Monday, December 13, 2010

Bio Questions: Journal Notes #17

Notes from my April 2004 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.)

* I don't have any particular stance-mechanics questions because I feel that my stance progress is tied to these other concerns.

* Beware of the psychodrama. Keep it simple. What do you feel? "I feel hot and sweaty. I feel my legs trembling. I feel my shoulders hurt." Leave it at that.
(I think this note is referring to one of the traps I was prone to falling into when I started. And that's the trap of focusing on a feeling in a way that would not necessarily yield functional results. For example, "What do I feel? oohhh, I feel scared because when I was little...." or "What do you feel? ohh, I feel angry because I remember..."

I myself (and I have also seen my school brothers) struggle with emotional stuff that comes up in the process of relaxing and releasing patterns of muscular tension. What helps me avoid the trap is staying focused on "What's your purpose?" My purpose is to develop a feeling of connectedness. I can notice the psychodrama as it arises. If it is troubling enough, I can seek counseling. Otherwise, I can simply acknowledge it, learn from it and stay focused on the body.)

* Take responsibility for your actions, feelings, attitudes, situation. If you want to change, then experiment. Try "x". Monitor the results. Take responsibility for the result you created.

* Don't focus on the tension. Focus on the bio-feedback the released tension is giving you.
(Wow! I read this now and think, what a huge clue to training! What does this mean? Assuming "bio-feedback" is a validate-able result that I can demonstrate, for example, when this relaxes, I notice more pressure in my quads... Questions I might ask myself: How do I experience the bio-feedback? What can I learn from this? How do I apply this to deeper and ever more "subtle" levels of feeling? )

* Question: How do I find the feeling of serenity that was evoked in the last class?
Answer: That has also happened to me before too. I don't know. That's your puzzle to figure out. But now you know it's there and you are capable of feeling it.
(This question is referencing an experience that was noted in Journal Notes #16.

This is still a big puzzle for me, "But now you know it's there and you are capable of feeling it." For all the amazing feelings I've experienced over the years including many from in-class postural adjustments, I haven't been able to replicate similar feelings during my own practice time. I suspect that I'm not hitting the same postural alignment that would elicit that overall feeling. Or.... maybe these feelings are one-time roadsigns that I should not get stuck on trying to replicate. Maybe it depends on the feeling? Maybe, yes, replicate and develop the heaviness in the quads ("sink the chi"). Maybe, no, don't try to replicate the serene feeling. Maybe some feelings are merely by-products of practice.)

* When standing, you need to keep the monkey mind busy so the stallion can run free. If you continually monitor your stance, then you are letting the monkey control the stallion; you are thinking too much.

* Introduction to pole shaking. The core is stance and side-to-side. Silk reeling. Need to have the legs and kua/inguinal crease open and close properly.
(Pole shaking is not done by the shoulders and arms even though to the untrained eye, it appears to be done this way. In fact, there is very little shoulder and arm movement. The force to shake the pole is generated in the legs and kua and transmitted out the arms to the pole tip. Similarly, the shaking end of the pole should be able to reverberate back through the relaxed arms and into the relaxed torso and you should be able to see the relaxed muscles shaking all the way down to the butt. While this exercise looks simple, it takes quite a lot of relaxation and connection to do it correctly. Though I intellectually have a better understanding and may be able to see better what is "right" and "wrong", I still can't do it "right".)

* Question: What other bodywork can I get into now that I've finished my first set of ten Rolfing sessions?
Answer: See Kristina at xxx. She does good deep tissue work and won't pull or hold back if you tell her that's what you want. A lot of people say they do deep tissue work but they don't really.
(I never did pursue other types of body work or deep tissue massage work.)

* Question: Why did the Rolfing ninth session which worked with my hands, arms and shoulders elicit such strong feelings?
Answer: Energetically, that session works with the feelings of 'reaching out'.

(Note: This month's journal contains a section which, when I was reviewing it, thought that it could be misleading to someone not familiar with Wujifa training and my personal situation. Therefore, I have reworded this section as seen below in an attempt to convey the spirit of this entry which I'd like to share without divulging the potentially confusing details.)

*
Question: I'm feeling a new, heightened level of energy that kind of feels like a sexual energy? It's weird. I don't quite know how to describe it. What's going on? Should I... ?
Answer: One view is that all energy is sexual energy. Continue practicing. The path will become clear and probably won't be as you are imagining it now.

* Question: What should I be looking for with the towel-twisting exercise?
Answer: Look in the mirror to see where the skin is flush, where blood is flowing, and where ashen or pale, where muscular tension is restricting blood flow. Rub or move the ashen or pale area to relax the muscle to allow blood flow.
(Yes, I do notice a "splotchiness" in my face and neck (because I'm wearing a shirt) when I do this exercise. I want to say more about my experiences with this Q&A but don't know how to right now. Maybe in another post.

I have done this exercise sporadically over the years but never consistently over a period of time to notice long-term results. I've recently started doing this exercise again.
)

Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: Body Changes: Journal Notes #16
Next article in this series: Relaxation Riddles: Journal Notes #18

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

3 comments:

  1. Pole shaking "hell yeah" with the long white wax wood pole 棍 is one if my fav's to play around with!!! Wujifa pole shaking is so much fun, I really love it! I like how I can learn to "shake it," and by IT I am talking about how I can relax and amp up the shake with my body's response. Shake, shake, shake... Shake, shake shake... Shake your... ROFLMAO!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. * Question: How do I find the feeling of serenity that was evoked in the last class?
    Answer: That has also happened to me before too. I don't know. That's your puzzle to figure out. But now you know it's there and you are capable of feeling it.

    (This question is referencing an experience that was noted in Journal Notes #16.

    This is still a big puzzle for me, "But now you know it's there and you are capable of feeling it." For all the amazing feelings I've experienced over the years including many from in-class postural adjustments, I haven't been able to replicate similar feelings during my own practice time. I suspect that I'm not hitting the same postural alignment that would elicit that overall feeling. Or.... maybe these feelings are one-time roadsigns that I should not get stuck on trying to replicate. Maybe it depends on the feeling? Maybe, yes, replicate and develop the heaviness in the quads ("sink the chi"). Maybe, no, don't try to replicate the serene feeling. Maybe some feelings are merely by-products of practice.)


    You can't feel what you felt in a previous class because that moment has come and gone. In trying to go back in time you are trying to grab the train that has left the station or the cat that has been let out of the bag.

    Instead of trying to relive the past, why not be present in the ... present?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Guy,

    A song can bring back feelings... Smell can be powerful for some people too. Bring back old feeling isn't that difficult when they have a strong anchor.

    The question may not be the found in the general or even ambiguous term if feelings... The is functional feel of connection... And yes like love these functional feeling also change and develop and evolve overtime.

    Rick makes a good point about the past and looking for "the same feeling" as the feeling will evolve overtime and trying to get "the same feeling" can hold one back. At the same time Mike brings up some good point as there is a functional "feel" to calibrate the practice with...

    To be able to have conflicting concepts and being able to play and get results from both... The method is not the truth... A map is not the territory... Although a blueprint as a tool or method can give one "a good feel" of where one is going and headed.

    Flexability is key... Being about to find usefulness in some seemingly conflicting ideas reveals more useful possibilities and more oppertunities discovering where we are, where we've been, and going... There is a usefulness in trying to recreate specific feels of practice and to be open to new ones "both."

    Gongfu like making tea... You get a feel for it and a taste as well!

    ReplyDelete