Friday, May 22, 2009

(Part 3) Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices

Intention, actions, and congruency, are so important. Also, understanding the need for verification as well as connecting with an “openness discovered,” what could be called by some as beginner’s mind are simply suggested keys here.

Acceptance and assessment of functional ways, and being practical at the same time hopefully are some of what I have dared to try and share here. The following is part 3 in this series. Hopefully you may find some of these suggestions in what I’m calling mindsets helpful.

Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (part 3 of 3)

Let me tell you why I believe this topic is so important and what I’ve noticed many people have missed out on when training. What I have noticed personally and with those who train and make good progress is a basic key. This key is the willingness to discover more about themselves or of themselves through being open while training for discovery... that is “in” self discovery. This is what I mean by “in” self discovery: taking time to notice, develop, change, and grow. All the while “in” being open to this knowing that this is also the type of process that changes and will evolve.

Personally, I love the way I continue finding myself returning to this, or should I say, in returning to noticing self and how what I once was has changed as well. We get the opportunity to notice and evolve and develop. In this opportunity, the chance to develop new neuro-pathways (both in the mind and the body) can be revealed. With the practice of functional discernment, there is a potential with this internal and external noticing in one’s awareness as we allow, accept, and notice change. We can both discover ourselves, and the love we have, both (I use the word “both” here as ambiguities deliberately) within and the opportunities that exist all around us... in very functional and in very real ways. Some battle with their training, some notice difficult aspects, yet finding something deeper there in one’s practice, I will suggest, is pretty outstanding, and this process is something I have noticed in those who make real honest progress.

Allowing, accepting, and noticing... keys, I believe, to unlocking the secrets of training. Noticing what is or was hard, or what we would have found difficult are things that can show us more about ourselves. Exploration of the keys to loving, discovering more of ourselves... not in some woo woo fairytale ideal of love (I know that some people have just tuned out as they read that), although I say it in a very functional and real tangible way... noticing connections. This is such a wonderful gift we can gain from training, noticing shifts with external to internal pathways in noticing as they develop and grow as we discover the potential of more of who we are. What I love about what we train in Wujifa is also this opportunity to discover more about who we are... and allow, accept, and notice this as we open the space for us to grow, develop, and change in functional and grounded ways. There are so many reasons people start exploring any art form. Knowing more about Self, for example, as one simply stands is one of those that for me has been a worthy one.

So how big is this concept of functional connection?

One reason why we train is to develop connections: developing connections in the mind as neurons grow, concepts develop, and in the body as fascial systems are discovered and structure is explored, again both, on so many levels... As I said in part one of this series and I am reminded and I will repeat again what Grand Master Chen Xaiowang often said while teaching the principle of his Taiji “one part moves all parts move.” So I will ask again, does he mean in the arms, the legs, and the body as a whole? Or, your physical body and the person you’re pushing hands with for example. Or how movement and intentions are seen, felt, noticed while sparring… or is the concept even bigger than that at some point. This I would suggest could depend on your frame (I use the word “frame” here as an ambiguity too) or the skill level of development with noticing.

I started out posting in this series, talking about some simple concepts for training and I almost hesitated at that point to mention some of this philosophy. I say that because for me it is really about the basics and verification of many, many hours of noticing and practical refinement over time. I spoke of love in this topic of connections too. Yet, so often people are willing to gloss over basics and foundational skills and choose to simply imagine progress and connections and leave the basics and the simplest of practices behind, missing a lot of good opportunities to develop and notice in the most practical ways in these opportunities found in doing their gong fu.

Keys for mental unification, as I’ve said, are often found with congruency, intention, and working simply with the basics. In being practical and if you are “willing” to stay open with your attention to connection... allowing your intention to congruently explore the development of yourself as you train basics in this fashion now... then results will commonly start showing up like fruit on an apple tree. Simply noticing, exploring deeper, being practical and no worries, forcing, or imagining in wanting to feel the woo woo stuff... Functional... is the one simple key... with the body and the mind in so many trainings and in Wujifa practice. So you want to develop internal movement more clearly then develop your fascial connections... relax and ground and get some verification... test it out... being practical about where you are... even the high level masters have pointed out that they don't always do it correctly and that is the wonderful part… to be able to discover new and deeper refinements and growth in this opportunity and in Wujifa liangong and other gongfu and qigong practices.

Hence this is why I believe... for example in practices like Wujifa stance training... it can be so very helpful to explore and notice your mindset, the frame(s) which you are looking through and how these frame(s) color everything else. People may have many different intentions... lead the Qi, quiet the mind, martial intent… I might suggest that noticing the parts like this cannot be called Wuji and/or Wujifa. Yet, when we notice connection and connecting... our intention and attention with being connected... we begin noticing everything as being one... big or small. We are where we start, and so we start where we are and grow. Hence Wujifa as a practice, method, and in principle has a lot to be explored and discovered, and reveals as much about you as you are open to... within... this kind of discovering.

Click here to read: Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (Part 1)
Click here to read: Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (Part 2)

Friday, May 15, 2009

(Part 2) Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices

There are as many different ways to train as there are different methods and frames we might choose to engage in doing. As this blog is about Wujifa practice, I’m sure it will also be bound to apply to other aspects or practices. Saying that, here is part 2 of the series and some more simple suggestions for other ways for practicing Wujifa, let’s say as an awareness practice, for an example as in standing.

Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (part 2 of 3)

Have you ever noticed how many different kinds of people there are? People have different personalities and different approaches in how they engage, how they train, and the methods of their practice. In Wujifa, let’s keep it simple and say in the practice of standing or side to side. Some people like and follow the belief that ultimately the key is in training the mind... others the body. Some would like to skip over basics and seek out and/or move right to more advanced practices or aspects. Foundations are always so important to whatever you’re building.

What I have noticed for myself over the years is “You are where you are,” and that is the simplest place to begin. Although, I want to say that it is also important to have skilled teacher’s (or teachers’) insights (we’ll leave that for another series.) Although, I will say having these insights and verifications are key for also discovering useful methods and truly making progress. At the same time, remembering that you are always the one who makes the choices is very grounding. In this choice, be honest with yourself and what you choose to do.

Personally, I believe the very basic practices are the most important, and where the most gain can be found time and time again. Simply remember, whichever door you chose to enter, the body and the mind are an important connection in whatever you do. Allowing these to connect and develop can be so helpful in rediscovering more depth in your training, motives, and overall outcome.

By noticing connections... and attuning with ones attention... and developing the options to explore the results of one’s intention with congruency one will discover these fundamental keys and opportunities. Here are some examples of ways to engage in them.

  1. A grounded Intention… Each person, his or herself, is responsible for their re-organization. Whether they know it or not, the power for change is with self. Owning this is a mind-set I believe is basic for practical self discovery and practice in Wujifa. In saying that, I will repeat that working with a qualified instructor and validating progress is also very important. It may take years to weed out the crap, as well as to understand what works for you.

  2. Experience... the body and mind "dance" in a sense that they influence each other... willingness to allow how they influence congruency is a response-ability within.... notice the word "willingness." Experiencing the dance is a key to the mindset, and for making personal progress.

  3. The Dance of Mindset… For example, trance as in Milton Ericson’s world is similar to what I’m talking about. It is more about letting the subconscious respond effectively and directly... there is a difference between zoning out while training Wujifa, and in trance, or (being "in" as in a focus that leads you to the door) entrance... allowing you to open (the entrance) to the possibility (the entrance) to change... "Notice, how, you feel"... and how you can... do this more... as you train.

Milton Ericson, in a paper titled “Hypnotic Therapy” (1948/1980b, p.461): The induction and maintenance of a trance serve to provide a special psychological state in which people can re-associate and reorganize their inter psychological complexities and utilize their own capacities in a matter and accord with their own experiential life.

More on this for those who are interested can be found at Google Books in: The Psychobiology of gene expression By Ernest Lawrence Rossi

Zoning-out while practicing Wujifa “stance” training for example is akin to, or a component of what might be called a dead-post stance. I will suggest that this willingness, this sub-conscious focus and how this engages RAS responsiveness is more about waking up, and seeing with new eyes as you train as we are walk through what I’m suggesting as the entrance as stated above. For example, notice how so many arts talk about the beginner’s mind. This beginner’s mind is or can be so helpful, as this can allow one the space to be critical in a “functional” way to what one is doing or what we are doing at the time. This is one form of personal “allowing” I find helpful, as there is always more to be revealed and discovered.

Notice... how many... useful ways... You can

Do this all the time... naturally...

Even when you notice those things… you

Might believe distract you... yet you notice

How they are really

Contributing to…

This place you find yourself

Right now

So, here is a practical simple focus one can start with: being open to noticing the feeling. Being, open is a keyword here: feelings can change as you grow and learn... also, over thinking for example, can bring too much focus, and a closing down... A “simple” focus in noticing may "ALLOW" more opening to noticing with congruency and intention to be discovered. The beginners mind, open to discovering and with the willingness to “eat bitter” (eating bitter for most people is a developed taste, and like a medicine, at times very useful), as well as the other more pleasant flavors.

The beginner’s mind I believe is so helpful in so many ways as you’re learning. Being open to discover… as it may be easier for one to have less ego attached to old habits and patterns that may hold back noticing of more useful practical aspects that could really boost progress.

I have found that self discovery and moving toward exploring this energy (I mean that in a normal everyday way) develops as we learn “how” to notice ourselves, and how we grow and change in the process. This is the unique opportunity for noticing, growing and caring for ourselves. This opportunity is not the methods themselves, but in the quiet time we take to look inward and outward (for example as we stand) and notice. Yes, that is still a method, depending on how you look at it... Yet, this is an opportunity to discover and train self discovery... within the method or process.

This is Part 2 of 3 in a series on some of the various mental unification paradigms various people use to assist in their Wujifa practice and training.

Click here to read: Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (Part 1)
Click here to read: Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (Part 3)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices Part 1

There is a Daoist saying that suggests “hide universe in universe.” Sometimes it’s the most obvious things that can the most elusive. Hence people mystify or complicate various aspects of what should be basic and self evident. In this 3 part series we will attempt to explore some simple ideas of what and where one can begin to explore this deeper aspect to training.

Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices (part 1 of 3)

Let me start off by saying that I personally consider and contemplate the philosophy that wuji is all around us, as a useful one. The awareness that everything is one, connected, and commonly be rediscovered by simple refinement practices and training. I have found that this model has been helpful and have discovered myself returning to this as one of the useful paradigms for training.

Often many, or even most people spend their whole life dividing and separating (mechanical thinking) everything into bits, objectively or subjectively separating themselves from everything, exploring connections outside themselves or even forgetting the simple practical basics, even to the extent to imagining and seek mystical connections.

It's started with a choice. Simply begin with noticing, and being responsible with accepting this concept is a good place to start. Developing and noticing of simple connections that can be resolved starting with one's self, and/or where you realistically believe you are in that moment.

In Wujifa we notice the opportunities to rediscover this connection personally in what and how we train. To the level we train is the level we can express these connections... like the theory of relativity or the big bang and the universe... the size is relative... yet noticing our simple physical connections in how and as we train... this is an opportunity for each of us... and the gift... called Wujifa... there for those of you who are willing to!

Chen style Taijiquan Master Chen Xiaowang often says “one part moves, all parts move” as the principle for practice. The method often used, for example in silk reeling start out with a very basic step-by-step procedure. Yet, as one develops, one discovers "Chan Si Jing" or silk reeling runs throughout the whole of the practices and becomes a very deep practice in and of its self. This is just one example of hiding the universe in universe. The elusive obvious and as one gains more understand one can also explore the expression within these different models and methods.

This is Part 1 of 3 in a series on some of the various mental unification paradigms various people use to assist in their Wujifa practice and training