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September 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm #128857
From other Energy Arts’ media, I’m familiar with a fourth condition: ‘anything that doesn’t feel quite right, especially if you don’t know what it is?’. Is this simply a holding category until such time that the sympton can be allocated to one of the principal three? Regarding these three, I struggle to appreciate exactly what is meant by ‘any feeling of strength’, and the distiction between feeling tension and contraction isn’t always clear. Any advice most welcome.September 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm #133634
Here’s my current understanding.
When students first start learning how to dissolve they don’t really know what blocks are. It’s the first time they have heard this term and they are trying to figure out what it means. They struggle with questions like: Is this a block? Is that a block? Am I doing this right?
So we give students some common signs of what blocks feel like. These are the four conditions: Tension, Strength, Contraction, Something that doesn’t feel quite right. They are a great way to go look for and locate some obvious blocks in your body. “Does this feel like tension?” is a much easier question to ask at the beginning, then “Is this a block?”
Eventually, you have enough experiance that you know what blocks feel like. At that point, you don’t really care about the four conditions. Feeling blocks is easy peasy. You don’t have to think about it. You just find blocks and work on resolving them.
As far as I know, it doesn’t matter which “bucket” you put a block in. Weather you label it as tension or contraction is unimportant. The important thing is you have now successfully identified a block and you can work on dissolving it. The dissolving process is the same for all categories of blocks.
Hope this helps,
JanakSeptember 23, 2013 at 11:38 pm #133635
Colin, No, the fourth condition is not a holding category. “Something
that doesn’t feel right, especially if you don’t know what it is” normally
contains emotional content–generally from the time before you learned to speak.
Therefore, this condition is different from the other three and generally
requires meditation to fully resolve. I purposefully didn’t approach this fourth
condition in the programme because this is a fundamentals course and beyond our
Concerning the other three, “strength” generally
indicates resistance in the body. For example, if you grab hold of something immovable
(like let’s say a door frame) and try to pull it towards you, you will feel
strength in your biceps. The feeling of strength is the resistance in the
muscle group. Likewise, when you find any strength inside of your body, it
generally indicates tightness and something that needs to be relaxed and
released. The feelings of “tension” and/or “contraction”
are other ways of interpreting resistance in your body. You do not need to
distinguish between these three as they are all different facets of the same
phenomenon. The body is closed down in some way and to restore full health and
vitality these kind of blockages need to be released. The Taoist answer to this
is to release the energy of the blockage through the Dissolving process and
then, through normal qi gong practice, the body will open up.September 24, 2013 at 9:25 am #133636
………..many thanks gents. So it’s a bit like the Inuit having lots of different words for snow (a type of ice!)July 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm #133637
I think I have always found these conditions to be very different, and maybe some concepts have been confused by translation.
You would have to check with someone more qualified, but I have found the principles of Chinese Medicine quite helpful:
‘Strength’ I understand as ‘Excess Syndrome’; forcefulness; unbalanced surging of qi and blood (with or without the suggestion of the upward flaring of heat).
‘Contraction’ I believe refers to ‘Deficiency’ syndrome; deficiency of qi and blood; a closing down or collapsing; a desert starved of water.
Tension would refer to (as in the ‘Tao Of Letting Go’) a conflict; contracting between opposing forces; muscular tension yes, but also in the qi a wiry, string-taut quality.
And for the fourth, aka Paul Cavel’s answer; a very deep and profound category.July 15, 2014 at 4:43 pm #133638
Actually, I have been thinking about this very interesting topic all day, and trying to find a good metaphor. I think that Bruce Frantzis’ metaphor about the balloon is the best, and encapsulates all the conditions and also the phenomenon of ‘Stagnation of Qi and Blood’. That will provide the best explanation.
Good topic, Colin…July 23, 2014 at 7:57 pm #133639
I think I may as well talk to myself if no one else will…
I find tension the easiest condition to understand, and muscular tension the easiest, being the shadow of tension of the qi.
I have been particularly interested to find tension patterns in spiralling trajectories, presumably being the mirror of qi blockages in the spiralling energy pathways (not that I can claim to feel those).
Muscular tension and contraction, in English anyway, are essentially the same thing. Muscle tissue is the only tissue that, under orders from the nerves, has the ability to contract. Fluids, fascia and ligaments do not have this ability.
I have enough respect for this Taoist tradition to conclude that they would not describe two conditions as separate, that are in fact identical.
And they are not the same. They are radically different; as different as ‘yin and yang restrictions’ (Bruce Frantzis’) can be.July 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm #133640
And if you doubt what I am saying, then listen to ‘The Tao Of Letting Go’ again. Where do you think I got it from?!…August 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm #133641
Thanks for re-energising this thread Guy. Coincidentally, I’m revisiting this material in my practice at the moment. I will indeed listen to the Tao of Letting Go once again, it’s been a while!
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