Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What Do You Think

My mind is a garden. My thoughts are the seeds.
My harvest will be either flowers or weeds.

Mel Weldon
"Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth;"
"Oh, no. Not another acting lesson." Yes, another acting lesson. So pay attention.

One Autumn day I was talking with a young actor, just beginning his career. He was asking me about the acting experience. We were sitting outside and the ground was littered with brightly colored leaves. I picked one up, a particularly beautiful one, and I told him tht in order to be an artist we have to create something as beautiful as that leaf, and that nature does it by the gezillions every year and then just throws them away. The point of the lesson was that art, just like science, depends upon natural law.

When you go to watch a play you are watching a story unfold. And the story is being told through the actions of real live characters. The actor loans his body and his voice to the character he is portraying and those are the things you see and hear. But there is something else, also on loan to the character, which you don't see and that is the actors thoughts, the freedom to think the way his character thinks. You don't see that thought process going on. You only see the results.

There is clearly also a life lesson involved here. It is very difficult to know what the result of our own thinking is going to be, most of the time. The actor knows ahead of time what the result is so he can organize his thinking to fit that unfolding. But for us in real life we can only guess or assume that we are thinking correctly and that our thoughts will bring about a harmonious result. When we get an inharmonious result and end up with something we didn't want or expect we can blame the economy, the weather, other people or "circumstances over which we had no control." After we've spent a lot of time and energy doing that, we inevitably get back to the conclusion that we weren't thinking right to begin with. In the major and minor events of life how we think has a certain effect on the results. The one thing no one else has any control over is the freedom to think for ourselves, no matter what. Some well known writers composed novels in their heads when they were incarcerated in some prison for a long time without access to pen and paper, Other prisoners just disintegrated into weeds.

One of the grand unnoticeable facts of life is that we have the freedom to choose what we are going to think about. But with that freedom comes another fact, that what we think about is planting seeds for a future harvest of either good or bad. That's natural law.

DB - The Vagabond

1 comment:

Rose~* said...

It's amazing how some people "act" before "thinking", and then do nothing but complain.