Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Third Feeling

I came to the internal arts with a fair degree of chronic, habitual tension. Let's call this the first feeling. Slowly I learned to un-tense, to relax, to go limp. Let's call this the second feeling. To develop the connection-ness of internal strength, we want to practice the third feeling.

This "third feeling" is not on the continuum between tense and relax, between problem and solution or any other duality, but rather, it is another feeling outside of and distinct from your yin-yang continuum.

I don’t understand.

It is a riddle.

The third feeling is experienced on the edge of my understanding, outside of my catalog of identified internal kinesthetic experiences. Is 'third' another word for ‘new’? Yes and no. Sometimes it is a deepening or opening of a known feeling as opposed to a different feeling on the same continuum level. Sometimes it is a feeling far off the continuum and not related to any other current feeling. It won’t appear if you tend to run match, expect it to be like a known concept or feeling. Yet, I am open. If it is 'like' anything, it is kind of like confusion or uncertainty but which shows up in the body and short-circuits the brain and may induce stance trance as the mind races to categorize the experience and finds no comparison. An example might be the feeling of “peng jing”.

When I first heard about "peng jing" I thought I could create peng jing by using my imagination with muscular tension. This approach allowed me to create a static, repeatable feeling. That kind of peng jing was based on and tied to a method: tension + imagination = peng jing. However, there is another kind of peng jing that I am discovering that is based on connection and is continually evolving and changing and does not involve tension nor imagination.

A problem that some beginners have is that they will read or hear a master's description of peng jing and then think that they too can have peng jing without first having developed themselves to the level the master has. For example, the master says, “Peng is like xxx.”, and the student attempts the “like xxx” and deludes him/herself into thinking “I have peng.” It is best to have a teacher who is not afraid to say “You’re not ready for that yet. Work on this.” It is best to work at the level you are at. What you seek appears naturally after a lot of correct and level-appropriate practice.

One potential stumbling block is that feelings can become methods when you focus on developing "a" particular feeling. Many feelings are simple byproducts of your practice and in the Wujifa system are regarded as sign-posts along the way. Do not set up camp at the sign-post and work on developing that particular feeling. Doing so will get you stuck. For example, I’m recently able to feel expanding-ness. If I think that this expanding-ness feeling IS peng jing, and I focus strictly on developing this feeling, then I am stuck. Getting stuck in a feeling is not third feeling material.

The method can lead you to the door, but the method cannot open the door. The door opening requires something else altogether. Third feeling. When you put a feeling in a box, then it loses its alive-ness, the what-if-ness. The box can be a method, but a boxed feeling, like my earlier false-peng jing, is never the third feeling. A boxed feeling never grows and develops.

Does this make any sense?

Remember The Matrix - There is no spoon scene? There is no "peng jing". Do not try to attain a particular feeling. Practice to develop connection and more and more and....


  1. Sounds like a phrase from the classics. I get the idea of putting feelings in a box in the attempt to keep/retain when something works. What gets me is that the process in non intuitive. My teacher says that your partner when putting a load into your system defines your peng.

  2. I like what's showing up here. Wujifa is a pretty amazing art and you write very interesting posts here. Gets me thinking more about my practice and what I'm doing. Thank you!

  3. OldtaichiGuy,
    Yes, your teacher is correct. Touching is one way to define your peng. There are also other ways to define the peng path.

    The imagination process can set up the path, as in the basic Taiji "jings"; Peng, Lu, Ji, An.

    Practice stance and feel connectedness, for example, feeling the fascial stretch through the body. Connectedness is where peng comes from. There is a feeling to peng before it is defined or expressed... and this feeling evolves and changes with practice.

  4. Wow..I just want to know the wordã…¡ "the third thinking". Finally I can find that in your blog!!
    The third thinking is a thinking of another dimension, Is it??
    ANYWAY, Thank you so much=D