embodied earth connection

Insights attained through re-animated perception (Bai, 2009), were most often acquired through the movement of my hands and body, then combined with my own and other human insights, to enable the making of new (and often previously unthinkable, for me) meanings.

One of the tricks to listening and gaining insights through the body is that it needs to be in good working order for knowing to be able to flow through it.... And in academia (and often in schools), we are trained to ignore the needs, impulses, or often the very existence of the body (hooks, 1994). Moments of re-animated perception also require the silencing of habitual thought construction (Bai, 2003, 2009; Payne, 2005a; Richardson, 2002b) – a process that can be difficult for those who live in a culture that privileges the discursive rational mind, or intellect, as its primary site of knowledge production.

Artist Lisa Lipsett (2001) refers to this sense of reanimated perception as embodied and "artful earth connection" (p. iii), which she achieves primarily through spontaneous painting – a way of painting that can be described as "a slow moving, reciprocal, sensory dance with the more-than-human world" (p. iii). Many of the methods described in the rest of this section are manifestations of this "earth connection" which I later came to describe as an ontological positioning of spiritual animism, and now, as I finish this work, think about as a connection not only to plants, animals and other non-human persons, but also to what in Sanskrit, is referred to as Akasha, and quantum physicists are calling the cosmic plenum (Laszlo, 2008). This is a field that pervades the universe, is difficult to detect with one's 'normal' senses, but which can be accessed through spiritual practice.