005
    I can only speculate as to the origins of dancing, but all I know is that when I dance, it's my physical way of expressing joy.... The delight of having a body as transport, that can jump, skip, twist and shimmy is just such fun- !! I was dancing away to T Rex's "I love to boogie" (anyone who has seen 'Billy Elliott' Will know what I mean!) and my B/F was standing in the doorway, arms crossed, grinning frome ear to ear... He readily admits that he has as much rhythm as a table with three legs, but he said that he dances through me.... he thinks I'm weird.... he's right.... I don't care.... must go..... "La bamba" has just come on the radio.... watch me now!!
  • edited June 2005
    I'm with fed on this one. I think dancing is a way of expressing joy. You hear a good tune and you just want to move and be happy.

    I say there is a lot of meaning behind music, not just the actual tune but the lyrics. If you hear a song that had a meaningful explanation behind it, and really reaches out to you, its almost natural to react to it.
  • edited June 2005
    I agree with Fed and Anita; I love to dance because it is a way of expressing my emotions. I hear a certain song that I absolutely love and all of a sudden, I am just dancing away! I feel so much better and it is great exercise! LOL!

    Adiana :lol: :lol:
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2005
    IMHO, there are some states of being that can only be expressed in dance.
  • edited June 2005
    Ahh thank you all, but what about the what? what is it in you? Is it mind? Is it something beyond that?
    sorry I know I think to much, but sitting long hours of meditation frees my mind up from the rattle rattle hum of the conditioned mind. freeing me to think more deeply about "other" stuff. lol
    thanks for playing along! :bigclap:

    ^gassho^
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2005
    Ahh thank you all, but what about the what? what is it in you? Is it mind? Is it something beyond that?
    sorry I know I think to much, but sitting long hours of meditation frees my mind up from the rattle rattle hum of the conditioned mind. freeing me to think more deeply about "other" stuff. lol
    thanks for playing along! :bigclap:

    ^gassho^


    At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
    Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
    But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
    Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
    Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
    There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.


    Eliot says it all.
  • edited June 2005
    i think the what and why or whatever of dancing comes from pleasure and expression... i think its the same reason why people started painting or writing music... dancing can be used for several things, mainly for romance, for fun, or for the release of energy... some animals dance as a display to attract mates and stuff but i guess humans are the only animals that dance for fun as well... then again we are the only animals that write music and paint too :P i think it comes down to expression... as for the 'why do we feel like dancing when we hear that good beat and rhythm?' i know music has the power to alter our emotions and thoughts... maybe we just wanna express ourselves when we hear a certian song that brings on certian emotions
  • edited June 2005
    I feel that there is a physical self and a spiritual self. Although I find the word "spiritual" to be a profanity in this day and age it is the only signpost leading most of us to look in the same direction. We appreciate beauty. This is beyond mind. No education is needed to appreciate a flower. The knowledge we acquire/have forced upon us does not improve our emotional (pure) response to these things. It is similar to analyzing a joke, just not funny anymore. We can gain appreciation of beauty by gaining knowledge about how it is enacted e.g. learn to play the violin to appreiciate the orchestra more deeply. Unfortunately we have now included the mind in our dance with beauty. Now we say, "that’s not how "I" would have played that" or " tsk tsk, he played a wrong note". Now where is that pure emotion? Buried. Trapped beneath judgment and comparison.

    My wish for all of us: May we find the pure root of our attraction to beauty so we may dance, sing, paint, laugh, love and ALL things like no one is looking, in front of the whole world! :cheer:

    Have a wonderful moment.

    ^gassho^
  • _BeautifulSpringtime_BeautifulSpringtime Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2005
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  • edited June 2005
    I've wondered about this subject a lot in my own life and path, so I'm glad you brought it up, Wolfscalissi.

    As a college student with a theatre major and a music minor, I've found that both art forms are, as has been said, a form of expression. I've reasoned with the thought that I as a person need to be creative; not necessarily to live, but to learn and grow. I read a book by Julia Cameron a few years back titled The Artist's Way, and quite honestly it changed (and saved, maybe?) my life. She takes basic Buddhist principles, adapts them slightly, and showcases them to a very Christian America...brillant. My mother read it, didn't recognize any of the Buddhist anythings, but I see a completely different (read: Buddhist) picture.

    Where I'm going with this is that The Artist's Way argues that we are beings who are MEANT to be creative and expressive and that if we aren't, then we're not fully living. I agree; there are things that I need to do in my physical self that allows my spiritual self to play around and grow. I want to have fun in my life because otherwise I'd be miserable, and physical fun isn't as long-lasting or effective.

    But wait! I'm not an actress! (That's probably a good thing :-P) I like to sit backstage and not be seen but I know that if I weren't there the show wouldn't function properly. Or I like to sit behind the sound console and wiggle knobs and play with faders. A lot of what I do is knowledge-based, active thinking, constantly alert...the form of expression created through acting is instead transformed into a knowledge base of equalizers and channel numbers. Some could argue that the expression is lost in a well of numbers....I disagree. Mixing a show behind the audio console is very revitalizing for me; it is a play-time where I can express myself like nobody else there.

    So why do we dance? Why wouldn't we dance?

    Hope this helps...

    Jules
  • edited June 2005
    Great thread, Wolf. I love analyzing these things and relating them to the human animal's survival instinct and/or reproduction instinct.
    It seems logical to me that many of our behaviors and preferences are leftover from some ancient need.
    I know you already said you don't buy the mating theory but it seems the most logical to me. So much dancing seems to simulate sexual movement. Men tend to find women dancing to be a huge turn-on. I've heard numerous girls say they equate a man's ability to dance with his sexual ability.
    Logical analysis tells me that the only instinct stronger than the need to reproduce is the need to survive...and I think reproduction is a real close second at that.
    If dance clubs were segregated to only-men or only-women, don't you think they would be pretty empty? The sexual tension in some of those places is palpable.
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