Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If Einstein had danced tango

Part 2  of "The Theory of Relativity and Tango."

If Einstein had only known about tango, perhaps he would value it as much as a particle accelerator to study the origins of the universe and his Theory of Relativity.  You see, he valued creativity, saying:

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed."

Although Einstein focused on physical reality, he venerated experiential reality as well.  When an hour of dancing leads you to feel as if time stopped or time sped up, please take note.  Why!  Why did this happen?  Which do you prefer? Can you alter outcomes?

Under the microscope of a meditative mind, time shows its plasticity both in quantum physics and metaphysics.  One would think that the plasticity of time should inspire some scientific exploration into slowing it down.*

If not scientists, then dancers must do it!

This has become my new goal in tango:  Find where time slows down even if the dance is a milonga or a fast tango.  Many dancers are experiencing time slowing, but the negative frame of "time goes fast when you are having fun" may hide the phenomenon from many tanguer@s.  Here are things to look for.
  • A sense of being so fully in the moment that time seems to stop or feel as if it is in slow motion.
  • The feeling as if the music led everything that happened and both responded in an equal way.
  • A blurring of anyone else in the room and only one's partner is there.
  • The intensity of information transfer, as if one knows about one's partners life, their day, their triumphs and struggles--  all through the walking embrace.
  • A sense that through movement/music/embrace the brain is organizing information clutter, allowing the information overflow to be managed in nice folders.  (When this happens at a deeper level with trauma or critical stress events, it will feel as if centuries have passed in a single tanda.)
Steps for Slowing Down Time
Other than going at the speed of light for a period of time which also slows time
  • Meditate in the walking embrace regularly. Imagine that you and others are sharing a walking-meditation Zen labyrinth.  Other couples are an active part of an amazing, moving, biological maze.  Dance simply, meditatively.
  • Practice mindfulness while in the walking embrace.  Mindfulness is being fully present with your partner and within yourself.  Watching the mirror, noticing who just came in the door, or who will be your next partner are distractions that too often take us out of mindfulness. Talking-while-dancing evaporates mindfulness.  Dancing in silence is a basic tenant of Argentine tango etiquette for a good reason.  Tango is a walking -- not a talking -- meditation for two while others are silent!  However, the most disruptive moment to mindfulness may be concerned with how we might look to others who might be watching.  This takes discipline and is not easy for most of us. 
  • Find freedom from an outside locus of control.  Performance anxiety intrudes in on one's sense of timelessness.  Chan Park, in his book Tango Zen  suggests simplicity in our dance, which he calls, a "walking meditation for two."  Great book. Simplicity needs to be an agreement of what you are doing.  Many dancers feel they need to take their partner on an exciting ride.  And although this is something that is fun, it is also a trap if we do it all the time. Conversely, some dancers wait "fun ride" by believing that a great dance all happened only "because you led it."  Both of these points of view are about the "locus of control" for one's experience being outside of oneself.  (Please read the article "The End of Leading is Near," for a fuller description of both partners being active in their very different roles.)  The balance of dance roles disassembles the misconception of locus of control resides in one dancer and not at all or less in the other.
I wish you many centuries on the dance floor during your next milonga.

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Photo Credit:
The photo comes from the Huffington's Post on Einstein's view of spirituality.  I recommend this short and profound article.


  1. You may be interested in a related article I wrote a few years back. It ends up where you have started, with time slowing down.



    El escritor

  2. @ Hola Escritor... ¡Me gustó mucho tu artículo! That is really so funny. I recommend the link to my readers. For those who read the article, be sure to go to the last paragraph, which touches on timelessness.


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