Posts Tagged ‘relationships’


It may seem that we have lost the power to improve our lives in these tough economic times.  Many people have heard that Tai-chi and Zookinesis help you develop more power in your life.  This training was developed at a time when everyday life was hard, without the benefit of modern conveniences.  It developed the strength and power within an individual so he could be more powerful in his everyday life. 

Yet the teachings seem mysterious to us in modern times because we have a different understanding of what power means.  We think of power as just earning more money, controlling the behavior of others or developing larger muscles.  When a potential student hears that Tai-chi teaches you to develop internal energy (“chi”), he immediately thinks of science fiction stories of shooting rays of energy to conquer enemies.  We take very sophisticated ancient training and make them seem silly. 

The term “internal energy” refers to the way that what is going on inside of you influences what happens in your life.  It means that your state of health and emotional balance is the most important influence on your power to improve your life.  I show below a way of explaining this that I use in my classes.  It hopefully retains the flavor of the ancient way of writing while making the principles described above, understandable to our modern minds.

Some students want to learn to concentrate and direct their energy.  I teach them to release their energy and let it go where it wants.  The students wants to gain power.  I teach them to stop interfering with their natural power.  Some want to win the heart of a lover.  I teach them to release their heart and let it go where it wants.  Some want to live in a beautiful house.  I teach them to become alive in their bodies. 

When you are alive and vibrant, your consciousness seeks to expand and to connect with the world around you, and so you live in the world, and are alive in the world.  It is your living energy, merged with the world around you that makes that world beautiful.  When you withdraw your feelings from the world around you, the world itself feels dead.  When you withdraw your feelings from your body, your body feels dead. 

Your life then becomes divided, one part withdrawing, and the other part wanting to be released so it can join the world.  You then seek to acquire things of the world.  In this way you can remain separated from it, yet claim ownership over part of it. Owning something takes the place of really being part of it.  

Your relationships with people are no longer based on releasing yourself to the other, and receiving them, but rather on agreements and arrangements.  You originally withdrew to protect yourself from the unpredictable behaviors and intentions of others, yet wound up damaging yourself by being disconnected from the vibrancy of life.  Tai-chi and Zookinesis teach us that the state of withdrawal is so prevalent in our society (and in many others past and present), that we have forgotten how it feels to be connected.  Some of us have even forgotten how to let another person completely into our souls.  We have “hesitant” relationships. 

Tai-chi and Zookinesis teach the art of “letting go” (releasing).  At a certain point you feel the flow of energy within the body.  You realize that you are “holding” that energy, or we say, “locking it up”.  Even our attention (consciousness) seems to be locked into patterns of thinking.  At another point in the training, that energy suddenly “jumps the fence” and seeks to merge with your surroundings.  It is a startling moment because you realize how much “locking up” the energy has hurt you previously. 

Your consciousness now joins the “consciousness of nature” just as the water of a stream joins the water of a river and then the water of the ocean.  You feel a member of life.  Your thinking and behaviors are no longer so patterned, but are more creative.  Once your consciousness fills your body and the world around you, your life is felt more intensely.  Every cell of your body is like the string of a stringed instrument, which is played by the beauty of the world around you.  Your attention is attracted to beautiful things and thoughts rather than to worries and anger, and so your life goes in a new direction. 

This is all accomplished by learning how to release your energy (“chi”) and consciousness and let it go where it wants.  You will feel like you were a caged animal that has now been let loose into its natural habitat.  The cage of fear is no longer your home.  I have a rabbit who lives in a cage in the house during the winter.  When I let it loose from time to time, it seeks the “shelter” of a stool I use to hold a plant.  The rabbit stays within the four feet of the stool.  It has been let loose yet seeks the security of something that looks like his cage.

When the student’s energies have finally been released, there is a tendency to seek a new “cage”.  He seeks philosophies and “truths”.  Tai-chi is not really a system of truths.  It is a way to become re-connected to nature and to other people.  It is a simple, practical teaching that does not get involved in abstract philosophy. 

The goal is to understand yourself – to see yourself.  There is a saying, “See yourself, be yourself, appreciate yourself.”  See all your patterns and see your creativity.  Don’t try to twist yourself into someone who is “approved of” and turn into a fake version of yourself. 

And then appreciate all the efforts you have made in your life to survive in this world, to understand the world and to be creative in the world.  Appreciate your biological aliveness and how you are connected to nature.  Appreciate the creative efforts of others and be sympathetic to their lack of perfection (as well as to your own). 

Understand that other philosophies are also a way of understanding yourself and releasing you from self-imposed prisons.  Don’t seek them as the security of yet another cage.  Seek nature in your surroundings and in people.  Step out of your own way so that the now invisible world of creative energy can be perceived.  Let that be your new home. 

Remember that nature is creative.  Nature is vibrant.  Tai-chi also teaches that nature is conscious. The qualities that you seek for yourself are already in you because you arose from nature.  When you release your energy, your attention, to nature, you enter the flow of creativity, vibrancy and consciousness.  As much as you release, that much and more flows back.  So the teaching of “letting go” is the path to power.


A newborn is completely dependent on the people around him or her.  The behavior patterns of the people around him gradually imprint themselves on his behavior.  At a certain age he begins to exert his independence to break free from the control others have over him.

As an adult we must balance our connection to our surroundings with our creative individuality.  The skill of creating this balance is key to our power and fulfillment in life. 

A musician in a band, for example, must have skill both in playing his instrument and in allowing the other band members to connect with his playing, thus playing his instrument through him.  In this way there is a balance between synchronizing his playing with the others and creatively leading the music.

Each musician “gives life” to his or her instrument and feels that his fingers, his breath (depending on the instrument) and even the instrument itself have a life of their own.  He feels that the instrument is playing itself and interacting with the “aliveness” of the other instruments.

In this way playing in a band is similar to raising a child.  There is a struggle between the feeling of control and the desire to let the instrument or child have a consciousness of its own.  At a certain point you feel that you can just sit back and let the instrument play itself.  At a certain point you can allow the child to control his own life (maybe when he is in his thirties).

When you get involved in any relationship you go through this same process.  Each person has issues of controlling or letting the other person control and they hopefully learn to blend together.  You reproduce your early childhood with each relationship.

So how well you learn to balance the effect of external influence with your own internal creative control as a child will greatly affect all future relationships.

It may be difficult to remember how you developed as a child.  Children’s memories are recorded as “states of being” not as events in time.  Accessing each type of memory requires a different mechanism of your attention.

There is an exercise you can do that shows you how to use your attention to access childhood and even fetal memories.  I use this exercise to prove to my students that there are indeed dynamics to their attention.  In order to perform a specific conscious act you must use a specific dynamic of attention.  These dynamics are the “secrets” that ancient teachers taught to their advanced students.  It is a large part of Zookinesis training.

To do this exercise requires that you have some basic awareness of the feeling of attention itself and its movements.  It may take years of training to get even to that point.

So here is the exercise.  First remember a specific event in your life that happened at least two years ago.  Spend one minute remembering the event and when it happened.

Next remember a state of the body.  It can be sad, happy, surprised, relaxed, agitated, warm, cold – any specific state.  It must NOT be related to any specific event or time.  Feel that state for about a minute. 

Next do each again but this time notice if your attention moves up or down and if it relaxes and opens up or if it compresses.  Use the same event and body state as you did before.  Write down what your attention does for remembering the event and for remembering the state of the body. The results should be the same for everyone as long as you are familiar with what attention is.  You can read many of the lessons on this site to learn about attention.

I will not tell you what those dynamics are for this exercise so I don’t prejudice you (but you can email me and I’ll let you know).

If we can become aware of these dynamics we can develop skill in their use.  We can use this skill to become much more aware of the world around us and how to interact with it.  We will see aspects of our everyday world we were not aware of before.

Infant and fetal memory can be accessed easily so we understand how we tried to make sense of this world and fit into it.  Some of the solutions we came up with were useful and some ineffective.  To what degree do we shut out the world around us and how does that affect us?  To what degree are we too vulnerable and how does that harm us?

Once we gain awareness of these mechanisms, the awareness itself is the solution to the problems.  It is as if someone’s eyes were shut and he kept walking into things.  He spent his life remembering where everything was so he wouldn’t bump into them.  But the best solution is to just open his eyes.

Learning about the dynamics of attention is like opening your eyes.  Then you can easily balance the interplay of letting influence in (Yin) and exerting creative influence out (Yang).

There are exercises to develop each of these two parts of the balance.  When you practice your Tai-chi form, initiate each movement from the center of the body – the hip area.  Then let the movement flow outward through the legs, the torso, arms and head.  This will develop the outward flow of creative energy (Yang).  Imagine that you are in a pond and someone drops various sized and shaped rocks into the center of the pond.  The dropping of each rock is like an initiation of movement because it creates ripples in the water that flow outward.  Each movement of the form ripples out from your center (your tan-tien).

For the Yin aspect of this dynamic, allow the legs, torso, arms and head to yield to the initiated movement and reproduce its quality of energy.  You will be like the water itself that yields to the force of the falling rock.

The water on the surface of the lake is completely smooth at first as the water is relaxed.  It is like a musician who stays in the proper stance to play his instrument.  He is not grabbing the instrument with tension as if to protect it from the influence of his band members.  He does not feel territorial about his instrument but holds it in a relaxed and open way.

On the other hand, his stance is not sloppy.  That would interfere with transferring his creative energy to the instrument.  He is open and connected to the other players influence but also connected to his instrument so that it is receptive to his influence.

He is open and receptive to his entire history of development as a human being because he knows how to remember.  So the quality of his music is expressive of his entire life.

He can see how his life can really be described as a quest to learn about this balance of the dynamics of attention.  It is about the development of his soul.

When you know your soul the audience knows it, whether you are a musician or just a regular person interacting with another person.

Your soul is really the musician playing you and it plays all day and night.  For that reason it would be very helpful it if played well.