Vitae vagus est, or, the way of the trickster

hare i flykt
A leaping hare drawn by dead branches. Motion can be in the apparent still also

Life is, indeed, unpredictable. But another meaning of ‘vagus’ is to wander, or be in motion, without a particular goal in mind. Moving of the sake of movement.

Over the past months, a vast number of people have been moving differently than expected. It may be because of travel restrictions, or quarantine, or due to illness. People have been bed ridden and house bound and during this time, how we move has been brought to attention either explicit or implicit.

When you are in motion, you create a pattern. This is obvious in dance, but it’s also true for the motions of daily life.

When you move in the same manner, around the same objects, the pattern is deepened, fixated. Eventually it will become part of your mind and of your body, in the form of muscles and nerves.

Monty Python's Flying Circus
Sometimes silly walks are not silly at all

To fixate and carve out a pattern can be a good thing, a strengthening thing, or it can dig you down in a hole. Repeating a pattern of something you want to enforce, a habit, a spell, a wood carving, can create something beautiful. But at some point, you have to stop repeating the pattern, or it will become a trap, and destroy what you set out to create.

For all our activity, most in western society live very monotonous lives. Motions are carried out in the same manner, in the same patterns, in the same frame of mind, even when you attempt to be ‘mindful’. For it is not the mind that moves the body, but the body that moves the mind.

To move is to change. We have been brought up to consider only the power of the mind, and that changes are made by making your mind up. But I will argue that without a change in how we move, no change is really made.

Moving in a new environment, even a new apartment, creates a from of change. This can be exhausting, and it is wonder most people feel a relief when they come home to their familiar surroundings, where they can make their coffee and bathe without giving a second thought to the physical part of preforming these tasks, because everything you need is placed where you know it will be and your body will remember how to move in these rooms. This is comfortable, for many even needed in order to rest and recharge.

But to stay in such an environment, where everything is familiar and nothing challenges your sense of motion, will also make you deteriorate over time.

While the way of the Trickster is often associated with humor, or practical jokes, at the heart of is is motion and the unpredictable. While the unpredictable certainly can make people laugh, in surprise or relief, it might as well disturb, shock, or make people feel strange.

The way of the Trickster is to be in the constant between- state, to look in all directions and choose none yet always keep moving. It is the living paradox.

And it is in the unpredictable that we find the deepest truths. And by doing something unpredictable, you might find out a lot more about yourself than any amount of pondering or meditation will show you.

It doesn’t take much

It’s just a jump to the left…

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