Monday, August 23, 2010

I Can't Feel Anything: Journal Notes #1

These are my notes from my November 1999 Zhan Zhuang Training Journal. I train with The School of Cultivation and Practice which practices Wujifa zhan zhuang. My current reflections are added in italics.

* So he gave me a small white pelt and said, "Feel this." I ran my hand through the fur. "And what do you feel?" It feels soft. What is it? "That's rabbit." Now I understand what rabbit feels like.

* I've been training in a new process a few years now: There is no end to feeling, understanding and being aware. Feel. Understand. Be aware. What was a foreign idea has slowly grown from "I can't feel anything." to "I can feel."

* Don't over-complicate the "understand" part. Keep it simple. It's like putting a word on a wordless feeling.

* So where to start feeling? Feel what? Feel my clothes touching the different parts of my body is a good place to start.

* Practice noticing emotions and bodily reactions. I learned to only express happy emotions and to hold in and not express angry, hurt and sad emotions.

* I'm standing and relaxing my pelvis. Doing this I notice a burning/itching sensation in my pelvic floor area and feeling angry. Feel an urge, not to surface scratch the itch, but more like push "it" back up in there. Don't let the anger come out. Afraid to let go. Afraid I'll lose control. Seems like relaxing the pelvic area results in anger coming out or something like that. I don't understand. Don't analyze. Just start there.

* I can't stop the anger energy once it starts moving but I can observe its movement through my body into my shoulders and into my mouth. The mouth wants to pucker or feel funnel shaped. Weird. Never noticed that before.

* Seems I only notice the angry feeling now. All the rest of time, there's no feeling. Or am I not feeling what's there?

* Do this exercise: When I feel ____ , I understand that ____ . Now I am aware ____ .

* When I feel angry, I understand that it moves into my shoulders and mouth. Now I'm aware how an emotional energy moves through or gets stuck in some part of my body.

* When I notice something in someone else, that means I've changed and can notice it in me.

* Everyone in the kingdom is wearing the same clothes from the same tailor. But when you go to a different tailor and get different clothes, then you see clearly the clothes the others are wearing.


(Despite all the "sensitivity" I thought I had developed from years of tai-chi and push-hands, I discovered that I really didn't have an "internal" kinesthetic sense or feeling until I started standing. I found I was disconnected and un-integrated in different ways.

It's amazing now to see how much feeling continues deepening and widening.

Maybe the level of one's internal strength is all about the level of the integration of one's "mind" and "body"? Of how much one can consciously, kinesthetically feel or let go of? Or something like that? What do you think?)

Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Next article in this series: What A Mess: Journal Notes #2

Make sure to visit and the Wujifa blog.
And stop by The School of Cultivation and Practice.


  1. When I read the part about touching the rabbit fur... What a GREAT place to start... You are where you are and that's where you start. Then like Morphious asks Neo in "The Matrix" something about do you want to see how deep the rabit hole goes... Now you know what rabbit fur feels like... And the you notice Alice and the Mad Hatter having tea... I'll be stopping in here to keep up on more if this story as you see fit to share this...

    Rick from

  2. When I'm aware of the growth of my brother, I feel joy, I understand that we are growing together.

  3. Ok i know I'm coming here late, but I just stumbled across this blog and have the intention to read it further more! The articles and entries seem very interesting and deeply thought.... Thank you for sharing. Will comment again, we will have opportunities to chat a bit :)