Thursday, July 30, 2009

Opportunity, Discomfort

We talk a lot in Wujifa about opportunity. Mentally, I've been working around with this one for a while, but something new just clicked for me. Nothing changed in my head, but the feeling is totally different. When I can honestly view something as an opportunity, I get excited about it, and this excitement can be fuel for my training. Lately, I've been looking around the internet (youtube, google, etc.) for different videos and people in t

Kohi SunriseImage by Chris Gin via Flickr

he IMA area. There are people out there who really know what they're doing in terms of internal martial arts, and I'm convinced that Rick is one of them, and that I'm on the path to becoming one of them myself. Training with Rick has been a HUGE opportunity for me, and continues to be a wonderful opportunity. The fact that I'm working with such a knowledgable teacher is a very exciting prospect for my own growth, and when I take the time to notice and appreciate this, it really fuels me up.

Also, I've been exploring how discomfort is an opportunity. Today, I appreciated it so much, it almost brought tears of joy to my eyes. I realized that my discomfort provides me with a direct pointer of something new to explore to deepen my practice to teach me more about comfort, discomfort, and myself.

This is a quote from Rick's Wujifa blog about how we notice, and opportunity:
"Intention and how you notice is important as well. Learning to eat bitter is a common saying. What I mean by this is that some people will notice opportunity as they practice. This is a good method. Some may want to notice what is wrong, yet if you go one step deeper you can notice there is opportunity in there as well. This can even be suggested as a deeper understanding of being open. I will say at times it is good to be critical of what one is doing, although noticing opportunity in this is still possible. Imagine later if sparing the difference in noticing an opportunity or noticing what is wrong. Building in this kind of intention early on is a good idea."

Currently, I experience discomfort in some areas of my body, and when I connect through them, a different feeling comes up, with some discomfort as well. I'm talking specifically about my diaphragm and lower back, and how when I connect through my front and back, a new feeling shows up in these areas, with some emotional discomfort to it. It's almost like a scary feeling or a running away feeling. Today, there were a few breaks in stance where I noticed I was resisting the new feeling, and when I stopped resisting, the emotional scariness went away, and there was less of an emotional attachment to the feeling... I just felt it more.

So discomfort, as well as comfort, are such great opportunities, just like training with Rick, to deepen and expand my practice.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Being a Student

{{de|Bodhidharma }}Image via Wikipedia

Last night in my meditation, I was considering what it means to be a student, and how maintaining the student mind seems to open up a great relational dynamic. I'm going to try to give a little flavor of my thoughts and experience, and we'll see here how good a job I end up doing. It won't be perfect, and there will always be more to add, clarify, or refine.

I think it's a really good thing to be able to doubt properly. If I'm not able to question the assumptions and first steps I have made, how will I ever be able to see when they are no longer useful to me? This doesn't mean that I have no confidence in what I have gained already. On the contrary, since my learning has withstood the test of doubt I know these beliefs are strong, to a point. I do not yet know if anything is true, but I've found things that are widely applicable.

I have some habits, and ways of doing things in stance. Some help me get closer to my intention, and some lead me away from it. Sometimes what I think falls into one category falls into the other. It's useful to keep an open mind about good and bad habits. Cultivating awareness is part of being a student, and part of this process is "taking responsibility, experimenting, and getting results."

Beginner's mind is okay if you don't really care about what you're doing. If you're doing something, and have an intention, I think the student's mind is much better because the student is a process. Being able to critically examine learning, knowing, and doing with openness helps advance the process. Buddha didn't reinvent meditation everyday, but in another way he did, and this is what I believe it means to be a student.

Fresh eyes, not a fresh start. Knowing your starting point, yet not starting over... This is what I think studenthood means. Making mistakes is part of it. Confidence is necessary. Doubt is necessary. Habits are necessary. Habits can drag a person down. There is a wonderful interplay in being a student between knowing and not knowing.

I've been purposefully confusing, because being able to relate to confusion is important sometimes. If none of this makes sense, go ahead and read it one more time, and remember, I could be completely wrong.
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