Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Training Rollercoaster: Journal Notes #113

Notes from my June 2013 Zhan Zhuang Training Journal. I train with The School of Cultivation and Practice which practices Wujifa zhan zhuang.

* Instructor's comment when I entered class: I haven't seen you this shut down in a long time. What's going on?
Me: I'm tired.
Instructor: People can be tired and still have more sparkle than you have today.

* Question: I was practicing getting the feeling of intra-abdominal pressure extending into my kua and while I can feel my intra-abdominal pressure in my abdomen, I can't feel it consistently extend into my legs.  What am I doing wrong? (The following is a summary of  what I remember.)
Answer: How often and how long are you practicing? 

Me: Maybe 10 minutes here and there throughout the day. I can't seem to tolerate much more than this. It just gets too intense for me. It's like I get burned out from focusing so much to get that feeling.

Instructor: So the reason you're not making progress is because you're not practicing enough. A reason why you may feel like it's intense and you're burning out is because you built up such a strong unconscious resistance to deeper feeling in your pelvis. When you consciously work on feeling, then you fight with your unconscious resistance against feeling. Inner struggle can be very tiring. So, let's see what you're doing.

Me: (I demonstrate.)

Instructor: You still haven't resolved or changed your deeper, underlying muscular patterning. Your weight doesn't drop cleanly through the right foot. Your right calf muscle is too tense - more tense than the left. Your right kneecap points outward and you're tensing your inner thigh muscle to pull it forward into alignment rather than relaxing the lower back and allowing the greater trochanter to naturally roll forward.
It's ironic that you wrote a book on the pelvis and yet you are still holding so much tension there.

Me: That's right. And I was honest about stating that I'm still struggling with this area. Geez! The same problems from years ago! Sounds like nothing's changed! I'm such a shitty student.

Instructor: Actually, you've become a master at micro-holding. You hold a little here, a little there. When you get one area free, then you tense somewhere else. You're doing everything you can to not let go and see where it leads.

Consider your practice over the last several years. It's like a roller-coaster in an amusement park. Sometimes you're really inspired and train well and make a lot of progress. This is like the roller-coaster being pulled up the first hill to develop momentum. Then you go down that first hill, around some curves and you're thrilled at the results. And then you realize these results, that is, what you let go of in class or when training, has ramifications in your daily life and you're afraid to follow through. And like the roller-coaster as it goes over smaller and smaller hills, you slowly lose momentum until the ride stops and you stop training. However, instead of getting back on the roller-coaster again, you walk away, literally or figuratively. You go wander around the amusement park, look at the other rides, do some people-watching, scrape gum off your shoe, tell other people about the roller-coaster and when you do think about getting in line for the roller-coaster again, because you remember how scary the adult roller-coaster was, you get in line for the kiddie roller-coaster - you train, but not with the focused determination to make changes wherever and however these manifest in your life.

You've got great potential. You have made great progress. But who's in charge of you? The what-you-want or the sub-conscious, under-the-radar fears that block you from what you want?

* When I look at or analyze another practitioner's stance and say, "It looks good to me." this is because I can only see as far as I can see.

* I'm getting stuck in a tense-relax loop. I alternate between my habitual level of tension and my habitual level of relaxation.

* Question: Why does zhan zhuang practice feel boring to me now?
Answer: This could mean that you don't want to see the depth. You're only seeing superficially and you've seen this level many times already. There is nothing new there for you. If you acknowledge that you can only see superficially, this means that you are superficial despite what you may think about yourself.
(Note: I'm a little behind on posting my journal notes because I was traveling in China for four weeks, from June 20 to July 18.)

Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: Experimenting or Avoiding Feeling: Journal Notes #112
Next article in this series: Going Places and Coming Home: Journal Notes #114