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Archive for February, 2019

THE SUBTLE BODY

Zookenisis - The Laughing Dragon

Zookenisis – The Laughing Dragon

The term, “subtle body” refers to a person, having let go of habits, tensions and trauma, now experiences what is left of himself. For each habit or attitude released, he gains an experience of himself that is his connection to the world around him. The habits can no longer claim him as their own.

Devoid of his isolation from the world, he melts into it, returning to his original state. For a while, he is disoriented, not seeing the source of his intentions. That source is “relationship” – the relationship of each part of himself to the other, in which the term, “himself” is his total experience of his existence. His intentions arise from his biological state, trying to maintain health and balance.

It is at this point that the principles of the teaching in which he is involved, must be re-enforced, to keep him from going adrift and losing energy.

At this school, I call the tradition we provide as “zookinesis” or “animal exercises”. It is the study of the relationship between the consciousness and the physical bodies of animals, which then leads to an understanding of the complex dynamics of the same relationship in humans. While I teach Tai-chi and Qigong, there are many approaches to teaching these disciplines from strictly traditional to the modern “conventional” approach. I prefer the strictly traditional. My term, “zookinesis”, while sounding modern, is actually a reference to the original tradition.

The student then, lives in two worlds – the world of separation and a battle of programmed behavior – and the natural world. He must be able to live in both because, practically speaking, we need to be able to function in the world most people live in. Yet those habits cannot be allowed to control him. One of the ways habits control him is that they affect the senses.

Zen Koan: “Give your flesh to your mother and your bones to your father and show me your original face”. You can think of the bones as the habits and conditioning. The flesh would be the way these habits affect how you actually see things. The world looks, sounds, smells and feels different each time you let go of some habit. The world, including your experience of yourself, becomes fluid.

That fluidity is the living quality of the world. Most people try to stop the fluidity as if we were preparing a slice of muscle tissue on a slide so we can view it through a microscope. They want the world to stay in place so they don’t have to deal with its complexity. The zookinesis teacher (or teacher of any other training) convinces the student that the fluidity is extremely beautiful and is life itself. “Fixing” each moment in time (as you would “fix” a tissue slide with a stain) is not as fulfilling and not an effective way to live your life. In fact it is really the “living dead”.

Such training can only be taught individually as it is not just a question of memorizing movements. I also do “energy healing” in which I physically re-align the student’s body structure and energetically re-align their flow of energy (chi). In reality, I am just removing the effects of the habits, attitudes and programming so the body and energy can do their natural thing.

The result is that the student feels very “light”, free, energized, aware, creative and connected to the rest of life. “Zookinesis” isn’t just exercises imitating animal movements, it is a return to our biological selves, which of course is spiritual. The “spirit world” we then enter is not a different world; it is just a world that is not warped by our habits, attitudes, programming and fears. It is a very “light” world, yet very dense with life.

The “subtle body” is the living body that is completely connected to the living world.