Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Water Under the Bridge - The Sequel

Original Sources:

 would be remiss if I didn’t follow up the Martial Art Mind - Water Under The Bridge post with a technique. Telling folks to “let go and move on” is a bit like cheerleading from the sidelines. Showing how…well that’s another story.

Just as an aside about letting go. Did you ever see the Canadian sitcom Trailer Park Boys? Actually, the show is a lot rougher than your average sitcom…lots of naughty words, some violence and a deep fascination with drugs.


Nevertheless, there is an episode in which Bubbles, the guy with the coke-bottle glasses, adopts a “big kitty” – a mountain lion he names Steve French. It turns out that Steve is rather fond of marijuana, a product “the boys” normally sell in and beyond the trailer park. Most of the episode deals with Steve’s misadventures around the park. Finally Bubbles’ friends Ricky and Julian convince him that the park isn’t the best place for a mountain lion.

“If you love something…”they advise him in so many words “you gotta be prepared to let it go.” (Those may not be the exact words from the script, but they’re close).

As usual, I digress. Let’s get to the technique –

1.  Sit in a quiet spot. You can adopt a meditative pose if you wish. As long as you’re comfortable.

2.  Allow your back and the back of your neck to be in a straight line. Drop your chin slightly. Close your eyes.

3.  Inhale slowly through your nose, exhale very slowly through your mouth. Very slowly, I repeat. Please don’t lift your shoulders or expand your chest. Use deep abdominal breathing. Let your abdomen expand as you inhale; let your abdomen gently contract as you exhale.

These first three steps help relax both mind and body as well as to fortify you so there is no place in the mind and body for the problem to hide.

The next two involve a form of visualization.

4.  As you continue to meditate, call to mind a small incident that has stuck to you…perhaps an error in your training or a small problem at work or something someone said that wasn’t too earth-shaking but still seemed to stick.

That’s good. Visualize the scene over again. Accept it, maybe learn from it. Now…let it go.

Don’t push it out of your mind. As any Chi Kung practitioner will tell you, the “ill wind” will just hide somewhere else in the body. Let it pass out through the breath…as you exhale.

Now it’s gone…water under the bridge.

There’s a familiar progression in the traditional martial arts. First, we practise stillness…and breath. Then we begin to move. This is really exemplified by mokuso or in the Chinese arts by the standing post position. Then only do the Aikido or Kendo practitioners begin to physically move.

Why? The state of mind established in stillness continues on into motion. Speed follows slowness. We can’t perform rapid fire Wing Chun punches if we haven’t first developed that sticky, relaxed and forever listening physical and mental state.

5.  Carry the mind set into training or into the workplace. Sticky stuff happens…learn from it and let it go. You try a shoulder throw in Judo. It doesn’t work? Don’t stick with it, don’t get trapped by it, don’t become obsessed by it. Let it go. Smoothly switch gears. Try another technique. And another. It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is your state of mind. Relaxed, open and deeply flexible. Like water.

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