Structure – the word I have been practicing in my life now for a while. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my findings and insights when it comes to living structure.
Initially I related the word structure to schedules, almanacs etc., and did not view the word as particularly useful in any other context. I also felt that structure was something that limited my creative expression – and that it took away freedom. Thus I have had a bit of a conflictual relationship with the word. Similarly I have had to walk a process to be able to walk in this current money system without reacting towards it – and feeling like the stiff structure and routine of the system pulls me down into a state of too much structure.
At this stage however I feel comfortable with the word – and as I walked the process of understanding it and integrating it into my life – I have realized that structure is everywhere and that is supportive. I have seen that having a structure allows for self-directed creative freedom, while having complete creative freedom without a structure invites lack of direction, loss of overview/focus/movement; it becomes expression without a foundation – and in most cases the results are not good.
Let us take the example of cooking. If I start to cook without a structure – for example – I just haphazardly mix the ingredients and I decide to roast them all in the oven for the same duration of time – I will not be able to create an effective meal. Cooking is a perfect example of a physical expression that rests heavily on a structured foundation – the physics of taste/texture/nutrition – and yet – it is an expression that allows for a wide array of experimentation and creative freedom.
It is the same with music. If I am unfamiliar with the instrument or musical theory it is going to be very difficult for me to improvise or compose my own songs. And sure, I will have complete freedom to play the instrument in any way I desire, but what is the use of that if I am not able to create pieces of music that I enjoy? With a basic structure, knowledge of the instrument and the notes it can produce, it is going to be different. I can now create melodic music yet still be creative, explore and investigate what new sounds and expressions I am able to produce.
Thus, used rightly structure does not quell creativity – it instead supports and enhances it. However there has to be a balance. Too much structure will lead to rigidity. Structure is in its nature predefined, constant, and impermeable to whims of the moment. Though oftentimes it is those spontaneous outbursts that bring through the flavor, the individuality, the joy and pleasure. Thus structure in itself is not the aim – it is the means. It is a stable support from which I am able to move into new expressions and experiences – the ground that I am able to get back to when I have lost myself in the boundlessness of creative freedom.
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