Labor of May


The Moving Function

Of our three bodies, the physical body seems, at first glance, the easiest to observe. Its movements and postures are physical, and therefore, traceable. If I take a step forward, it is my physical body that coordinates this action; if I move an object from one place to another, it is my physical body that accomplishes this task. But along with this capacity for movement, there are many subtle nuances also rooted in our physical body that deeply influence our psychology and will be the focus of our May and June labors.

When we presented the physical body in February, we mentioned that its function was movement. However, to observe its more subtle nuances, we must further divide the manifestations of our physical body into two: a moving function and an instinctive function. The first is responsible for the body’s capacity for movement, the second for maintaining its well-being.  Neither of these two functions is exclusively physical; they influence our entire psychology. The labor of May will span the moving function; that of June, the instinctive function.

The moving function in the physical body enables us to walk, type, dance, play sports, and perform a wide range of external motions. It also grants us the ability to imitate and automate complex actions, such as riding a bicycle or driving a car, which at first require our concentrated attention, but through repetition become automatic. This ability of automation calls for deeper examination, because it permeates the other functions and enables their fluidity. For example, the moving function enables the intellectual function to connect words and meaning seamlessly and master the ability to speak.  It enables the emotional function to match reactions to stimuli and gives it the ability to respond with ease to social customs and expectations. In effect, our moving function operates like a rolling wheel that enables fluidity not only for itself, but also for the other functions.

This rotational nature correlates our moving function with time, because time is also rotational; it is determined by the rotation of physical orbs—the rotation of the earth around its own axis marking a day, the waxing and waning of the moon marking a month, the earth’s orbit around the sun marking a year. In fact, it can be said that our moving center is under the law of time, although the full implications of this claim may require a more lengthy explanation. Our moving function is influenced by physical time the way a tiny cog is forced into rotation by adjacent,  massive mechanical wheels. It cannot resist time; it ‘believes’ time and correlates time with progression and accomplishment. The task at hand is always a means to an end, a ‘now’ pointing to a ‘later’. But being relegated to perpetual rotation, when ‘later’ eventually comes around, our moving function cannot but perceive it as a new ‘now’ to be sacrificed for an even later ‘later’. As a result, through the influence of our moving function over our psychology, we are prone to falling into repetitive mechanical momentums: continually daydreaming random scenarios, continually replaying interactions with others, continually humming randomly recalled tunes, and many more such repetitive sequences that color our internal landscape against our will.

That these automations are powered by momentum, rather than our own will, is simple to verify, provided we are sincere with ourselves: they do not stop when we want them to. It follows that any conscious effort to jam the wheels of our psychological automations will help us observe our moving function.

An effective area in which to apply this is our habitual usage of the cell phone. When the fluidity of our moving center is impeded—as happens, for example, when we are forced to wait in line, in traffic, or in an elevator—our moving function seeks alternative ways to perpetuate movement, and will often revert to checking our phone unnecessarily. Therefore, a good exercise for interrupting automation is the discipline of checking our phone only when seated. Any time we must use our phone, we find the nearest place to sit down , and only then pull it out.

This type of exercise reveals the influence of our moving function over our psychology. It also represents a meaningful step towards establishing inner government. In spreading automation indiscriminately, our moving function tyrannizes, as it were, the other functions into subordination. By restricting its influence over the other functions, we force it back to its rightful place.

The farmer who labors in this way has begun clearing the land from the invasive weed of unnecessary movement and has fulfilled the obligations for May.





The Instinctive Function