Monday, October 3, 2011

Feels Like Nothing: Journal Notes #59

Notes from my September 2008 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.)

* Question: What does open feel like?
Answer: Open feels open. Open is its own feeling. It's similar to happy or joy but without a reason to be happy or joyful.

* Question: Whenever I get adjusted to just that right spot, like where I can ground a push without effort, it feels like I'm not using any muscular strength at all. Is that right to think that internal strength/connectedness feels like nothing?
Answer: We tend to match to stress and muscular tension and when we don't feel stress or tension, then we think we're not feeling anything. We never really re-learned how relaxed and open feels. We knew this feeling before we shut down to it. We subsequently learned to think of relax as being an activity and not as a combined emotional-kinesthetic quality. In those instances where you feel "nothing", try labeling that feeling as "relaxed and open".

* I had another amazing stance experience in class. I had an overwhelming feeling of being, present, connected and the struggle was to maintain this feeling, like, how much presence or openness can I tolerate? Very different feeling from the worried, "How long can my legs hold up?"


* Question: How am I ever going to remember all the detailed adjustments I need to get to that place where I feel open and present?
Answer: Instead of self-correcting with rules, trust and play.
(Three years later, I am still admonished to have a more playful attitude during practice; to "play" more. Be more open to being playful and not so serious.

This is another example of how one's everyday personality influences one's stance practice. Some people need to work more and others need to be more playful and others need... )

* Be open to being confused because in confusion you will learn something.
(This has been a difficult one for me because I don't like being confused. I like definite questions and definite answers. Ambiguity drives me crazy... though I am slowly coming to tolerate it... and understand the "why" of it.)

* Internal martial arts are about connections and developing, building connections, connectedness. Connect on different levels:
  1. Feeling of connectedness within body - developing a functional structure.
  2. Connecting with others through feeling.
  3. Connecting to Be, Here, Now. Checked-in and not checked-out.

* I did a little more Bio work where I'm stretched backward over a specially padded stool. I could relax some, but my body would not fully go with the stretching and opening. As I stretched, I'd hit a spot where I resisted and tightened, then relaxed some more then resisted and tightened and repeated this cycle. Open and pull-back.

(I've noticed that this cycle of open and pull back plays out not only in a specific isolated exercise but also in my practice overall over time.)

* If you get it once, then you got it. It's in there. So even if you lose it, you know it will come back.
(Finding an instructor who can work with you to guide you to that experience is priceless! You may need to go through several instructors to get to the real deal. Ultimately, the work such as it was which led me to this "open and relaxed" feeling is only just beginning. Making real everyday life changes to integrate this particular stance experience into everyday life is apparently the key to really "getting it". It's taking me a while to understand and work through this stuff.)

* Three powerful words: "Noticing changes everything."

* Take the judgment out of noticing. Simply notice. Have the attitude of, "What a cool thing to notice!" and leave it at that.

* That which is noticing is not the same as the anger, frustration, and tension being noticed. The more time you spend noticing, the more "that" grows and reveals itself.

* Regarding the first Wujifa triangle, whichever two you are working on at whatever percent will reveal the third to that same percent.

* When teaching, pace yourself to the other's reality. Establish a kinesthetic repoire and then lead where you want them to go.

* Part of "calm down" is to breathe, ah... yes.... jiggle, shake it off.

* We were introduced to an exercise called the non-meditation. Simply sit and repeat this slowly as if sitting and talking with or enjoying time with a friend, "I ... don't ... understand ... yet ... I'm ... open." This is how meditation is supposed to be done. There is no goal. The mistake most meditators make is they think that they are working toward a goal. They frame their practice as "meditation" and fall into the trap of "These are the methods I should follow. This is how meditation is suppose to feel. These are the results I should get." etc...
(I ... don't ... understand ... yet ... I'm ... open... )

Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: Opening to Learn More: Journal Notes #58
Next article in this series: Internal vs External Martial Arts: Journal Notes #60

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

1 comment:

  1. OMG Mr Mike! I don't understand yet I'm open. I love that!

    This blogging you posted today touches my heart and I feel it so deeply inside me Mr Mike.

    I am so glad you are willing to share yourself with me and the rest of the world in such open and gentle ways. I wonder if you can feel it too? So, deep inside you like the warmth of something special is awaking inside your heart?

    What do you think about besides being so "lucky" when you feel the openess o reflowing like a spring the flows deep from inside the earth entering the light of day and like a creek becomes a river the children splash and play in your cooling refreshing wetting waters. I think Mr Mike when you talk about your Wujifa I feel it like you awaken the Zen a little bit more inside of me too.

    Thank you Mr Mike you your enlightening and refreshing word you share with us so we to can play in the springs and refresh our minds and souls too.

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