Limitations of Modernist Worldview
November 08, 2017
As the beneficiaries of a modernist worldview, a dominant thread in our culture tends to put high value on self-control and science, and may be dismissive of spirituality. From this perspective phenomena like trance, possession, and mystical states are typically written off as misguided or superstitious. Even more, some of us who grew up in fundamentalist Christian households may have been taught that any realization originating from within, such as one would have during a mystical experience, was highly suspect, and mind-altering activities that allow one to access hidden realms and alternative realities are dangerous.
But trance is a very normalized activity in many parts of the world, and so-called non-ordinary states of consciousness have been utilized for beneficial purposes in virtually every culture around the world for thousands of years. Indigenous and shamanic practitioners have used music and dance, along with other techniques, to access the spirit realm and bring higher knowledge and healing to the community.
It is important to note that trance-inducing techniques would have been abandoned long ago if they did yield benefits, and yet evidence goes back to Neolithic times that drumming, dancing, and consciousness-altering substances were being used for ritual purposes. Historically, outsiders with colonial agendas have looked down on indigenous cultures as backward and ignorant, and researches have been blinded by their bias to not see the value of the practices they were witnessing. Such practices may also have seemed threatening as they suggested a spiritual reality existed beyond that which the modern mindset, cut off from intuition and their instinctual roots, was ready to accept. But things are changing, as is evidenced by the proliferation alternative healing practices, including the popular interest in yoga and conscious movement.
There are different historical factors and agendas that have propagated certain assumptions, fears, and lack of respect around mind-altering and body-centered practices, and I will write about those in detail another time. Suffice it to say that as the religious paradigm shifted towards patriarchy and emphasis was placed on the superiority of the mind and reason, there was strong motivation to mock, forbid, and demonize practices belonging to earlier magical world-views. We see this play out around the ritual of Halloween where symbols of earlier belief systems are correlated with frightening, dark, uncontrollable aspects of our natures. Yet those layers of our consciousness are still with us and have relevance, and it is possible to reintegrate them in a way that expands and sheds light on our human experience.
With all its admirable and significant achievements, the modernist’s worldview has had some serious consequences. One only needs to look at the epidemic of loneliness, isolation, and depression that plagues our population to see just one facet of its limitation. Rationalism and scientific knowledge, carrying forth by individualism and disconnected from Spirit, has flourished at the expense of the wisdom of the body, intuitive understanding, and authentic human connection. A sad side effect is that many of us inherited an inability to truly feel our bodies and recognize emotional states. When there is pain we are encouraged to suppress or numb it. Though a major achievement of humanity, we are now coming to understand the limitations of the “mind over matter” mindset when left unchecked, and are reincorporating the balancing gifts of intuition, instinct, and interconnectedness. This shift fundamentally affects how we relate to living an embodied life on planet Earth.
FREE GUIDED JOURNEY
Hannah’s workshop was exhilarating, joyful, and educational. I felt uplifted afterwards, and emerged with a positive feeling of lightness.
Hannah radiates an inner joy, a celebration of the divine, that glows and grows inside her audience. Dancing with Hannah, one is finds herself channeled into the timeless essence of feminine grace, connecting to all women past and present, freeing us to express our true innate beauty
I just spent two days with Hannah and a diverse group of spirited women on the Spin, Shake, Sway workshop exploring whirling and the Moroccan Guedra, and the experience made me reconnect with dancing at a very deep and intense level. I felt so alive and free in the space where your body and your soul intersect, and beauty and healing naturally happen. The location was magical and the perfect setting for our group.
The potency of sacred women’s spaces was made evident to me during this beautiful two day healing dance ritual. That experience of learning, of playing, and of connecting to our feminine power through community and the container held so humbly and graciously by Hannah will stay with me forever, and has become fuel for a new passion in my life to explore Sufi and Berber traditional, meditative dance. My deepest gratitude goes to all women of the dance, now, and throughout all of time.
Hannah loves transmitting her knowledge of world dance to kids and they feel it. She engages them in both the movements and the understanding of the traditions of the dances. The kids learn to appreciate the pure joy of moving, the history of the dances and choreographing their own pieces. It’s great to see the kids enjoying the discipline of the different traditions while having a lot of fun.
For the past three years Hannah’s performance and teaching has been a highlight of my annual women’s weekend. She is a gifted, creative, expert dancer who engages and amazes the audience with her style and skill. It’s beautiful to watch her flow, bend, glide, and shimmy. Dancing with her is a blast! All my women friends loved it.
A week later and still relishing in the magical afterglow! Seriously, much to my surprise I am still reaping the benefits and riding the waves of such a weekend. Personally it was an end of an era, and what better way to initiate a new beginning, than to breathe in new life with ritual, spinning, baddass women, wonderful food, perfect location and gorgeous weather. Outstanding!
I first saw Hannah dance Persian style at a party and was immediately in awe of her self-possessed beauty that comes through her style of dance. I wanted to learn that! I had gone through a tough 18 months of sorrow and grief after loosing my partner of 15 years and mom within six months of each other. Hannah choreographed a Persian dance specifically for me that would help open my heart. And she helped mend my heart and soul through private lessons and learning her dance. I would recommend h…