Going Slow to Flow

The other day my calligraphy teacher took me to her teachers class room for my lesson.  While I was painting he quietly commented to her in Chinese that I was painting too fast.

Initially I resented his observation but kept it to myself. After class I thought about what he said. I also thought about how I’d been doing Tai Ji recently; very slow, very focused, pausing at points to feel my center and my connection with the earth, checking to see how they were aligned, taking the time to organize my whole body in whatever posture or action I was in at the time. Then thinking back to before that calligraphy class, I’d been a bit put out by a girl I thought had given me a P.T.A.

(“Permission To Approach…” It’s actually  a reference to a line from an Iain M. Banks novel called “Matter”, where a ship’s Avatar uses a signal laser in his eye to signal to another culture agent requesting permission to open communications. A very cool book though a little sad at the end as most of his books can be but none the less they have some sort of meatiness that is really nice to sink your teeth into. One thing, take the time to read them slowly. You need to read his books slowly, especially near the end, to allow his text to sink in. The easy tendency is to read too fast and then you miss it.)

I thought she’d given me an indication of interest and perhaps even an invitation but then she seemingly blew me off, or I was just being too sensitive.

Anyway, I was in a mood while painting and was trying to hide from it by painting fast, and without feeling.

There are times when I can paint fast and with feeling. This wasn’t one of them. I was painting fast but not feeling the brush and not focusing on what I was doing.

Moving slowly we have to notice what we are doing and what we are working with. In the case of using a brush I could focus on feeling each brush stroke from start to finish and also on feeling where to place each subsequent brush stroke.Moving slowly, painting slowly, it is easy to make our body and mind act like one so that our body does exactly what our mind asks it to and our mind can sense exactly what our body can do.

Moving slowly we move out of our head and into the world around us. We use our senses and as a result are no longer thinking. It’s a good way of forgetting about the things that bother us. And if we are having difficulty using our senses or controlling what we are doing, like when cleaning we can focus on little bits at a time, and repeat those little bits until we get it right-like vacuuming the same piece of run over and over again to get that one annoying piece of lint…
We just may find that in the process we get into a sort of flow. The we know we are present in what we are trying to do.

Conscious Connections: Rigid, Flexible and Disconnected

Connection

A connection joins two parts or two pieces or two ideas.

In a mechanical or physical system a connection can be rigid so that the connected parts act as one integrated unit. Or the connection can be soft and allow the parts to more relative to each other while still maintaining a “connection.”

In electrical circuits, switches can be used to “control” connections, either allowing electricity to flow or preventing it.

Creating a Center

When we look at something like a billiard ball, we can say that it has a well defined center because all the component parts of the billiard ball are connected and those connections are strong and firm. Thus when we hit the cue ball with our cue stick, the ball moves. All the parts of it move together as one unit.
It rolls along the table and depending on how we hit it, it may spin in one direction or the other as well as roll. And then when it impacts the target ball, that ball also moves.

A water bed mattress full of water does not have a well defined center. Imagine trying to move a water bed or even trying to push it. It deforms and nothing else happens unless we push to the limits of the mattresses elasticity. Ideally at this time the mattress doesn’t break, it simply shifts as we push it. Now, because it is deformed, we can say it has a center. We’ve tightened some of the connections between the parts of the water bed mattress and now we give it a center of sorts. We can push it on it and it moves.

Rigid (or Strong) vs Flexible (Relaxed)

Simple terms that can be used to denote the differences in state between say a billiard ball and a water bed are rigid and flexible.

A rigid connection allows parts that are connected to move together. So when the billiard ball is hit, the energy of the collision is transmitted to all the parts of the ball via the connections between them. As a result the ball moves.

It allows the parts that are connected to handle change together and stay connected.

A flexible connection is like the water filled water mattress. The water particles inside the mattress can move relative to each other. Freezing the water turns the water mattress from flexible to rigid. With the water unfrozen the water particles can more relative to each other and the water mattress as a whole can deflect and deform, in effect absorbing change.

Within our body, we can make the connections between the parts of ourself rigid or flexible (or relaxed). Our joints can be like a billiard ball, hard, firm, able to be pushed or moved, or soft and pliable like a waterbed, each part of ourselves absorbing and dissipating change. Our joints can also vary between these two extremes.

Tension

The main mechanism for varying our joints between being strong/rigid and flexible/relaxed is tension.

By controlling tension we can vary the state of our joints between being rigid and flexible. Our joints can then can resist change or dissipate it.

Mental Connections

This model can also be applied to our mental state.

Mental “flexibility” could be imagined as the ability to let ideas move freely relative to each other. Mental “stability” or “rigidness” could be the ability to firmly lock ideas relative to each other.

I’d suggest that one isn’t better than the other. What is more important is the ability to freely choose whether ideas are flexibly connected or rigidly connected.

Disconnect

One final concept is the idea of disconnection. This is similar to the idea of a flexible connection however it is more complete. A flexible connection implies that there is still some connection between the two related parts. As an example we could relax the elbow so that the forearm can flop around relative to the upper arm.

A disconnect is like unplugging a plug. Doesn’t matter if the switch is on or off, electricity isn’t going to flow.

Folding Time and Space or Moving Beyond Time and Space

The more we understand our body, a piece of equipment, ourselves, the people we are with, the easier it is to use our body, work with a piece of equipment, be with other people or with ourselves. The better we understand consciousness and the universe the better we can tune in to our own desires and realize them, while being in tune with all that is around us.

Moving Beyond Time and Space

Usual explanations for wormholes talk about folding Time and Space to bring to points in space-time together. We can then jump from one point to the other easily-without too much effort. The effort then is in learning to Fold Time and Space.

What if instead of folding space-time we learn to move beyond it?

The Folding Time and Space model assumes that time and space is a fabric.

What if instead of a fabric (gabardine, linen, tartan, cotton polyester blend…) space-time is a set of limits within something bigger.

We could call this something bigger “Hyper Space, Ultra Space… the Realm of all That Is.”

(If there is an even bigger realm beyond, we could instead call it “the Realm of almost all that is…”)

This would be a realm that we could move into when we move beyond time and space. This realm would in comparison to time and space be “unlimited” or “infinite.”

If this realm beyond time and space contains time and space, then there is no need to move into it, we are already in it. We are in it just in a limited fashion, like being locked in a room in a house not understanding that with a key we can access the rest of the house, and its a really huge house.

Having a model of time and space and the realm that contains it, we may be able to gain the understanding necessary to move into this space at will. The idea then is so that we can define the limits that we want to play in at will-like having access to the whole house and being able to choose the room we are in, and being able to move freely between all the rooms in the house…


The Realm of the Real and the Realm of Potential

What if the realm of the infinite has two major aspects, The Realized, Real, or Realm of the Real, and the Realm of the Yet to be Made Real-Imaginary Space or the Realm of Potential.

We could also call these the inner and the outer, yin and yang, but even this is a limited view since it too is divided into “What is” and “What is Possibly Yet to Be” and so beyond that we could model yet another realm even more unlimited that the previous two, the realm of “All That Is.”

Outside of science fiction novels (which I love by the way. Favorite authors include Iain M. Banks and Peter F. Hamilton) how does this help us?


Consciousness, Time and Space

We can model consciousness as something that is limited in time and space. It can be expanded in time, in which case we are thinking, using our mind. It can also be expanded in space in which case we are using our senses.

The more it expands in one realm the less of it there is in the other, hence it is limited. We may expand so much in one direction, say into space that we leave the other completely. We become completely present in the realm of the real. Or expanding completely into time we pop into the realm of not-yet real or field of potential.

Once we leave space-time by expanding completely into one or the other, consciousness then becomes unlimited or infinite.

What that means is that we have access to all that potential or all that sensory data.

What then?

We can choose what to do.


Choosing to Unlimit Our Selves

Limited by time and space our choices are restricted. In the direction of time, until we become infinite we only have so much processing power. In the direction of space, using our senses, our senses are limited by what is happening now.

Becoming unlimited what we can sense becomes more. Our “now” becomes bigger, we can sense a little way into the future while retaining the past at the same time. Or we know what we have to do even as we are doing it and the more present we are the more we know, the more we can handle all at once because we are unlimited.

Likewise, becoming unlimited in the realm of potential, we move beyond our limited imagination and perhaps connect to the imagination of the collective, of all.

In either case we become more powerful, more free.


How Do we Limit Ourselves?

What if we are all limited by what we think, or what we think society thinks? Forgetting about time and space, we can apply this model to ourselves. How do we limit ourselves? What are the constraints that we place upon ourselves that limit our ability to use our senses or our imagination?

Limits can be handy, but imagine if instead of having limits imposed upon ourselves we have the ability to choose the limits that we work within.

We gain the ability to choose.

That can be daunting. All that choice! But here again if we access the idea of infinity, we can choose how much we limit ourselves. We can choose limits in such a way that at whatever level we are making choices, those choices are readily apparent and easy to choose from. And if we don’t like the choices our current limits impose on us then we simply choose new limits, new definitions or a new point of view.


A General Model

Time and Space is a set of limits. These limits give us a way of experiencing the world in a way that is understandable. As a result we can learn and grow. Once we’ve learned to deal with time and space we can then practice moving beyond them, unlimiting ourselves in the same way a parent does when he or she takes the training wheels of their child’s bike.

(Watch out for that tree. Oh damn.)

Beyond time and space we have the realm of the imaginary (potential) and the realm of the real. Again this is limited, but with slightly more room to play. We might go into the realm of potential to see what we’d like to do. This is like going to a super market to pick out tonight’s dinner. Or better yet a market place in some provincial french town where you can pick up produce fresh.

Remember, this space is unlimited which means we can choose the metaphor that suits.

In so doing we can then bring what we have chosen into the realm of the real.

In the realm of the real we then use our senses while “Knowing” what we are doing. The thing we know, the thing that we have chosen to make real we can call “The Idea,” the thing that we Know.


Knowing

We pick the idea that we want to make real in imaginary space and then we use our senses while we are in real space to look for the opportunities to make the idea real. The idea could be that of a car, a backpack, a motorcycle, a website, a dating agency, a dish, a restaurant, a painting, a book, someplace we’d like to visit, something we’d like to do, the perfect mate.

Knowing what we are looking for or trying to do we can look for and wait for the opportunities to allow it to happen. We thus bring something from the imaginary to the real.

As for the “perfect mate,” because what we are looking for is another conscious entity, we can choose the qualities of the person that we want to be with and then wait for the person to appear. Or we can choose a person at random that we think we like and accept them as they are… assuming that they say yes to the first question and accept us as who we are unless we are perfectly willing to change.

In any case, when we know what we want or what we are trying to do, we can become present, we can use our senses and look for the way to make it happen. The more present we are, the more we are in real space, the less limited we are and the more likely we are to see or sense the opportunities to create the reality of our dreams.


Know What you Want

Going back to the idea of limits, constraints, money is an idea that can limit us.

We need a job to make money, or we need a business or a product that we can sell to make money so that we can go after what we want. The important thing (I believe) is knowing what we want to make money for so that we don’t get lost in an endless loop of making money without a reason for using it.

Speaking for myself, the thing I often do is think about making lots of money but not knowing what I want to do with it all.

It’s kind of like having a lot of blood and no body to put it into. Knowing the idea of what we are trying to do, we can look for the way to make it happen, and we can choose the limits or sense the limits within which it is possible to make it happen.

Another instance of ideas and limitation is in relationships.

Often times, I want to be in a relationship, but I don’t really know what I want to do in that relationship (aside from having lots of sex.) I’ve talked to people who have been part of a couple who share a common goal and then when the achieve that goal or lose it, they lose themselves, they lose the reason for being together.

So the question I ask myself now, is what is it I want from a relationship. Rather than just “a relationship,” how would I like to define that relationship?

The more women I meet, the more I am able to define what it is that I want in a relationship. And that can be true of anything, the more we experience of life in general, the better we can define the ideas that we want in our life. If we are aware of what we want out of life, we can recognize it when it arrives.

When we know what we want, we can look for the way to make it real. We become present in the idea of what we are trying to do. And even though we are limited by the idea, we can expand our consciousness in space and become unlimited in the Realm of the Real and perhaps even in the Realm of All That Is.

It’s Too Difficult

A lady asked me how I learned to mix tai ji and yoga together in my morning practice. I explained how I mainly learned them by myself using books or videos.

I didn’t mention going to teachers because for the most part I got to the stage I am at through self study.

She said that it was too difficult.

I felt my ire rise… or perhaps it was my passion.

I told her that if something is too difficult then to break it down into smaller pieces that aren’t difficult. As an example, to learn yoga, focus on one pose at a time, maybe even one a day. Learn it, feel it, practice it and each day learn a new pose. Likewise with tai ji, whether from a book, dvd or teacher, if you break it down into small bits that aren’t difficult then you can learn them and learn them well.

Of course if you are really hell bent on making things difficult then you can say that the process of breaking things down is difficult. And yes it is.

So a simple guideline is to break things down into sensible elements.

That means into pieces that you can easily describe and can feel, sense or see. There may be and often is more than one way to simplify and so you will have to make choices.

It’s too difficult.

Then go home… or give yourself 1 second for each choice.

Try it, if it doesn’t work out then at least you know. Time to try one of the other choices.

In the process you learn, you experience, and then you are able to make future choices easier.

Infinity, Consciousness, Ratio and Relationship

Infinity can mean really big, but it can also mean unlimited or unrelated.

Un-finite… undefined.

In ratios of money used vs money made, if zero money is used and a lot of money is made, (money made/money used) then the return is infinite because there is no relationship between money used and money made. The two do not relate. Or another way to look at this is that there an infinite number of ways to make money without using money.

(The reference is vaguely remembered as being from one of the Rich Dad book’s. I picked up on the fact that he said he had an infinite rate of return because he didn’t use any money to make money.)

Measuring triangles, the tangent of an angle not opposite the hypotenuse in a right angled triangle is the ratio of the opposite side over the adjacent side.

However, if that angle is 90 degrees then the tangent is infinite. We can’t have two right angles in a triangle. So what we have then is no longer a triangle. Or it is a triangle but not on a flat plane.

So in this case again infinite is undefined or outside of the boundaries of what we define as a triangle.

Mass and Energy

When something with mass approaches the speed of light it gets heavier and heavier. It’s mass get’s very big. (The energy used to speed it up adds to its mass.)

(An unlimited amount of energy… this doesn’t necessarily mean lots of energy, it just means unlimited… undefined, unrestricted, perhaps in the way that a river that is un-damned is relatively unrestricted.)

It gets so big (almost infinitely big) that it then would require an infinite amount of energy to make it go any faster.

What does this mean? That the mass or the energy are no longer relative to time and space as we know it. Or something that is moving really fast relative to something else moves beyond time and space into the realm that contains them both but is beyond them.
We could call this space “hyperspace” or “all that is.”

Speed Through Time and Space

From another point of view, the faster something moves the more it is in space and the less it is in time.

Its speed through both is constant, the speed of light.

So when something does cross that boundary into the speed of light, it moves out of time completely. If that something is all in one dimension (and it could be time or space) then for it there is no longer a relationship between time and space. Again we can guess that it moves into a realm that is beyond them both, or is unlimited by this definition.

Consciousness in Time and Space

What if consciousness is something we can define as being able to expand in time or in space but because it is limited, the more it expands in one dimension the less of it there is in another.

Suppose at the limits, completely expanded in time or completely in space, it moves beyond the limits and becomes unlimited or infinite. We could model this as the state where it has the potential to connect to everything, be one with it.

We can think of thinking as our consciousness being expanded in time and when we are using our senses, feeling, that is when our consciousness is expanded in space.

The more we are in space, the more present we are, the more we sense.

The more present we are the better we can use our senses and the easier we can respond to what we sense. We can respond based on having a clear idea of what we are trying to do.

Clear Ideas and Knowing

If we have a clear idea of what we are doing, if we know, we don’t have to think. Instead we can do. As a result we can act with one that is all around us. We can sense change as it occurs and respond to change, like a flock of birds or school of fish turning in sync.

One reason they might do this is that they are all using their senses and the same sensory data is made available to them at the same time. Used to flying or swimming in groups they respond in such a way that the group moves together as one.

Soldiers trained together and unified with a simple clear idea of what they are trying to do can work together in the same way. (Or at least that is the way it appears in movies.)

Super Sentience

By using our senses that we can approach this state of super sentience. Rather than being limited by thought, by thinking, by time based consciousness, we become unlimited. We can respond as change happens.

Doing yoga or tai ji, this can mean moving slowly and smoothly so that we can feel our body as we move and so that we can make adjustments as we go. Once we’ve got a feel for our body we can carry this feeling into doing the same action fast and smooth.
Initially we can practice feeling parts of our body and how they relate. In this case we define finite elements within our body.

Once we can feel and control these finite elements we can then integrate them and feel our body as an integrated and undifferentiated whole. We can differentiate when things go wrong or when we notice parts of ourselves that aren’t flowing smoothly.

But this can apply in any other venue of “doing.” If we find a way to use our senses then we can find a way to move beyond time and space and connect to all that is.

Clean As You Go-A Guide to Entering the Flow

Have you even been in a forward bend (while doing yoga), and all of a sudden you notice your toes and how dirty they are, or your toes nails need clipping, a scab needs picking or other such thing.

Doing yoga we tend to notice our body. We give ourselves the time to notice what we don’t normally look at and as a result we see the parts of ourselves that are less than clean from neglect.

Noticing our body, we notice what needs to be cleaned. While cleaning, to do a good job we notice what we are cleaning.

In either case, doing yoga or clearing, we can become present, even if a little distracted.

As an example, while sweeping the floor we notice where the dust has gathered in the corners or on the edges of quarter board. We notice crumbs under the couch, the discarded pizza way too old to nibble on, a ten dollar note (not quite enough for a movie,) those missing socks and someone else’s mouldy underwear-also not good to nibble on. Cleaning the car, a motorbike or piece of machinery that we use for pleasure or for work of for both we may notice lose nuts or bolts or pieces missing or parts in need of adjustment or refurbishing or replacing.

Noticing these things we can take care of them. As such we can keep what we are working with in good working condition and we can fix things before things get bad and we can use it as a way of keeping things from getting bad because we can see when things are about to go wrong.

(If we take the time to remove that pizza crust before it goes mouldy we prevent the onset of a bad smell.)

Sweep Away Yesterdays Problems

One of my inspirations for this article was an article by a sword smith who talks about cleaning the shop every morning. He mentions that it is a way of sweeping up the problems of yesterday so that we can deal with the problems of today. It inspired me to start cleaning more regularly and to make it a part of my morning routine.

To make cleaning simpler, I like the idea of cleaning regularly. Rather than one big round of cleaning I do little bits at a time. One day I’ll do the living room, the next day the bedroom and so on.

On the other end of the spectrum we can leave cleaning as a once a month, bi-yearly or yearly project where we put everything else aside to get on with the task of cleaning, reorganizing or improving. If we do this, one of the ways that we can make this job easier is to work as neatly and as organized as possible when we are not cleaning so that we save ourselves the task of having to sort everything out.

As an example, here in Taiwan we can keep our receipts from any sales transaction and every two months check the receipt numbers to see if we’ve won the lottery. (It’s a way that the government encourages shop owners to record transactions.)

Over the course of two or three months you can collect a lot of receipts and if you  just bung them in a pile its a real pain in the ass to organize them and then check the numbers. Easier to bundle them as we get them so that we can check them quickly, pick up any winnings (damn it nothing this month, why do I bother..) and get on with our life.

When we don’t clean regularly, or worse yet, if we don’t keep things organized or sorted then when it does come time to clean our work load is increased. Not only do we have to clean, we have to sort as well.

At one time my job was washing dishes at a restaurant. Helping one of the waiters set up some tables for a few extra dollars near the end of the night I neglected my work station. The dishes piled up haphazardly into one huge disorganized pile. I spent the next few hours sorting through and then washing and drying and putting away. I think I got home at 4am that morning.

Having learned my lesson, I applied it cleaning up tables after a wedding at a banquet hall. I suggested that one group of people going around sorting everything on the tables in like groups. Other people could go around with buckets collecting only like objects, only water glasses, only wine glasses, only cutlery etc. Everything was sorted as it was collected and this made it easier for the person loading and operating the dish washer to load everything and put it away.

This is not to say that pre-organizing is needed in every case, but where it can save time in the long run it is a worthwhile endeavor. Doing laundry, I find it more convenient to sort everything as I fold and put it all away-which just might account for my white shirts which are slightly pink.

Organizing Equals Thinking

The beauty about organizing as early as possible or reducing the need for organizing, is that then we don’t have to think. Organization, sorting things out takes thinking power and if we get that out of the way then we can more easily focus on using our senses and focusing on what we want to do.

And that is part of the beauty of cleaning as we go. If we clean after each little job there is little or no organizing to do. The thinking effort required is minimal. Better yet, because we haven’t got so much to cleaning to do we avoid thoughts of “I’ve got so much cleaning to do, I’ll never get this done, I don’t have enough time.” Instead there can be the simple use of our consciousness to sense what we are doing and responding to what we sense. We keep things simple and as a result we can flow.

Taking a cooking class, whether cutting onions, cutting carrots, cutting meat, after each stage we tidy up the scraps, put away what we’d done or at least put it out of the way, and then get on with the next task. Likewise, while cooking we cleaned up at any opportunity.

While initially I thought this was a pain in the ass, working in this way had a pleasant rhythm and the added benefit was that there wasn’t a whole lot of cleaning to do at the end.

Regular Cleaning Equals Rhythm

Cleaning, organizing, writing, doing all of these things at regular intervals, taking a break to stake stock and organize, we can make our lives easier and give our lives rhythm. Instead of thinking about all the stuff we have to do, we can focus on doing, taking a rest, taking stock while we sort, clean and organize and then we get on with whatever is next on our list.

Say what we are learning a new Tai Ji form or a yoga pose or a math technique. If after we try or practice or learn, we can look back at what we’ve done by checking the answer in the back of the book, looking at the example or video, we can then see if what we did matched what we were supposed to be doing. We can also ask the teacher. In this way we learn faster… faster than say trying to practice a very long sequence and then try to remember what we did and then try to check if we did it right.

That’s not to say that thinking doesn’t have its place. When learning, trying to understand, trying to figure things out, then thinking can be useful. Actually where it is most useful is in figuring out how to simplify. Once we’ve simplified we can then focus on doing. Then we don’t have to think.

When we aren’t thinking we can focus on what we are doing and sensing and as a result we become present. We flow.

Why Get into the Flow?

Why get into the flow?

Because it feels good. It’s like doing a forward bend and because your feet are clean you can focus on feeling your hips and using them, on feeling your spine and lengthening it, on doing a yoga pose with effortless ease.

Gong Fu Learning-Learning Gong Fu

Practicing Wing Chun with a friend this morning, my friend said that the first step is to learn the choreography, the next step is to understand the reasoning or purpose of the particular choreography and then the next step is to practice the choreography that we’ve learned with that understanding in place.

So at first he showed me the movement pattern and I tried to learn it…. not very well. Then he explained what we were doing with each movement, or trying to do. I would punch his face. He would block and counter punch low. I would slap his punch down and counter punch to the face again. He’d slap my punch away and then use his other arm to move my attacking arm further out of the way.

With this understanding in place we practice again.
It was then easier to do the movements.

With the first step, trying the choreography, we have a peg that we can hang our understanding on. With the understanding we then have something which guides the way we do the choreography.

While he said that there are only three steps I’d suggest that there are actually only two and they keep on repeating. You can start with choreography, and then listen to the explanation so that you understand then do the choreography again. Or start with the understanding, do the choreography and then listen to the explanation. Or you can simply do these steps over and over, each time deepening your understanding while at the same time getting better at the choreography.

Ideas, Gravity and Consciousness

If you’ve read “Understanding Consciousness-Riding the Wave of Time” you know that I use Ideas as basic units of meaning.

Ideas are anything that we can define with limits or by saying “it does this.” We can think of ourselves as ideas if we can clearly define who or what we are. At any moment in time, we can choose the idea of who we are. As of right now I am a writer but in about ten minutes time I’ll be a swimmer and then I’ll be a dad.

Ideas are the mental labels that we can use to identify both what is around ourselves and what is around ourselves. Ideas are a way of being conscious of ourselves and the world we are in.

Gravity

One of the qualities that I give to ideas is that of gravity. The gravity of an idea can draw us in towards itself. However, this is a special sort of gravity. It only attracts us to an idea when we give it our attention. The more attention we give an idea the greater its gravity and the easier it can pull us towards itself.

We can think of the process of being drawn in towards an idea as the first steps towards learning an idea, making it real, or making it a part of ourselves.

Once we connect to an idea, once we’ve learned it, we no longer need to pay as much attention to it. The gravity of the idea (and of ourselves) keeps us connected. We can then begin the process of deepening the connection.

Relationship

When we are connected to an idea (or two ideas are connected) we can say that we are in a relationship with that idea. When two ideas are related they can change each other or they can create change. Having learned a martial art we can express ourselves with that idea. We change. But we also change the martial art, one more person can now express that idea. The art changes as a result.

Expression

The point of connecting to an idea is so that we can express it. The purpose of deepening our connection to an idea is so that we can learn to express it in different ways, or so that we can express it more efficiently, more freely or in any circumstance possible.

As an example, say we are drawn to the idea of learning a martial art like Wing Chun. We might go to a martial arts hall (I won’t say “Dojo” because that is a Japanese word while Wing Chun is a Chinese martial art) and watch people practicing. It is only if we give the idea more attention by going to class that we can truly begin to connect to the idea. We learn the idea by going to classes and practicing. We might learn small techniques which we can put together in any imaginable order or we learn a routine to practice techniques in an organized fashion. Once we’ve learned the basic shape of what we are learning we can practice and develop our understanding, our connection to each small idea that we are learning.

The big idea of Wing Chun is the sum of the smaller ideas that make it up.

The idea we connect to could be the idea of dancing, or the idea of a person we might grow to love. It could be the idea of a family. The more attention we give an idea that we want in our lives, the easier it is to connect to it. The more attention we give an idea once we are connected, the better we understand the idea and the easier it is to continue to express the idea and make the idea real.

Unity

We can practice our martial art by focusing on the parts of our routine and making them more fluid. We can learn our partner to greater degrees so that we can build a truly solid relationship. With constant practice, we learn an idea well enough that we can express that idea in any situation.

Learning a martial art to that point we can use it in any fighting situation successfully. We can handle change without being torn apart. In such a case we can say that we share a center with the idea that we have learned. Instead of being connected to the surface of an idea, we are one with it. We can express the idea freely.

Another way that we could view this is that we are connected to another idea well enough that we form a stable relationship which in turn is another idea. We share a center that is outside of ourselves.

Understanding

Gravity pulls inwards. Pulling inwards towards the center of an idea we can liken gravity to consciousness. If we want to understand something we pull it in towards ourselves. Once we understand what we are looking at we can use this understanding to shape the energy we put out.

We can think of Gravity, consciousness and understanding as aspects of the same thing. They allow us to understand an idea, experience it and express it.

Foundation, Center and Point of View

What is a Foundation? A foundation is a platform or base for change that we wish to create. In anything that we do, once we know what we are going to be doing, the foundation is the first thing that we create.

Standing on our feet we can make our feet, ankle and lower legs strong so that they support the rest of our body. Prior to that we can make sure that we are standing on ground that is solid and secure.

With part of our body stable, anchored to the earth we can express what we are trying to do. Holding a pose like warrior, with our feet and legs providing a stable foundation our spine and arms can reach up and back.

We can create space in our body, openness, room to do what we want to do.

Sensitive Foundations and Balance

Just as important as creating a foundation is feeling it. We can call the ability to sense or feel “Connection.”

Connection allows the flow of information into ourselves and out of ourselves. Controlling connections we can control what we sense. If we control our connection to the earth then not only can we feel our foundation we can control it. We can also use it to feel where our center is in relationship to our foundation.

The better we can use our connection with the earth to sense the relationship between our foundation and our center and the better we can control this relationship, either by moving our foundation or our center, the easier we can stay balanced because we can keep our center over our foundation no matter what is happening.

Creating Room to Move

Feeling how our center and our foundation relates, how do we respond to what we sense? If we want to stay balanced then we can position our center so that it is over the center of our foundation. We can consider this alignment but we can also think of it as giving our center room to move with respect to our foundation.

With room to move, if any external force acts on our center or our foundation we have room to respond before being pushed (or pulled) off balance.

Conditions for Balance

Generally the bigger our foundation the easier it is to stay balanced. The firmer our foundation the easier it is to stay balanced. The more aware we are and the better our control is the easier it is to stay balanced.

Being able to maintain our relationship with the earth and stay upright, we can do what it is that we are trying to do. Understanding how to balance and having the sensitivity and control to do so we can express ourselves.

Points of View

In terms of what we are doing, we can consider only ourselves in which case we can think of our expression radiating outwards from our center, bouncing up away from the earth and doubling out of the arms and upper body. Or we can consider ourselves in relationship to the earth in which case we can think of our expression radiating outwards from the center of the earth.

These are two different ways of thinking about the same thing. Depending on what we are trying to do one view might be more helpful than the other. Being aware of these points of view we can choose which one that we want to use.

In terms of center and foundation, if we consider the earth to be our center of expression then the earth acts as both our center and our foundation. Thus what we consider to be our center, our foundation and even our expression can depend on our point of view.