I visited my friend Jacob in Oxford this weekend. One thing about him that really inspires me is that he maintains a meditative way of being no matter what the outside world throws at him.
We did tai chi together in the New Hall courtyard Sunday and Monday morning. At first he gave instructions on what to do, and I followed. (Line up the circles of your palms. Bring your hands to eye level and imagine you’re holding a wheel. Imagine there’s a beam of light going between your palms. Imagine that they are one unit. Let bad thoughts roll off your mind like water off a duck.)
At the end he said, “Now you’re the tai chi master. Tell me what to do,” and waited.
And I did.
Reflecting on this gives me an insight to the question: do you allow creative interactions between people? How do you teach people a creative art?
What did Jacob do?
- First, he set an example–established a set of actions and vocabulary to draw upon.
- Then, he set up a context of patient expectation where I had to continue, where I “can’t negate,” and just have to run with it.
- He stays silent and lets me be the leader, completely and without judging, so that I feel free to experiment.