There are a lot of things in the world that we can’t readily observe, but that in fact exist and that we may be able to sense when turned on to them. In order to describe these phenomenon we use language. However the words used to describe what we think is happening is often an abstraction, and abstractions are equally hard to comprehend.
My entire entire I’ve had an embodied practice: tap dancing. In tap dancing, conceptual understanding means little without the ability to execute physically. The act of dancing is not abstract. Yet the practice of learning how to tap dance often is. The dance has been disconnected from its original roots for quite some time now, and teaching your body to move differently than its used to is a journey into the unknown.
What can we do when we are attempting to share experiences, thoughts, or ideas that seem very real to us, but are abstract – not yet real – to others?
Simple, common, grounded analogies build a bridge between the real experienced life and that of the abstract. That is until the abstract is no longer distant and disconnected, but intimate and real, as much a part of our life as the things we can touch.
Buster Brown used to say, “Tap dance is just like walking. If you can walk, you can dance.” He was smarter than most gave him credit for.