Our wide-ranging physical practice is structured in different ways. One way is the structuring in the two following categories:
1. The changing of oneself and
2. The changing of others or other things.
As examples, I'll use woodwork and strength training.
The training of the attribute strength is popular these days and appears in different forms in our practice. For me, strength training is mainly interesting when it comes to inexperienced participants. I would instead focus on other elements for people who have already trained strength for years. Strength training can have a massive effect on people through two factors:
A) The increase in strength.
B) The changing of the physis through strength training.
Both can positively impact the world experience for the person performing the training.
Let's first look at A) the increase of strength:
He who trains strength will notice changes in several factors:
- The sensation of being strong comes through by making everyday moments of strength easier to overcome.
- The feeling of being strong comes through as one will perceive the body differently through strength training and will be aware of the possibility of generating tension.
- The sensation of being strong comes through as strength training makes movements, that were not possible before, possible.
- Furthermore, numbers-based strength training makes it clear, black on white: change is taking place; we are becoming stronger. We can perform more sets and reps or move more weight.
Further to B) The changing of the Physis through strength training:
In many cases, strength training brings with it muscle growth or more definition of the body through loss of fat. This is not always the case, depending on the starting point and the form of training, but it's highly likely in inexperienced beginners. This visible physical change sends the trainee the same message as the awareness of the increase in strength does:
I can change myself!
This powerful knowledge is one half of a positive experience of the world. I am not permanently set, I am changing, and I'm not simply being changed, but rather I can actively change myself.
Training elements such as endurance-, strength and mobility training fall into this category, but disciplines like parkour, climbing or dancing also apply here. There, the message "I can change myself" is accompanied by other notes.
Things like "I can overcome obstacles" and "I can solve problems" in parkour and climbing.
"I can change my state" or "I can bring my inner workings to the outside" in dancing.
"I can overcome my fear" in acrobatics.
"I can understand and access more of the world" in hiking or endurance running.
The second message resides in the changing of others or other things. Crafting very clearly fits into this element. He who builds a piece of furniture out of wooden boards, he who sews clothing out of fabric, or he who makes dishes out of clay, changes the world. He has self-efficacy. He is not just a being navigating the world, but he is actively co-creating the world.
Through his intelligence and his hands, the human has an enormous ability to co-create the world. The active co-creation is a balm for our souls. Real-wold crafting has a significant advantage in comparison to digital creation: our work can be touched. Crafting is experienced through our bodies, through our hands.
Crafted works are always created in a collaboration of body and mind. We imagine a piece in our mind, plan it out and bring it into reality. Through our hands, our inner picture becomes real and unique: It is manifested. A song fades out, a dance ends, but the crafted piece remains. Thereby we differentiate between moving objects around and creating¹. Moving something from one place to another is a way of forming the world, but it is not permanent. Things can always put back the way they were.
Creating, on the other hand, means changing something, not just repositioning it in space (here we talk of ideal images; moving around and creating take place on a spectrum in many forms of crafting). Repairing is the younger brother of creating. Things like working in the garden, the field or the forest also carry with them the message, which so clearly comes across in crafting:
I can change the world!
Through crafting and physical training, we experience that we can change ourselves and the world. That we can actively partake in co-creating the world. And we experience it directly in the physical world. It is clear. And this physical experience is very effective. More effective than a text about it ever could be.
Here we have basic elements of powerful and positive world experience, which help us to act as humans aware of our responsibility in the world.
¹ In the german original, here Joseph uses the wordplay of the words "verstellen", meaning to manipulate or move around, and "herstellen", to create. Naturally this doesn't lend itself to translation very well.
Translation from German: Oskar Henke