Main | Initiations - End of Lab :: Personal Notes // part 2 »

Initiations - End of Lab :: Personal Notes // part 1

Antero Alli's paratheatrical lab, "Initiations", is now over (last session: Tuesday January 20th, 2004).
As a participant in the lab, I decided to start blogging all the various thoughts, notes and impressions relating to and generated by it. Hopefully, at the very least, it will be a way for me to process the experience and extract some directions for future and further work.

The rest of you are more than welcome to stick around, read and comment in any way.
That's why it's all on the web!

By the way, if you are indeed reading this and it sounds in any way interesting, but don't know what paratheatrical work even is, you might want to familiarize yourself with it. Antero Alli has posted some extensive excerpts from his book on the subject, Toward an Archeology of the Soul, on his website Paratheatrical ReSearch.
There is also a wealth of other information there, and many pointers to what paratheatrical work is all about.

Basically, Alli has developed - in the course of about 26 years - a system of ritual work; a ritual technology to be more precise. It is a sequence of objectives that a human machine can set for itself, and reach according to its unique style, fashioning its own results out of whatever personal psychic/emotional material is actually there.

It all begins by getting into the body.

A space is ready and waiting for the bodies to enter it. My body enters the space, but before I can experience anything directly, I will need to enter my body. Finding my own process to enter body-time is the first ordeal. Consciousness is scattered at the four corners of the imaginary universe which makes up the mind's domain and playground. Therefore, efforts must be made to find ways of moving that help consciousness anchor itself steadily to the body, and merge with it.

How to do that? No instruction is provided, which means there is no way to satisfy one's eventual urge to do the "right thing" as indicated by an outside authority figure, such as the lab facilitator. And there is absolutely no way to "go through the motions". There are no "motions", only the movements I can come up with in order to fulfill the objective. Success is my only proof and only I can validate my own experience. This forces me to stick to a certain form of inner honesty: I must be responsible for my own creative states.

Once body-time is entered, a certain kind of awakening becomes the active state: I realize that if my attention is absorbed by the task of sorting through the contents of the mind, I am not really in the space, because I am not in the body. In body-time, on the other hand, I am really here, and there is no way to ignore what's happening; I must participate. After a brief period of adaptation, this becomes interesting, then enjoyable: the increased level of perceptual detail is (at first) a "high" of sorts. Soon, the reverberations of discomfort wear off, like the friction that a body in outer space encounters when penetrating a breathable atmosphere.

Antero's instructions, when first introducting this way of being present in the space, have been to relate to the space as a value in itself. This means that, as I enter the space while intensely present inside my own body, I must find ways of moving that express my relationship with the space itself. Not with the other people in the space, not with objects in the space or even parts of the space. Just with the space itself. So I move inside of the ritual area, and as much as possible I allow my body to freely express whatever relationship it is experiencing with the empty space around it.

Occasionally, I feel a mild urge to look at the other people moving around me or otherwise interact with them, an urge to somehow be social. I know that I am under no obligation to surrender to such an impulse in this space. The purpose and intent of this space is asocial in nature, which is part of the reason why we start each session by relating to the space in and for itself, and not (necessarily) to the bodies or objects inside it.

Later, in the course of the lab, we will reach ways of interacting with each other, while at the same time remaining true to our personal connection to vertical sources: those "invisible sources of energy innate to soul, ancestral karma, dreambody, archetypes, planetary consciousness", in the words of Antero Alli.

[end of part 1 // go to: part 2]