Nevertheless, most scientists now feel they can say with confidence that some animals process information and express emotions in ways that are accompanied by conscious mental experience. They agree that animals, from rats and mice to parrots and humpback whales, have complex mental capacities; that a few species have attributes once thought to be unique to people, such as the ability to give objects names and use tools; and that a handful of animals—primates, corvids (the crow family) and cetaceans (whales and dolphins)—have something close to what in humans is seen as culture, in that they develop distinctive ways of doing things which are passed down by imitation and example. No animals have all the attributes of human minds; but almost all the attributes of human minds are found in some animal or other.
Free dance is perhaps the best practice for integrating body, mind, heart, spirit, and relationship — basically, all the levels of self can be moved together, and in an enjoyable way. You can practice groundedness — being here in the real moment with your feet on the ground — as well as trust in your spontaneous and unique movement. And of course, when you move the body in new ways your emotions also move and can be digested.
As you start to trust your own movement in free dance, you can even start to embody those demons and learn what they have to teach you. It gives you a safer way to express them and turn them into positive qualities.
Most of us live too much ‘up in our heads’, residing somewhere along the spectrum of mental illness. But when you are in your body, your mind is more simple and direct. That eliminates many problems. Problems come from thinking, especially when one has stuck patterns of thinking, as can develop with both drug use and emotional wounding. A large part of self-help has to do with getting out of the thought loops (whether they’re trains of thought or vague confused states) and into the real moment.
The problem with sitting meditation for some people is that they come in too close contact with their thinking mind, and it controls them. This is why physical practice can be so effective.
Treat your attention like money: Spend it wisely
Don’t postpone happiness.
It’s okay to make plans for when you’re 100, but don’t forget to reach for fulfilment this year, this month, this week, and today. You aren’t just preparing for life; this day and this moment are all you might have.
As the economist Keynes wrote, “In the long run we’re all dead.” Make sure you live before you die.
“What if the purpose of love isn’t getting people into relationships, but out of them?” asked Konner, author of more than a half-dozen books on human nature. Think about it, he urged. Love makes us irrational. And what’s more irrational (in a universe in which there are surely more bad possibilities than good ones) than leaving the safety of an existing relationship?