elevator by n. calonge

November 10, 2016

In 1859, the Cooper Union Foundation Building was opened with the mission to promote social mobility through subsidized education in arts and engineering. The building itself was an example of foresight and massive inventiveness, having been the first 'skyscraper' of its time (it was five stories), and was designed with an elevator shaft before the elevator was even invented.

In preparing for the future, it is potentially disturbing to have a gaping hole where something uplifting ought to be. Yet that is exactly what architect Fredrick A. Petersen did by imagining, then producing, a hollow column in a major building. In deciding that the world was capable of faster, higher, and more advanced means of elevation, he prepared for it. How do we do this in practice and practical life? Because at the same time that we tap into our limitless potential, it can sometimes feel like just that -- potential. And lurking behind that is a deep sense of despair. What if this is just an empty tube in a fancy building?

Yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar wrote this of architecture and bodily alignment:"To reach the infinite we have to use finite means as does the architect, even if he is building a cathedral or temple. And, like the architect, yoga science says you have to align your inner and outer bodies, so that they run parallel and in communication with each other... Alignment creates an intercommunicating structure that, like a cathedral, is an offering to God."

If alignment is our gift to God, then the way we build our lives is our gift to each other. We are responsible for unleashing potential and making the bridge from creative vision into reality.

So. We prepare. We show up. We uplift. We architect space -- internally and all around us -- with all the brave ferocity, kindness, and imagination we possess.

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