The Very Fact That You Are True

by Stefan Fabry

“The very fact that you are true binds you in presence, sincerity and trust. You have to give things up in and for this bond: in particular, you let go of everything you desired or imagined that is not available within it. Yet it is not wrong to let yourself be bound in this way.”

Last weekend while in retreat mode, I consulted the I-Ching in search for clarity about what exactly and precisely the mission of Oxygen Tango should be. This is where the above quote comes from.

Reading it, I am spellbound by the precise description of the essence of about process of dancing tango which is exactly captured in this statement.

Consciously committing to being true, sincere and present
What this focuses me on is creating a space for everyone involved with Oxygen Tango -- students, teachers, everyone who works behind the scenes -- where we can be true, sincere and present with each other. What quality of life could be more rewarding than this? To me it seems like reaching for our highest potential as human beings.

These opportunities for people to be true with themselves and one another should invite and encourage giving things up that are other than sincere. To create this kind of bond, letting go of non-truthfulness is a practice and a discipline we need to encourage in every way through the setting and culture of Oxygen Tango.

What do we need to give up to be true?
Here is an incomplete list:

  • Anything that we imagine about how things ought to be although they are not;
  • Anything that we don’t want to have but we do have - like limitations and choices;
  • Wanting of any kind which makes us disconnect from what is and teleports us into the future or past -- like fame, money, being acknowledged, feeling important;
  • Waiting via hope for a better time, waiting for a time when we are better dancers, better human beings, better communicators -- and therefore not fully taking responsibility for what we are and do;
  • Waiting for the world or our partner to recognize and understand how great (or shabby) we are in our capacity (or incapacity) to dance well;
  • Any opinion we have about ourselves and what we are capable or not capable to accomplish in one lifetime;
  • Any opinion about our fellow people or our partner and their ability to be at their best;
  • Any sentence that starts with “you should...”;
  • Any sense of pride;
  • Any assumption that we are separate beings;
  • Any opinions about what I am supposed to be in this gender I have been born into;
  • Any need for approval from anyone;
  • And finally: any sense of self-importance.

Self-importance is the root of all the other qualities listed above. That’s why it is at the bottom of the list. It is the foundation for all suffering we create for ourselves and others. Remove it, and the whole of the construct that rests on top of it collapses.

How does it feel to imagine not having one or all of these qualities? To me it feels like a burden is lifted off my shoulders.

Indeed, when we are truly sincere with ourselves and one another we become very present: very, very present on a very quietly connected level.

This kind of mood and quality of presence attracts and kindles the same quality in all people who come close to it. So that is what I feel the mission should encompass. To wake that up in anyone who comes in touch with Oxygen Tango.

How do we actually create truth, sincerity, and presence together?
If we want to create an opportunity where people can be true and truly connect, then we need to set a high standard for everything we do: always looking for excellence in every project, be it teaching, dancing, talking and sharing, practicing, or earning someone’s trust in any way.

So here it is - the new mission of Oxygen Tango unveiled:

Our mission is to create delightful learning experiences in inspiring environments that enable people to be true with one another. We accomplish this by aiming for excellence in the study, practice and discipline of Argentine Tango.

The feeling of being true
This quality of life creates that pure deep and rewarding sense of joy that only comes from being fully present with what we do; from finding that place of being where limiting beliefs take a back seat and the true sense of connectedness with oneself and others takes hold.

This is the place that each of us hungers for, hopes for, longs for their entire life -- a place where the illusions of limitation are lifted. Where the knowledge that we have always been connected, and will always be inextricably connected, becomes predominant.

And the practice of Tango is a very accessible gateway to this truth that brings so much sanity. Through Tango we can find this space -- this unlimited space outside the boundaries set by our predominant interpretation of reality -- that we can tap into, intuit and feel. When we practice Tango together in an intentional way and an intentional environment, we practice being true.