The idea of ‘motion’ or nomadic life runs deep in our Indian culture. Our rivers travelling endlessly across the vast landscape giving life to the parched lands are personifications of goddesses (symbols of creativity), reincarnations (symbols of state transformations), the timeless whirl of bhikshus and monks wandering for alms (in exchange of advice and wisdom for better living), jhum cultivation obeying the rhythms of nature, clusters and settlements in steady flux of self organizing movements, sadhus (seers) and pilgrims, mobile fairs and haat bazzars (markets), itinerant pilgrims, performers, pastoralists, bards and tellers of myths all embody the notion of ‘motion’ all performing simultaneously on the thin veneer of our ancient but extremely flexible and adaptable ‘culture’.
No wonder South Asia is home to the world’s largest nomadic population always on ‘motion’. Nowhere else is there such a variety of people herded and ceaselessly moving in a self organizing manner giving rise to complex patterns nor can the diversity of peripatetic professions be matched.
Yet in our post modern times the sedimentary have increasingly come to represent the ‘civilized’. The mainstream (the sedentary) stands oblivious to the pull of the wanderers and the scribes and the worlds of the nomads have been circumcised’ to the odd curious enthusiasts. Little wonder, nomads are considered ‘strangers’ where ‘strangers’ in principle are ‘undesirable’ people.
And how does this ‘undesirable’ attitude surface? ‘Indifference’ is the shield used by ‘foreigners’ (the non nomads) when they meet nomads. Insensitive and aloof the foreigner seems deep down beyond the reaches of attacks and rejection that he nevertheless experiences with the vulnerability of a living and tortuous ‘medusa’.
Such a ‘medusa’ painfully brings on an ‘identity’ of ‘being’ something distinct from others with a fixed character of its own. What it fails to realize or let go is that our identity is changed in a nomadic style by the journey we undertake in life where both our ‘subjectivity’ and ‘objectivity’ towards ‘reality’ is recomposed and evolved. What we fail to realize or give up or let go is that in this transformation every step forward is a step backwards too. Without this necessary stepping back I can’t go forward. The migrant (nomad) is here and there too at the same time. The exile from the ‘nomad’ life can be deadening with the lack of ‘stretching’ and ‘folding’, which every movement entails. Such ‘stretching’ and ‘folding’ is nomadic symbolizing ‘movement’ that can be creative. It can also be an affliction but can also be a transfiguration. Whatever it might be it is a vital resource to create the necessary movement from ‘being’ to ‘becoming’.
If that is so what happens to my identity of ‘being’. My ‘being’ existence is actually non-existent. Is my identity not with ‘being’ but ‘becoming’? Do I live always on the edge of a frontier – a place for separation, transition and new articulation of a state that I haven’t seen or enjoyed before? In ‘becoming’ am I relieved of the odd task of constantly creating a boundary and jealously guarding it against attacks or rejection by constantly stepping back to cross or transgress it?
I realize that I am stranger to my ‘becoming’ state. What would happen is not know to me. What I would do as a response is also not known to me. In the state of becoming I change myself physically, mentally and spiritually and nothing is known to me in advance or ever would.
What helps me do that? Obviously the mind which itself is ‘nomadic’. I can use it the way I would like in order to evolve, change, be creative and change the course of my destiny. I know the ‘why’ but I still remain a stranger to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ in any given moment in my movement.
This video link below shows how we integrate our right and left brains in real situations and how such integration leads to ‘becoming’ rather than ‘being’. Though I would always remain a stranger to that ‘becoming’ I refuse to remain a stranger to my present moment that informs my ‘becoming’.
One thing I am sure of. Nomadic life – physically, mentally and spiritually – is usually the most gainful and risk free mode of survival as it allows freedom from the limitations of confined space and time created by the limitations of rational concepts, ideas and notions.
Living the life of a nomad is fun too since I would always remain a stranger to myself. It is a practice I love. Rightfully it is a Design Kata since it helps me to create what I want to. The practice is through meditation where both the right and the left are not only integrated but allowed to come into play simultaneously as a contextual response to real situations.
Would you like to join the fun of moving by being a stranger to yourself in the nomadic way?