recognising blockage types

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    was going over some of the beginner material from the Tao of Letting Go. I was hoping to get some clarification on the difference in feeling for tension v’s strength vs contraction vs something that doesn’t feel right when you scan through your body for blockages. I’ve listened to the audio files and I’m still not quite sure how to differentiate between the feeling of tension vs strength vs contraction if anyone could help me to understand the difference please?
    My basic understanding so far:
    – tension: can be physical, related to thoughts and emotions that then have physical manifestation
    – strength: prob the one I’m findings hardest to understand
    – contraction – reduction in fluid flow/ something that feels like it’s shrinking/dying

    Much appreciated,




    Hi Liz, I saw your msg & wrote up a response last night, which likely is like the below should be- as I just about submitted it- the site popped up that I needed to signin again so I did and couldn’t back-page.. all typed gone.. sigh :) about as disappointing as how this site is going Facebook No word-confirmation if only on there, and if/how products purchased can be accessed not thru?).. anyway, this an interesting one, so I write this offline, and we’ll see how it goes/comes-out.

    Anyway- I just add the above to respond to my own felt-frustration.. so hopefully you’ll be able to read this (and maybe you and perhaps others might gain something from it- since I’m rereading it). — The first issue would be whether you need to differentiate which is which (deter “which” of the four conditions xyz is, vs just that it ‘is’ one-of the 4…. though recognizing distinctions between may be helpful in regards to other neigung skills..)
    .. Bruce mentioned in the past that the idea is to have a way to scan-for blockages (how do you recognize ‘ice’.?) until you learn to grok the sense of what a blockage/blocked flow/stuckness is.. then you feel for that.. (but how you think that blockedness will feel isn’t- likely- it… its like how do you recognize distortions in space-time, or how does a character on a scene in a movie recognize if certain light-pixels and/or certain points on the movie-screen aren’t functioning as they should.. -not content that is ‘unusual’ or ‘undesired’ but not ‘natural’.. anyway- therefore this is tricky.)

    [note: have you read the two meditation books- Relaxing into your Being & The Great Stillness? -I got my first copies of each via prepub, and went over and over them, packed with little phrases and such.. a recommend if you haven’t.. and if you have, likely regoing-over and writing out sections might help? -did for me, it wasn’t until I’d seen how little concepts and phrases in one part link-to/overlap to parts in other sections/the other bk.. etc. anyway]

    in regards to the conditions: I think you might be trying to make them too-literal (just my interp per exper.. and having wracked-my-brain on this question personally… but the key, if you are able to approach this right- the ‘key slides into the lock, and it smoothly opens/changes’.. and it is clearly different- even if subtly

    “Something that doesn’t feel quite right…” is interesting, this might seem to imply one’s ‘reaction-to’ what is sensed (ie I put attn on it and then I fIeel that __.. but that is my response, subcon processing that burbles up.. not the blockage itself.. This seems a good catch-basket, so I tend to think of it last in the series (check if 1,2 or 3.. if not, still- is there something that doesn’t feel quite right? ie it doesn’t even fully feel wrong, just a bit off….?)
    I think trying to literally put them all in physcial terms- which is like saying that “rooting” involves the feet-on-the-ground, or ‘seat’/rear-end/sitting on it… and the ‘ground’ is “down.” (rather than the root, being the stable-contact/connection…. and ‘ground’ could/is more electrically-meant…) -But rather relate this in mental terms.. be “rooted” in your body, rooted in this moment…. (this helps get away from the physicalizing…)

    thus whether energy, thought-units ‘in’ your mind (let alone the room and material of that “mind” where and how the thought-units are viewed and worked with).. whether they are Tense (tension),
    Contracted (restricted/bound- think straightjacket.. the opposite of the sigh of relief.. able to do whatever, even if not doing something, vs can’t)…
    or a ‘sense of’ Strength (this last one was the biggest bang for me from Bruce, I hadn’t heard this idea at that time.. -analogies given where seen in social-context help, but how then to reverse-engineer it back to the actual-state-condition vs an ‘interaction’…
    -ie how feeling “strong” at the least is using up the energy in that feeling, and not the doing (the true master of a skill doesn’t think it is a big-deal to do their craft.. unless being watched– one who does a skill and feels woah, I’m doing this…

    – that there is a binding, and not fully strong (and thus relates to a tension/stuckness, as well as a contracted/restriction.. vs being “free” – but the sense of “being free” could be thought as meaning more fog-like or wind-like (we call it formless- but these are forms, just less distinct and more moving.. but formless- is without a form.. and a form is something distinct… -yet we can have the blockage affect our awarness of something as much as have the blockage esperienced within that we are aware of ~something can be unclear/blurry per a blockage that is obscuring our awareness (even a resistance in us to integrate what we are ‘seeing’).. which may seem less distinct, but isn’t formless…
    The last couple of pts aren’t as polished as I’d like, but relates to two ideas: the first is just the concept of “relaxation” (later this becomes “sung” via dissolving/let-go of all that is blocked = one becomes sung/released.. and that free-connection results in a new state, a new way of being.. undreamt of before.. then lengthen/sink/etc.. but imagining what it is like “just over the horizon” is good to help the stepping, but won’t ever by quite right, as it is outside of experience.).. Thus the idea of “relax” and what that means, once it is soaked into and expressed to a great degree won’t be as imagined.. what a blockage feels like (and what it will feel like as a blockage releases), won’t be as imagined either.
    [one might think- I look-for and recog a blockage sensation, then when I release it, I’ll feel the same as I did before I noticed and recognized that blockage sensation.. maybe a bit bettter than I did, a reduction in what bugged me, but essentially the same…]
    (The ex of “relaxation will feel like” seems quite relevant to all working on “outer” chi gung, whether say Opening the Egates, Marriage of H&E, or TaiChiChuan- where relaxation is actually developed…. (even if not specifically doing the explicit let-go/dissolving) the relative change to a person can be quite noticable.)

    The second concept: Bruce has mentioned (and I believe in the meditation bks I mentioned at top- let alone other ideas related to the 4 conditions and how to work with, let alone context for this work-approach)… being in a place with really good ‘air’.. one doesn’t notice it. As long as you haven’t been holding your breath, or a bad smell is- or just was- in the air.. Let alone, no air-pollution/smoke/poison that burns the nose-sinuses-lungs.. the air that makes the cough, choke, or at least the achy tickle in the throat.. if clean air, it just is.. even if you take a sigh.. ahhhhh only notice it in contrast to “memories”..
    but if just was in one of those other places, or if you are controlling a breath to try and not start to hack and cough.. the breathing in can feel strong (as well as be full of tension, and contracted- not the “lungs” nor the “movement”… but the Energy-quality of what you are doing….

    – think of how a thought-idea that is just out of reach to your understanding (modern education doesn’t seem to focus on this conception-inquiry-residing to allow it to settle and reveal)… but in order to not have this thought-idea crumble in your attention (or just have your attn drift away) you need “hold-it” and sense you can’t really get-it, you are sort of trying to penetrate it.. thus the thought-focus seems strong… but once you “know it” then you can ‘really think it, and it doesn’t feel strongly, tense, contracted (in the thought itself, not your reaction to it, and not your eyes nor breathing nor face/body.. etc…)
    I feel the wording repeats and bumps against the tricky idea of feeling/recognizing the quality of X being different than the body and/or emotional (and even what is thought of as ‘thought’ but isn’t mental- but just the physcial referencing of subcon-conditioned-associations)… I think this disctinction is quite iimportant one, and opens up many other aspects, but I’m not sure if my above only confuses things..

    [on a partly side-issue, something I found of interest- if you have some familiarity with the four-energies of TaiChiChuan (Peng,Lu,Ji,An).– and not just conceive, but actual feel, and then work-with them/make them move and function… say on a point of the finger or on the arm.. not as a movement, but as an energy-quality … and by this I don’t mean “energy” in the ‘feel-it’ sense.. but energy like kinetic/thermal/potential (momentum or vibration)… etc.. not those exactly, but what does the rising-expanding floating on water feeling mean- if there is no up? — thus if you create a pt of peng, “in your mind” what can that mean, assuming one doesn’t imagine/overlay up-down. etc….
    Cycling back through this (as well as what does Lu mean as a functional-action)… this relates to what a quality that can be recognized as a blockage- say “tension” what is that where a non-body “thing” is tense (and not meaning “I feel tense looking at it” as then I’d be reacting via a blockage.. not the thing I see ‘is’ blocked).. for last ex: Tension as a car, or even big truck, with the engine revving- in gear, but the brakes pushed all-the-way down.. you feel the entire vehicle shake and shudder.. seem ready to tear-itself-apart or even burn-up .. the heat rises, the whiney-ticking sound…
    -sum that all up in a quality of a thing you see.. and not just as a muscularly tight and shaking…. but the key is not to get an aha (if it could just be understood via words- then by know it would just be in words…

    * To grasp this more, it reveals itself to you- you need to stand, or sit, (try a short bit of both in a few sessions per day.. and devel via long-term dips and taste-tests…)
    * start at the top and scan- what do you feel? (anything? nothing?- if can’t be sure what you feel- that isn’t “quite right” is it? :) but at first the nerves and residual-body-image aren’t clear to allow feeling-attn there….
    light-tap-pat the top of head (where the book is balanced in the steady-walk of old-time finishing-school:) and then see what you feel, don’t even try and change, just scan, find? feel, and be with a moment or so (how does it come into focus and even approach you, reveal itself).. then- smoothly, without a break nor jump, see what you feel next-near….

    (as do this, most of the time thinking- what am I doing? – it changes)… and, like the relaxation/sung example above, you’ll find you are different, and you couldn’t have imagined before (now) but just as rich spices can be a shock the first time experiencing a new style of cuisine.. but once familiar you ‘know’ these spices and flavors.. you scan/sense and ‘taste’ them..

    (this ended a bit longer, but I hope it helps, this is a very interesting question, and one I feel I’ve learned/gained from working with).. luck in your practice and seeking

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