HOW TO MAKE THE BRAIN POWERFUL

Only a fraction of the human brain is used in modern times.  We have moved our focus of attention away from those parts that make us powerful and coordinated physically and which allow us to channel the biological forces of nature through our bodies.  This leads to lower vitality and premature old age. 

When we practice Tai-chi and Zookinesis, it is essential that we stimulate the entire brain, including what is called the “reptilian brain”, or “primitive brain”.  Rather than being primitive it is an essential part of the brain.  We gradually enliven all parts of the nervous system which, in turn, enlivens the entire body.  The result is that our very perception of the world around us is sharpened.  We can perceive deeper levels and finer details of our senses and bring back senses that have been allowed to become dormant.

The process of bringing power back to the brain is most vividly experienced in the Push Hands exercise (a two person exercise in which each person tries to throw the partner off balance.  (This has been described in detail in other “weekly lessons”).  But you can use the techniques of Push Hands in everyday life in ordinary situations. 

As we practice Push Hands we experiment with “seating” our attention in various parts of the brain.  As an example, we concentrate on the lower rear part of the brain which is the reptilian brain.  As you are about to push the partner you may notice that your attention jumps forward which causes your entire body to lunge forward.  This allows your partner to turn to the side and allow you to fall forward.

The dynamics of your attention can pull your own body off balance.  An important principle in Push Hands is to keep your attention centered.  You generate the force to push the partner through “internal” movements of your body.  This consists of moving individual joints and muscles in relationship to each other but not allowing the whole body to lunge back and forth.  The result is similar to break dancing moves in which the body undulates, sending waves of force through itself, but the body remains in a centered position. 

This can only be achieved when your attention is centered.  If your attention is concentrated in only certain parts of the brain, the frontal lobes for example, then it is already off center.  You are already off balance as far as your attention is concerned and then your body copies that pattern of poor balance.  The body reflects the pattern and quality of your attention.  If your attention jumps around a lot, then your body will exhibit excess movement. 

You can practice spreading your attention throughout your brain in the Push Hands exercise, your Tai-chi forms, Zookinesis exercises or any other activity.  This practice will enable you to keep your attention full and balanced in the brain in your everyday interactions with people.  I guarantee that you will amaze yourself with how calm and powerful you feel when you keep the reptilian part of your brain energized in interpersonal interactions.

Rather than paying attention to the reptilian brain from the frontal lobes, try having the reptilian brain as the seat of attention and looking out from it.  Make believe that right in front of the reptilian brain there is a window and you are looking out that window.  The window is in the middle of the brain (back to front) and at the bottom of the brain.  You may feel both your body and your breathing relaxing.  You will feel more connected to your surroundings and more secure. 

This exercise does not cut off your frontal lobes (the intellectual part of the brain) but includes them. Your attention will feel more centered within the entire nervous system.  The quality of your attention will be more relaxed, sharper and stronger.  Your body will be able to respond more accurately to the changing condition around you.  You can see that energizing the reptilian brain is essential for practicing Push Hands.  It is also essential for living a more powerful and effective life. 

You begin to look at the dynamics and qualities of attention in other people as if you were a healer diagnosing a patient.  Your understanding of these qualities in others gives you a deeper understanding of their resultant behavior which in turn, gives you more options of how to respond to them.  If they are off balance, then you own balanced state can help them to become balanced.  Their attention responds to the qualities of your attention as one tuning fork vibrates when another one next to it is sounded. 

On the other hand, you can avoid having your own attention thrown off balance by the unbalanced state of their attention.  You see the underlying mechanisms of the interaction and can avoid the pitfalls.

It’s amazing that simply by bring the focus of your attention to a different part of the brain and “looking out” from there, you can change the whole dynamic of your personal life.  It is so easy to try and the results are so obvious. 

This is the type of training you would receive in what is called a “mouth to ear” transmission of teaching, such as Zookinesis.  This means a tradition that is taught from teacher to student through long term, disciplined training, rather than from books or shallow training.  There is a whole world of such training methods.

Once you become comfortable with looking out from the reptilian brain, you then create other foci of attention.  Examples – a point on the palm between the third and fourth finger and one inch down, the point on the bottom of the foot at the rear of the ball of the foot and centered between the left and right side, the coccyx bone and the tan-tien (an area just below the navel in the center of the body).

You concentrate on these spots to either energize or relax them as you do Push Hands.  The patterns of energizing and relaxing in these areas create different alignments of the body and affect the flow of forces through the body.  This allows you to send force out into the partner while keeping the body still.  The result is that the partner is thrown back and it doesn’t seem as if you did anything.

If you could not access the reptilian brain then you simply could not create and coordinate these multiple foci of attention because your attention would not be centered.  This is part of what is known as “Taoist alchemy” which is the basis of Tai-chi and Zookinesis.  Taoist alchemy is the inner work to bring back your mind, body and spirit to full functioning.

From that inner point of view you can perceive sources of energy that are normally invisible to us.  You realize that our culture is not built on a foundation of “whole brain experience” or what I call “whole body attention”.  Anything outside of our modern cultural perspective is considered to not exist.  And so, while we may have perceptions and feelings of these sources of energy, we ignore them in order to feel emotionally secure.  We need to feel part of this culture.  It is like a child grabbing onto his parent’s leg, fearing to venture too many steps away.

The mouth to ear training allows you to take those steps and to understand the inner experiences which you have ignored up to now.  In this way a whole new world is revealed which allows your life to make much more sense.  Your culture, which previously caged your perceptions, now is seen in a wider context. 

You can begin this training by yourself simply by massaging the rear of your head several times a day to make it easier to pay attention to.  Remember that the goal is not to pay attention to the rear of the head from the front of the head.  The goal is to “seat” the attention in the rear of the head (as an exercise) and then to eventually fill the entire brain with attention so that the attention is balance. 

Paying attention to the rear of the head is only the first (but necessary) step.

I’m sure you will have many questions and comments about this type of training.  Feel free to use the “comments” section to the left of this article for your questions and comments.

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