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THE PRIMAL STATE

The immediate goal of Zookinesis training is to re-experience the primal state – the biological state of consciousness.  At this level of awareness the world you experience is very different and you have more power.  You understand the connection of your consciousness to that of all other people and all living things.  You instinctually know how to use those connections. 

The development of civilization seems like an effort to escape this primal state of consciousness and develop one based on the thinking mind alone.   In the effort to “evolve” culturally, we have abandoned the primal state.  The philosophy of Zookinesis suggests that the development of the thinking mind should not be a substitute for the “primal mind” (or “Body-Mind”) but that both can be fully functional and work together.

From the perspective of the thinking mind we are each separate from each other.  When you operate from the primal mind it is startling to discover that the power of the connections of consciousness between people makes the thinking mind’s perspective of separateness a very shallow perspective indeed.

By a “connection of consciousness” I don’t mean that we talk together and hear each other’s opinions.  I mean that consciousness itself is not separate within each individual but forms a continuous flow which activates all living things.  The consciousness in you is the same as the consciousness in a squirrel, but of course each species and each individual uses this force differently.

Once you can actually perceive this, by entering into the primal state, then you have much more power in your life.  You can understand other people better.  You understand the dynamics of how to channeling the force of consciousness through the physical body.  You understand that many physical problems arise from problems with these dynamics.

Perhaps most importantly you see that your fundamental identity and power as a human being does not come from your opinions and behavior patterns.  These are not you.  Your power comes from maintaining the connection between the primal state and the “cultured state”. 

We have made the mistake of trying to culturally evolve away from animals.  But our nature, as this human animal, is to develop both our thinking and our biological health.  Zookinesis, which is a Taoist training, describes two forces which continually interact to empower our lives.  One force is consciousness or “attention”.  It is pure awareness.  The other force is creativity.  When the thinking mind, which is really a set of patterns, has too much power, then our lives become too patterned and we feel trapped. 

When creativity and attention are balanced, then we can see our situation in life in many ways and choose which perspective has more power. 

In the primal state for our species there is a balance between the scientist or religious purist part of us, who knows everything as absolute fact, and the story teller who understands that the way we see the world is a reflection of the stories we believe in. 

For a primal state human stories can change, and he seeks those stories that empower his life and the lives of those around him.  He is not afraid of the stories of other people. 

But everything starts with re-experiencing the primal state.  From this state of balance, the fixed ideas of the mind and the story telling of creativity can play with each other. 

Once you see the world through “primal eyes” then you truly comprehend what a huge part of our lives we have lost.  You understand that many of our emotional problems and bad feelings are just a reflection of our deep inner loss of the primal state. 

With the primal state returned, we become more creative, adventurous and willing to create a grand, powerful story of who we can become. 

Fortunately it is not difficult to achieve this state.  With proper training, progress is steady and new worlds constantly open up before you.  In my classes I have to be careful not to let the students spend too much time telling me about the new experiences they have had that week.  Although I love to hear about these things, I feel that I am being paid to teach them and want to spend as much time actually training them as possible.  Yet it is wonderful to hear about their increasing joy for life and the great improvements in their lives.  They now seem “fully human”.  Instead of battling against the world, they now can see that their life situation is a result of their internal dynamics.  By gaining creative control over those dynamics they gain control over their lives. 

Zookinesis gives them the nuts and bolts of how to do that.

HUNTING FOR ATTENTION

I used to spend a few months at a time in the jungles of Central America, hunting for unusual reptiles.  They were used for research programs to study how to develop captive breeding colonies in case the species became extinct in the wild.  When you first walk through a jungle you don’t see the animals.  They are camouflaged.  It takes a while to recognize them.  Once you are used to seeing them, you realize the jungle is filled with animals.

There is a similar problem in working with your attention.  When you practice Tai-chi and Zookinesis, attention is perceived as a force which energizes the body and connects it to all living things.  The development and refinement of attention is a large part of the practice.  But we usually associate attention with the head, specifically the eyes.  To most people, attention just means what direction your head is aimed.

To detect the camouflaged force of attention, the Tai-chi forms require that the head remain in an aligned position with the rest of the body.  This means that you cannot look from side to side or look down to see where your feet are going.  Yet you must pay attention to your stepping so the foot will land up in the correct position.  To do this, you pay attention to the flow of momentum going into the leg, to the feeling of weightedness of the leg and to the way in which the step affects the joints of the body so the body stays aligned. 

You can do this with your eyes closed because you are paying attention to feeling instead of to seeing.   When you begin to step you do not focus your attention on the sight of the foot moving to the floor.  You focus on how the momentum flows through the body and how all the muscles and joints of the body participate in sending out the leg.  Each movement of the Tai-chi form requires this same whole body attention.

The forms also require a certain type of breathing.  You generally breathe in as you move forward and expand and you breathe out as you shift your weight back and sink into the ground.  The timing of the breath must be paced exactly with the timing of the movements.  Your attention must be on the relationship of all the muscles and joints of the body as well as on the breathing. 

When the momentum sinks into the legs, it moves down past the feet into the ground, then circles and comes back up.  When you rise, the momentum flows out through the head and arms.  Your attention follows the momentum as it moves out of and back into the body.

In this way you break free from the attention being disguised as the head and eyes.  You now experience it as a force mediating all the actions of the body and the breathing and connecting you to your environment.

You practice strengthening the attention.  You practice making the attention agile so that it can actively mediate all the parts of your body to keep you properly aligned.  Attention becomes a living force.

Your attention becomes so strong that it cannot be controlled by outside influences that are vying to control you.  These influences may be other people, advertisers, politicians, religions and philosophies.  You remain free and independent. 

You also start to perceive how these various groups are in a battle to control your attention and you begin to understand how people can be made to do things they would normally not do. 

Simply by requiring you to keep your head aligned and to keep your eyes looking forward, Tai-chi starts you on a path that eventually leads to your ability to see dynamics at play in our society, which you never noticed or understood before. 

There are many subtle aspects to this training that yield big results.  It is important for the student to understand these underlying principles.  It is even more important for the teacher to understand them.  If you do not understand then you are learning and you are teaching blindly. 

Once you can detect the patterns and qualities of attention of other people, you can understand them better.  You see how their patterns, which are usually habitual and not free and spontaneous, control their behavior.  You can say to yourself, “That pattern is them.  It is not me.”  You can avoid playing into their habitual patterns of behavior.

The Tai-chi and Zookinesis teacher consciously teaches with these principles in mind in order to lead the student to freedom and to personal power.  One of the purposes of these weekly “lessons” is to remind both students and teachers, of these underlying principles so they don’t think of Tai-chi and Zookinesis as just memorizing movements.

BEING AFRAID

The ability of fear to control behavior is an impediment to developing the full power of your attention.  As you develop the sensitivity of your attention you will notice many things that you were too dull to notice before, such as the flow of energy in the world around you.  This new awareness may trigger fear because it is an unexpected perception.  You may turn that perception into something familiar in order to make it more comfortable to you.  If you experience energy around another person, you may turn it into seeing a color around the person and call it an aura, for example.  You may not be ready to experience the energy directly as such. 

Most of what we experience through our senses is our own interpretation.  When we experience sight, for example, we are experiencing two tiny spots of light, one in each retina.  The impression of experiencing a large scene in front of us, filled with very solid objects is our interpretation of those spots of light, based on prior experience.  This keeps us rooted into experiencing what we expect to experience (what I call the “Echo of Expectation”). 

With a practice such as Zookinesis or Tai-chi you must allow yourself new experiences.  As you experience new things, such as the flow of energy (chi) you may be uncomfortable because you are in “new territory”. 

When a student tells me that he is afraid to experience these new things I tell him this:

First of all you are not afraid.  By saying you are afraid you are saying that what you are, is fear.  You are identifying yourself as fear.  “I am afraid” rather than “I am Joe”.  The truth is that you are perceiving or experiencing fear, but you are not that fear.  So you are experiencing fear and the new experience that you believed caused that fear.  You tell yourself a story.  “I must not feel fear.  If experiencing chi causes me to experience fear then I must not experience chi.”

You emphasize the importance of not experiencing things.  In Zookinesis and Tai-chi we emphasize experiencing things in as much detail and clarity as possible.  So you can experience the chi and experience the fear as well.  Don’t push the fear away.  Pay attention to it.  How does it feel in your chest, in your back, in your arms, etc.  Get to know the feeling of fear.  At the same time, get to know the feeling of chi.  It is all right to experience two things at once.

Emphasize getting to know your experiences and realize that you are not those experiences.  You are that which experiences.  Fear is just another experience.  It may make sense to avoid dangerous situations but that is not the same thing as avoiding a situation because you experience fear.  The feeling of fear may suggest to you that there is a danger, but then look at that danger and decide for yourself whether the danger is real.

If you are afraid of trying something new because you may fail, for example, you know very well that that is silly.  Yet the feeling of fear keeps you trapped.  In this case, get to know the feeling of fear and know that you are not the fear.  The more clearly you see the fear the more you know it is not you. 

From then on fear will serve to warn you of possible danger but it will not trap your behavior.  It will help you rather than hinder you.

HOME OF ATTENTION

This week’s lesson at the Long Island School of Tai-chi-Chuan is about the home of the attention. We usually experience our attention as originating from our head and then going to what we are paying attention to.
In Tai-chi, each part of the body has attention. Attention is experienced as an energy flowing through us. The energy of attention brings each cell and organ alive so that each part of the body is aware.
Rather than moving our attention from the head to the foot, for example, our foot must be aware of itself. When we practice Push Hands or Sparring (Free Fighting), each part of the body is like the member of a basketball team. Each is independent and full of skill and awareness. Yet each is also very aware of every other member of the team and functions in harmony with the team.
Our job, in Tai-chi, is to magnify the attention of each part of the body and to connect each part to the rest of the body. Then, we become more spontaneous in our activities and skill seems to come when needed. In this mode, we do not need to switch our awareness first from one thing, then to another. The whole body is aware of all the intricacies of the situation, the state of readiness of each muscle of your and your partner’s body, the state of balance in each of you, etc. One part of the body can do one thing while another does another thing. Your body is a team.
I find the Zookinesis exercises to be essential in teaching this type of awareness. Without that training, Tai-chi would be very difficult to learn on a higher level. So the “home” of the attention is in each cell, each muscle, bone and organ of the body. We call these “homes” of attention, “Body-Minds”. In Zookinesis mythology they are called, “The dragon’s lair”.

THE ELEMENTS

“The Elements” are the basic philosophical tool of Taoism. It is the language by which the philosophy is described. This week, I will discuss the element of metal. It is the element of will and spirit. I can describe metal with a discussion I had with a student this week dealing with his overweight condition. He explained that many people suggest diets to him but he already knows what he should be eating. The problem is that the food (or substitute whatever addiction you may have such as excess worry and thinking, smoking etc.) has control over him.
I explained that the idea behind the element of metal is that pure metal has to be smelted from rough ore. There may only be a small amount of the desired metal in the ore and the rock ore must be burned at very high temperatures to extract the metal. Once extracted, it is shaped, sharpened and polished into a sword with a very fine edge.
The element of metal represents will. You know what you must do, yet there is a multitude of feelings inside you pulling you in many directions. It feels like walking through fire. There are behavioral habits and fears. To deal with each of these feelings would be like unravelling the Gordian’s knot. Gordian was an ancient king of Phrygia. The knot created under his reign was to be undone only by the person who would rule all of Asia. Alexander the Great “undid” the knot by slashing it in half with his sword.
Within our bodies, there is a Gordian’s knot of emotions and mental patterns. To spend our lives unravelling this knot might not be the best use of our time here on earth. We can smelt the ore of will and then shape, sharpen and polish it so that it can cut through all the inner nonsense.
This type of will is not forceful, nor is it stubborn. It is a quiet, relaxed will, like a mountain that stands for hundreds of thousands of years yet there is a vitality of life within the forest covering that mountain. It is difficult to know what will is. We look for force and aggressiveness but that is not it. We look for anger and stubbornness but that is just anger and stubbornness.
The will of metal is gentle yet powerful and that is the quality we need to look for within ourselves. Tai-chi has often been described as metal wrapped in cotton, soft and yielding on the outside yet resolute on the inside.
Can we remain on the path of eating healthy food, for example, without beating ourselves up? I find that if we are part of a training system that we understand, it is easier to exert this gentle will. Zookinesis is a very effective tool for weight control. Its simple exercises bring the attention down to each muscle and joint so that your attention is evenly distributed throughout your body. Your attention becomes joined to the feeling of health within your body more so than to those emotional and mental patterns which are based on fear.
The will you develop is the yearning for each cell in the body for health. It feels as if each cell has a sword and all the cells together constitute an army ready to fight for your health. When you practice Tai-chi sword fighting, the sword is gentle – that is, it is thin and agile. You don’t hit your sword against the opponent’s sword or your sword will break. You flow along the opponent’s sword and slice through the openings.
The will of metal relects this light, agile inner state. The heaviness of your inner fears has no effect on it. Zookinesis exercises develop this light agility which penetrates not only to your physical movements but to your inner feelings as well. This allows your “inner sword” to repeatedly be immersed in the smelting fire and come out even stronger each time.
The Push Hands exercise sharpens your will by testing against another person. If you use too much aggression, you will tense up and be ineffective. If you are too soft, you get pushed over easily. You develop an edge between these two qualities.
Practicing the animal forms is the polishing. These forms express the qualities of the various animals and gives your spirit a sheen. Before you are about to eat, remember the quality of your spirit. Smelt your sword, refining the feeling of your will out of the general chaos reigning within you. “Bring” your sword to the table. (You may even carry a little replica of a sword with you at all times to remind you of your teachings).
Then when you eat, remember that each little cell of your body, each with its own little sword, is eating with you. We all know that we should be eating good quality food but we need to create our sword of will. The elements are a way of teaching us about the many types of inner power we have and how our training develops this power. Our addiction will have less and less hold of us as our power develops. I think this is much better than switching from one food fad to another.

MECHANICS OF ATTENTION

When I worked on editing videos (back before the days of computer editing), there were four video monitors in front of me on a shelf. My eyes were glued to those monitors as I edited. Monitors have raster lines. These are the lines between the rows of pixels. After I would leave an editing session, those raster lines would be imprinted on my vision. I saw those lines for the rest of the day.
Our attention works by certain mechanical principles. A human being is capable of using the mind (attention) in many modes. Yet most people’s minds work in a very limited set of mechanics, usually only one set. The reason for this is that our culture, including upbringing, media etc. imprint a particular mechanic of attention on our minds. It is the only mode of using the mind that we know. This mode is like the raster lines of the monitors and affects how we perceive the world around us.
In this mode, we can only pay attention to one thing at a time. This is the thinking mode, in which one thought follows another. We have reduced our thinking mechanism to a digital system of “on and off”. This thinking mechanism then affects how our bodies work.
This is evident when we practice Push Hands. At first, the student can only pay attention to one small movement at a time. Then he has to learn to pay attention to the left and the right side at the same time. This forces him to be aware of the relationship between the right and left sides so that he uses one side to set up the other side. Once he is aware of this relationship, he can free himself from digital attention.
In Taoism the saying is that, “The one begets the two. The two begets the three. And the three begets the ten thousand things”. At first the attention is single pointed. Then you become aware of two things at the same time. Then you are aware of the relationship between the two. This relationship is the third thing. From then on you should be able to be aware of, and respond to, many things at the same time.
It is absurd that we use single pointed (one dimensional) attention to perceive a three dimensional world (or four dimensions including time). I call the three dimensional type of attention, “holographic attention”. It is like a field of attention, or a spider’s web, which can sense a whole area or volume at the same time.
The attention is not diffused by this. The student learns to strengthen each point on that web so that it is as strong as his whole attention was before beginning this training. The stronger and more inclusive your attention, the larger the world you can perceive.
This increase in what you perceive as you are paying attention to something, constitutes another dimension (if width, length, height and time are the first four dimensions). In ancient times, this dimension was called, “the spirit world”. One step in developing this awareness is to realize that our attention emanates mostly from the front of the head (because that is where our eyes are located). The student learns to allow attention to flow out all sides of him so that he is surrounded by a sphere of attention. This is really the natural state of a human being, but we have lost the full power of our attention. Furthermore, the attention does not emanate just from the head but from the whole body and information then flows back in to the body.
Attention, in this way, is like a drop of ink in a bowl of water. If you were to swirl the water, you could see the activity of the water by watching the movement of the colored ink Attention is released from the body and you can perceive how it is affected by the surroundings. Attention is used like a kite. You can feel the tug of the wind by holding the string of the kite.
Releasing yet maintaining a connection to the attention is a skill that takes many years. Developing fine resolution of the information coming back to you takes more years. That is why few people practice these skills. They constitute the basis of the Zookinesis practice. The goal of Zookinesis is to become completely connected to the natural environment and to be fully creative in your life with access to the full use of attention.
When the body becomes connected to nature in this way, it stays healthy and vigorous throughout your life. Each part of the body becomes aware and you feel completely alive. You also become aware of the dynamics of attention in other people and other living things. You develop the senses of the dynamics of attention and of chi (the biological energy connecting all living things). The world you perceive is fuller and makes more sense. This training is more fully explained in my books, “Movements of Magic”, “Movements of Power” and the adventure novel, “The Doubting Snake”.

YIN AND YANG ATTENTION

The principle of yin/yang can be applied to the dynamics of attention. A large part of the training of Zookinesis is to learn that attention itself has dynamics. There is a physics to the energy of attention. Each aspect of attention (its strength, agility, resolution, etc.) can be developed.
Zookinesis recognizes two ways in which attention can be used. In modern times, we use Yang attention. Our attention grabs onto things, whether objects we see or thoughts in our minds. It is an aggressive attention as if the attention was hands grabbing out through the eyes to get things.
Yin attention is different. It is like what happens to attention when you rest. Your attention just drifts and expands. Yin attention is associated with relaxation while Yang attention is associated with agitation and aggression. Both are necessary in balance. When you have too much Yang attention, you may have high blood pressure and people say you are “wound up” or “wired”. If you have too much yin attention, you may be lazy and careless and people say you are “flaky”.
You can imagine yin attention as if your eyes were the edge of a waterfall. The water is like all the things you see, and they come pouring in through the eyes and fall down into the tan-tien (an area just below the navel inside the body. This is the geographical center of the body – the balance point). You “absorb” the world around you with your attention.
Yang attention is associated with action and Yin attention with feeling and awareness. One of the problems in teaching Taoist arts is that people find it difficult to perceive and to act at the same time. Since our attention is single pointed (able to focus on only one thing at a time), we can either perceive or we can react.
There is no biological reason for this. It is just cultural. Zookinesis and Tai-chi-Chuan teach us to use all the dynamics of attention at the same time, to be able to perceive and react simultaneously. In this way you can constantly adjust to the situation. The expression “release your attention” means that you stop holding onto the attention and you let your awareness expand all around you. It feels as if your inner feelings become connected to the world around you.
This is the natural state of a human being. Being disconnected is not natural. Yet if I were to ask you if you were connected to the world around you, you might say you were. There is a difference between being connected because you can see things around you and being connected because your attention is “released” to expand into the environment. This can only be understood through training, or through extensive time spent in nature.
We get a glimpse of it when we are in love because then something flows between you and your loved one and connects you together. For many, it is difficult to experience attention separate from what you are paying attention to. Attention is not the same as thinking and it is not the computer monitor you are looking at.
At the point you do experience this, you have made great progress in your practice. Then you can begin to develop your attention. You will realize that all living things are connected to each other through the energy of attention.

THE PASSIVE OBSERVER

This practice is essential for progress in Tai-chi and Zookinesis. Each of us feels “we” are located somewhere in space. This location may be the head, the entire body, just the thoughts within our head, just our emotions or some combination of these things.

I would say that most people feel they are in their heads. This makes the rest of the body feel somewhat foreign. As I have written before, if I ask someone to pay attention to their feet, their attention will go from their head to their feet.

The passive observer training is very difficult to understand, but I will try to describe it simply. In Zookinesis it is called “living in the dragon’s cave”. The dragon’s cave is empty space. Yet within that cave lies the dragon which represents inner power and creativity. The dragon’s cave (or the “center of the world” as it is known in other cultures) is not located in space. It is the world beyond ordinary human experience. Your feeling of where you are located must be in the dragon’s cave.

To explain this better, realize that when you see the whole space around you, you are actually “seeing” two spots of light, one on each retina of the eye. The area of visual acuity is 1/8 of an inch in diameter. From these two tiny spots of light, you envision an entire scene. You compare the tiny bit of light with your memory of walking through such a “space”, you compare the light on one retina with that of the other for stereoscopic vision and do other calculations to come up with the scene.

Much (if not most) of the scene is your way of creating something out of very little information. Yet out of this tiny amount of data we get the immense world before us. In Zookinesis we have access to other perceptions – the sense of internal energy and the sense of the dynamics of attention. We can use the same inner gymnastics to put together a “scene” using these senses. This scene can give access to what is going on within our bodies.

The passive observer does not get caught up in these inner gymnastics. It watches the gymnastics to understand how we are constantly building our worlds out of our senses, our memories and our imaginations. It observes the mechanics behind the world that most of us see. The passive observer is powerful in its non-involvement with the gymnastics. Since it does not get caught up in “the action”, it can appreciate “the action”.

You, as the student, can be aware of the perspective of the passive observer and of the poor little student caught up in all the emotions and mental activities and body awkwardness. (You are both of these.) You can observe the constituent parts of your awkwardness (mental, emotional even spiritual as well as the tensions and improper use of the body).

You do not feel bad about your awkwardness because feeling bad is simply one of the constituent parts. The passive observer does not feel bad. It just observes the dynamics of feeling bad without comment. Some people feel that this practice may turn you into a cold, unfeeling person. Rather, it frees you from the prison of patterns of emotions and thinking and allows the emotions and thinking to flow from your creativity.

When you live in the dragon’s cave, this frees the dragon to emerge from its cave and live in the world. (Remember that the dragon is creativity). The greatest power of the dragon is that it can smack with its tail. When you feel bad (let’s say about not doing the Tai-chi form well), the dragon just laughs at your emotional gymnastics because they are so silly. Laughter is the dragon’s tail smacking you to wake up!

There is an extensive mythology based on animal behavior in the Zookinesis training such as the dragon described above. To put it simply, you can laugh at yourself when you can see yourself from another perspective. Comedians do this all the time. They take a situation we take for granted and describe it from another point of view that reveals the absurdity of the situation. The passive observer is that other point of view where we don’t just take things for granted. Developing the passive observer is built into every aspect of Zookinesis training and proper Tai-chi training.

REVEALING THE INTERNAL

A Tai-chi form is a way of revealing the internal dynamics of mind, attention, emotion and internal energy, in external movements. If your movements are jerky, for example, then your attention proceeds in discreet, segmental units. If you turn your head to look where you are going, then you are thinking about the future and not paying attention to the alignment of the body in the present.
 If you use facial expressions to disapprove of the move you just did, then you are wedded to the past. If you hold yourself up, with your chest and shoulders high, then you feel that “you” are the top of your body and you don’t have a good feel for your whole body. This is also true if you step by lifting your leg and hip as you step.
The teacher can see a great deal of what is going on inside of you by watching your form. On the other hand, the teacher can correct internal problems by correcting your form. The patterns and behaviors required for a correct form, then affect your internal condition. Many people have a poor feel for their position in space. They may be leaning forward or backward and think they are straight. When they are corrected, they feel uncomfortable. If they were leaning back and are corrected to be straight, they will feel as if they are leaning forward. They are surprised when they look in the mirror.
Most people think they are relaxed most of the time. Yet when their form is corrected and their upper body is finally made to relax, they feel an intense weight in their legs. Now their weight sinks through their muscles and not just through their bones. Their muscles act as a spring and their weight partially compresses that spring. Their whole body becomes springy, not stiff.
Each time the teacher points out part of their body that is tense, they are surprised that they had any tension. They are also surprised at how much weight their legs must receive when they relax the upper body. It is important for the legs to be strong because they support the whole upper body.
If the body is relaxed, then the weight sinks into the center (the inside) of the legs. The legs act as an arch under a bridge, which can support a lot of weight. The weight an arch supports must be directed to the inside of the arch or the arch will collapse.  If the knees are in a locked position, the legs are no longer in an arch position and the body becomes rigid.
The activity of the eyes are also important in the form. They should be like the edge of a waterfall, receiving the water into the pool of the tan-tien (the center of the body, about one and a half inches below the navel). In other words, the eyes are soft, receiving the sights, but your attention doesn’t grab onto anything it sees. The eyes remain at eye level and the head aimed in the same direction as the hips.
Doing the form in this way will lead to great relaxation yet alertness. It will bring you to a state of meditation. It is important to have a good teacher correcting you as you would never achieve these qualities on your own. You might have a “pretty” form but not really make any internal changes. Tai-chi requires this internal change to a more natural way of moving and living.
It is sometimes discouraging for a student to be corrected (and corrected and corrected!) The mind, body and emotions have a great deal of resistance to change. But each improvement is one step on a journey to freedom and to health. You free yourself from the patterns of behavior that have controlled your life and that alone improves your health.