Developing the ability to feel is a journey.
Sure, I can "feel". I have the sensory perception of touch. My tongue can distinguish flavors. My ear can hear a variety of pitches, timbres and volumes. I can feel emotions. So what's the problem? After all these years, why do I still have trouble feeling deeper and ever more subtle layers of my "internal" kinesthetics which is needed to develop the internal strength of Taiji, Ba-gua, and Xing-yi? Feeling is feeling is feeling after all, right?
Somewhere in my life, I came to value others' feelings over mine especially when my feelings conflicted with others' feelings. In those cases, I would de-value and block expressing my feelings and rationalize a "good reason" for doing so.
I recently discovered that my efforts in developing kinesthetic feeling in Wujifa Zhan Zhuang conflicted with my lifelong habit of stifling my emotional feeling as I just described. As a result, I was trying to grow feeling AND at the same time, I was trying to squash feeling. I was trying to light the candle and extinguish the candle at the same time.
Years ago I tried an exercise: Check in with yourself periodically throughout the day and notice what you're feeling. When I tried this, I mostly noticed that I felt nothing and so I gave up on the exercise.
Recently, I've picked this up again. But in the interim, I learned that I cannot ever not be feeling. Me, "my" body is a sensory organ. There is no fundamental disconnect between my "head" and my "heart". The connection is there. (It's called the nervous system.) Physiological processes encounter or react to external or internal stimuli and create "feelings". Feeling is primary. Rationale thought and interpretation of feeling is secondary.
And if there is ever a time when there appears to be no "emotional" feeling, then notice a physical feeling. Is the chair hard or soft? Are your eyes sore from reading too much? and on and on... There is always feeling.
So in trying this exercise now, I'm completely blown away each time I "check in" because I notice that I'm feeling! I don't need a label for the feeling. I simply notice a feeling. And here's an "Ah-ha!" moment... maybe where I got stuck before was thinking that if I couldn't label a feeling, then it didn't exist. So not true! The feeling existed. The label did not. Two very different experiences!
Developing a new habit of simply noticing feeling in all its variety is a journey that can begin with simple, baby steps like the exercise described above.
Continues with: My Journey to Feeling: Part 2