Ty Clement is the author of “Being Ourself.” And if you are thinking that the word ourself is mis-spelled, that should make you all the more curious to find out why he has chosen to use this new spelling. What I will tell you is that it is about discovering our real connectedness. You’ll just have to read it.
Ty offers several insights into how living observantly in the physical world helps us learn and keep the learning fresh. I asked him how he developed his ability to observe.
“I think I developed it through some of the activities offered through our culture, for example, sports. Sports or music are great places to learn observation skills. Observation begins with being one on one with reality. It’s about experiencing ‘reality’. In soccer, your body is trying to overcome gravity as you develop the moves you need to make the goal. You are intimately connected to the real world, and your whole body knows it. Your whole body perceives this connection. Your whole body is observing what is going on. That’s the start of learning how to observe.”
I really enjoyed this recognition that we learn through experience as we employ our whole bodies. I gained three major insights from Ty’s explanations.
1. That in team sports to music, we can discover a sense of connectedness and even be aware of the connectedness – enough so to actually ‘observe’ it. As Ty says it, “If there’s an egoist on the team who always just took the ball and tried to make a score, it didn’t really work. Eventually the ball was taken from him and the team was frustrated. If we were being team players, passing the ball a lot, then you move the ball down the field, and you score a goal. And you feel like you all scored that goal.”
2. That practice develops our personal relationship with reality. “If you’re trying to figure out how to juggle a soccer ball with your legs, reality is going to be relentless. Gravity is not going to go away. You’re having this intimate one on one relationship with existence and your understanding deepens. You’re practicing and discovering for yourself what will work – not just from a teacher or a book.”
3. That old-fashioned music lessons and team sports develops character in young people. Says Ty, “That old fashioned notion of character development through music, art, and sports facilitates observation and discovery. The competition to see how many things our children can be involved in misses the whole point of having your kids doing these things for the joy of discovery.”
Ty summarizes, “If you’re lacking the connection, and you’re lacking the discovery, life feels flat.”
I hope you, too, observe the deep conceptual learning that comes from the physical activities of the body. Deep conceptual learning that goes way beyond scoring a point.