Finding Time

It’s next to impossible to find time if you never make the time.

So how do you get yourself to make it?

The motivation is somewhere in there, it pops up late afternoon in the most inconvenient time, but for some reason your body is lead and your limbs don’t seem to respond to your brain anymore. What is it that blocks you…. Some imaginary force? Well, completely imaginary actually, right up there in the brain with the rest of it.

Is that the ego?

Convincing you, “its better to just lay here and soak up the bliss of the morning fog for just a couple more minutes.”

Or, perhaps, it is a valid response to the stress and exhaustion from several days of hard work and emotional turmoil, in which case, maybe you should be taking it easy?

The only person that can truly know you, is you. As the saying goes, “Know thyself”

I happen to think that mental battle, that layer of exhaustion, the ego, whatever you want to call it, needs to be better understood in order to know what it is really coming from. Much like when training your physical body, you must know the difference between good pain and bad pain. Is that pain in your leg just muscle ache caused by the intense workout from yesterday, or is it in fact an early indication of an injury that could cause serious harm.

Both of these indicators need to be paid heed, but, while one requires rest and treatment, or even perhaps adjustment of technique. The other just requires a different set of exercises or a longer warm-up.

Its hard to know which one is which, the only way to tell is through listening, experience, and paying attention to everything that is happening internally. Your mind, your body, your spirit. They are speaking and through the mere intention of listening, your will begin to hear.

That should be your guide, only you can really know yourself and the games your mind will play.FB_IMG_1444706583738

The Gasey Dragon

I took the last several days off from classes to allow my stomach to settle down. The pain\discomfort has been mostly centralized right over my lower dantian which makes it pretty painful when trying to move FROM the dantian. When I attempted to practice it ended up just making me really dizzy and nauseous causing me to have to leave class and lay down.

So, instead of doing the form or qigong this week, my main focus has been on my meditation. The quiet relaxation seems to help my stomach considerably in the morning and I get longer sessions in since I am not fitting in the forms as well. I have been getting full half hour sessions in this week, long enough to settle the mind into the dantian and settle in to deep relaxation of the muscles to allow for healing.

Today, I got a feeling that has been described to me for a while now but has only been a rough idea in my head up until now.

There is a mental practice taught when teaching the standing meditation postures. It is meant to help relax the shoulders and back and help the muscles release into the posture so that the muscles themselves aren’t holding the posture. One of these concepts is to imagine that your wrists are resting on a pole that extends out and up from your lower dantian.

Its an odd sensation to have, the pressure, or intention, in my arms faded away and went in to the inside of my wrists. I literally felt like there was something they were resting on. The feeling didn’t last too long, but it left me feeling surprised yet again how different thoughts allow you to change way your body is moving.

These can lead the body into different states of relaxation, tension or even change how the body moves all together. That’s why it is so important to understand the intention and the mechanics behind every movement. If a concept is held differently in the head than what is actually happening it can invalidate the entire movement or even cause injury just because the idea of how your body moves that is different from reality.

Last couple days practice:

  • 30 minutes standing meditation
  • Lots of laying down and relaxing

Standing Meditation posture:



Expanding Awareness

Had a little mini revelation the other day while doing standing meditation.

I was thinking about the concept of perception and awareness. There are a huge number of things that I am aware. Hundreds of things, in fact, multiplied by every sense we have. Sight, hearing, taste, smell, thought and all of the senses going on in the body. Most of which I tune out, there is just no way I couldn’t possibly pay attention to it all.

There is a common description used when describing how to meditate, particularly applied to those thoughts that suck you in while attempting to “silence the mind”.

“Treat your thoughts like clouds in the sky. Don’t focus on one cloud, allow the clouds the drift freely through the sky. Allowing them to pass, unfettered from one side to the other”.

Well it occurred to me, that this concept shouldn’t just be limited to thought. Granted, everything in the end comes down to thought, but it should also apply to all the senses.

Getting my mind to a spot where it is aware of everything, but nothing at the same time. Allowing my perception to absorb all of my awareness and let the input flow freely into my consciousness without hitting the snags of focus.

I have been talking a lot about de-cluttering my mind lately and I feel like this little epiphany is directly related. I have started to become consciously more aware of the things that take up attention in my mind, the deeper I go, the more layers I find and the more sensitive I become to new ones forming or old ones popping back up. Slowly the layers are at least becoming more visible at each new discovery there is a level of analysis on its impacts and level of necessity.

I have been unable to completely purge facebook from my life as of, yet however. I realized it had become a fairly large form of relaxation for me and I didn’t have anything else to fill its time. So, instead of completely cutting it off, I have greatly reduced the amount I use it, or rather the REASONS I use it. I don’t allow myself to just pick it up and check every moment, I make a conscious effort to only pick it up WHEN I am ready to take a quick little mental break. Just the intention change has made a huge difference in the drain on my attention levels and has reduced the stress that just mindlessly picking it up every free moment caused.

I have taken that approach to my learning and practice as well, giving myself dedicated specific intention for each study session or practice as well as a dedicated time for relaxation.This has allowed me to feel a little more solid in the day to day. Doing this has greatly improved my focus at work as well as my tai chi practice. My mind is able to focus directly on what is in front of me and what I am actively doing, instead of what I SHOULD be learning or doing or stretched out across 8 different things.

This little milestone has actually helped me considerably this last couple days as I have started back from my vacation. I am allowing myself dedicated recharge time and am taking a little mental check-in on my mental\physical status when I feel I need to learn\do something. I only proceed if I am not feeling any level of exhaustion mentally or physically.

On top of all this, my mediation practiced has just leveled up. I am going forward with the idea that all of which I perceive is the sky and the little pockets of awareness are clouds. Floating through wherever the wind will carry them. Present, yet only conscious of them.

So far so good. Lets see how it goes!

Tuesday’s Practice:

Private lesson today. We went over the first two moves of the form in GREAT detail

  • 15 minutes standing meditation
  • 1 hour private lesson. 24 Form 1 time full. 6 times just the first two moves
  • 1.5 hours Advanced Tai Chi. 83 Form 1 time all the way through, rest of the night was learning moves 32 through 46

Today’s Practice:

  • 24 form x3
  • First two moves x4
  • 1.5 hours Dynamic Qigong
  • 47 pull ups throughout the day

Dividing The Day

I woke up today with last nights thoughts still in my head, “I am going to take a couple of days to absorb the knowledge I have gotten over the last few days.”

I woke up a little later than normal, just tying to take it a little easier and set out immediately to go have a half hour mediation session. I was practicing the “Holding the Ball” pose that my teacher and I run through and was able to achieve close to the level of relaxation in the shoulders of when my teacher was guiding me. I felt fairly accomplished and greatly relaxed, but at about the 19 minute mark I got hungry and got pulled out of it. That was fine, as my teacher said go with it, so I was off to make breakfast.

With breakfast in tow, I just sat in the front room in the quiet. It was absolutely wonderful, nice and peaceful and no input, nothing commanding my attention…Well apart from my dog who was trying to lick my face…as always. The phone was off for the day, and I had nothing that needed done at the moment. It was exactly how I wanted to start the day.

At the end of my smoothie, I had a revelation. I have the capacity to learn all the things I want to, I just need to cut the crap out and dedicate focused time towards my interests. There have been too many times in my life that I have made excuses to “Let it settle”, then end up going on a 4 day netflix binge where no conscious thoughts pass through my brain at all.

So that time is over, I would much rather cut the excess noise than to allow my brain to stagnate. The capacity is in me to be able to learn everything I want, but only if I make the smart cuts to my daily routine. Basically stop using the extra bandwidth with facebook…or random memes.

So, going forward I will be making a conscious effort to divide up more day and approach it a little less haphazardly. Starting with these general concepts:

  1. When I’m at work, I work. No phone, no facebook.
  2. When I’m not at work, I’m not at work :). No dwelling on the day.
  3. When I feel like reading something, read it. Don’t try to limit exposure for fear of burn out. Just follow my interests.
  4. When I feel like practicing something, practice it. Don’t wait for the perfect time. If you are on the bus, be the weird guy.

Todays Practice:

With a much clearer head today I was able to pick up both my tai chi magazine, and my qigong book. When I clear my head and just sit to read with me agenda everything just kind of gets absorbed without stress. So good 🙂

  • 19 minutes standing mediation
  • 1.5 hours Dynamic Qigong class
  • 40 minutes bus surfing

Follow Your Path

i was talking with my teacher about Zuan Zhuang meditation today. Mainly about the different postures I should be trying out and the mental intention I should maintain as I am practicing. it led to a great discussion about the many different forms of mediation and all the different possible combinations that have been attempted. The best thing about this particular private lesson was something he said as we were closing up the studio.

He was about to lock up the door and he stopped, turned to me and said:

“If you are ever meditating and you get bored. Stop.

Meditation should never be boring.

You should stop and try to figure out why you are bored. More often than not you will find that your mind is somewhere else, which is fine. Sometimes that happens, so, figure out WHY your mind is there.

Never force yourself in to meditation because you THINK its something that must be done. Listen to yourself and follow where your practice will naturally lead you.”

I think that is true of everything.

it’s so ingrained in us to force things to happen that we think should. Whether we saw someone else do it a certain way, or we have an idea of what we want for ourselves. That’s not what its about to me.

It’s about learning where you are naturally driven, finding that sweet spot you are pulled to. That spot you find when you aren’t working, you are playing. The place you can live for hours on hours and when you look up, the day has past and you didn’t even notice. The skill or practice you can sit to read about and your attention never wanders. Instead you sit there like a sponge, absorbing every ounce of wisdom you can until you are so tired you fall asleep on the spot. Only to wake up the next day to continue exactly where you left off.

Once you get the taste of that knowledge, you cant help but have a thirst for it. The tricky part is to keep feeding it. Because it can go away, it can stagnate if you let it. DON’T LET IT. That is you. It’s a part of you and if you let it, it will push you to achieve your highest potential. Just allow it its natural course.

Learn to listen to it, learn to feed it, to cultivate it and it will bring you vitality you never thought possible.

Whelp… Thats all I got for today :).

Todays Practice:

Met with a couple of other students in the park this morning. It led me through kind of a rushed day that ended up utterly wiping me out by the end of the day. But it was good to practice in the park in the morning. It was bitter cold from the wind, and next time I will bring pants that are a little thicker. They meet Monday and Friday. It will be rough for a couple weeks as I adjust to the new routine, but will be good to interact more with other students and be able to do push hand drills as well.

  • 15 Minutes of warmups
  • 24 Beginner form 2X
  • 83 Form up to elbow to heart
  • 1 hour private lesson. Discussions and practice standing meditation and theory

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