The strange dialectic of the ego is that it manifests from the desire to BE a persona that has an individual impact on others, while, its manifestation necessarily defeats its purpose. The persona that the human self dreams of crafting is something like the Hollywood he-man hero.While choreographing a Bollywood dance number I had this eureka-ish idea :)
I was interacting with a group of dance enthusiasts, and each member in the group was pretty sure that he is the next Hrithik Roshan or Prabhu Deva or Michael Jackson, if nothing else. It was interesting to observe how one claimed to do the "moonwalk" with élan and when requested to show a glimpse of his talent kept complaining about his ill health !!! I suppose, he firmly believed that he could do a better job if he was not feeling a little shivery. Another was a dedicated student who desired nothing but the appreciation of the teacher in presence. There was this other guy who, I guess, believed that he was a great dancer (I don't know if his train of female admirers invested this confidence, but I have a strong positive instinct working in favour of this logic) and hence needn't really practice much. And then there was this guy from the hills who was the epitomic heart throb of any party with his childish enthusiasm, sweet voice and a passion for dance. With regards to this last variety of the dance enthusiast, I feel like sharing a couple of notes.
In him, I saw a partial resolution of the dialectic of the human ego. He desired appreciation ,but not without investing labour; he vyed for the central position in a group, but, never allowed his attempts to cloud another member; he wanted neatness and perfection in his performance and was ready to accept positive criticism for it. Though I was visiting them as a choreographer, and they had accepted me as their tutor with respect, while observing these budding individuals, with the natural gift of imperfection, I gained a new skill. While the others helped me realise my shortcomings, this young man actually helped me understand the potential that I contain in me to unlearn my learningsand learn anew. What did I learn is a pertinent question for you to ask. But the answer is as intangible as the sense of contentment that arises after this voluntary exercise of choregraphing. Not only did I teach them a couple of moves that are akin to the dance of Punjab (called Bhangra), they taught me in turn what the sages have said: look not without, but within. Each of these young men put forward an essence that I could identify with. Standing from the safe objective distance of being a "guest" teacher, I could analyse their attitudes. And even before I could realise, I had analysed a whole cupboard-full-of-'me's!!!! I had kept this cupboard bolted for a very long time (even twenty-something year olds feel time to be a vast expanse dear you-s!). I needed to unlock and clear the clutter that had been the self that I would like to believe is me. To those young hearts who put up a mirror to me, a humble bow with Bhangra-ish flamboyance: Hadippa! tinak-tin-dhaa!!! :)
p.s. the above picture is clicked on way to Havelock in Andaman Islands by either me or my hubby Arijit