Chapter Six Holding Patterns

Seven Minute Mindfulness

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One of the benefits of becoming familiar with our Harmonious Culture of Movement is that it should encourage you to pay attention to your habitual ways of holding tension in various muscles in your body. Most people have a tendency to constantly maintain a certain degree of tension as though they are going to fall apart if they stop holding themselves together. Additionally, chronic tension in any particular area of the body cannot exist without counter-balancing tensions in many other parts of the body, which results in a whole-body pattern of holding tension. As a result of habituation, up to eighty or even ninety percent of human energy potential may be spent on maintaining personal holding patterns.

As numerous experiments undeniably demonstrate, tension impedes the flow of Qi and creates energetic blockages that lead to energy deficiency in the affected areas of the body. The disempowered parts of the body include not only the weakened muscles and restricted joints; blood and lymph circulation are also restricted by chronic tension, which affects many internal organs and systems of the body. Any holding pattern can create chronic pain and discomfort, limiting range of motion and restricting energy flow throughout the organism.

As we discovered earlier, tension is a process that requires doing, sending signals through the nervous system to tell the muscles to contract. It cannot be undone by doing more, because relaxation requires you to stop sending these signals rather than doing anything extra. Letting go of tension requires being attentive to the tense area of the body. This will help you realize that you have been doing something and choose whether to keep doing it from now on. Do you remember the adage, "energy flows wherever awareness goes?" Being attentive to any tense and hence weak muscles will empower them to become stronger and more relaxed.

The way you experience yourself by and large depends on your awareness. You may often be aware of pain in a tense muscle but not your habitual imbalance throughout the body. Generally speaking, you are less likely to notice your habitual pattern than some immediate changes in that pattern.

If you find yourself wishing you could get rid of your tension, then you need to accept and learn the lessons presented by your holding patterns in order to integrate your new awareness into a more harmonious way of being. If you agree that everything that ever happened to you was supposed to happen, given your energy that was supportive of the way things unfolded in your life, then you may also consider that your holding pattern is exactly what you needed to experience in your body up until now. You can appreciate it as a catalyst for personal transformation providing you with a great lesson about experiencing life as you dream it up. As my friend, Lama Surya Das puts it, "let go of the person you used to be," so that you can be who you dream of being. In other words, the grand dream of Dream Being can be revealed and manifested by living your dreams.

From a very young age, your bodily movements naturally played an essential role in your emotional life as somatic (physical) expressions of your feelings and emotions. Conversely, if expressing your emotions was uncomfortable or unacceptable as you were growing up, you might feel like you needed to suppress your feelings by inhibiting your expressiveness. You might choose to restrain your movements by developing tension if you felt inadequate or scared to express your feelings freely. As you were growing up and developing your unique personality, you were also developing your particular way of holding yourself. This inhibition through tension might have appeared necessary for your emotional well-being, since it allowed you to prevent exposing your feelings through spontaneous movements. Any holding pattern can be perceived as a survival tool that can help you go through some challenging experiences without feeling as if you are falling apart.

There is a strong correlation between certain emotional states and movements of the body through which they can be expressed. Your holding patterns represent the sum total of unmanifest movements that could potentially express the feelings associated with your habitual states of consciousness. Each pattern of tension is essentially a frozen movement as if you stopped in the midst of moving forward, downward, inward, backward, outward or upward. You could say that, any chronic tension is unmanifest, or frozen, movement which morphs your energy field according to the way of being you identify with. This forces the location of the Center of your energy field from being Centered, free to move in any direction, to some other, contrived position. Naturally, any deviation of your energy Center from the center of mass of your body results in a struggle against the imbalance, which requires physical tension.

The most basic patterns of holding tension correspond to the six directional movements described above. While there are many possible ways to hold tension, the following six patterns seem to be the most typical: Holding Forth, Holding Down, Holding In, Holding Back, Holding Out and Holding Up. Most people do not fall under just one category but have two or even three patterns mixed together. These simplified categories serve as tools for greater understanding of human psyche, for these holding patterns are physical and energetic representations of human archetypes.

These archetypal states of consciousness dream up corresponding realms of existence complete with their specific ways of perception, attitudes, relationships, health and other issues. Therefore, the way you experience your life now depends more on your current beliefs and identity (energy resonance with a certain way of being) rather than your upbringing or other circumstances. Change your way of thinking and your consciousness will function on a different energy frequency, consequently manifesting a different realm of being.

This is not unlike switching from one radio channel to another by tuning into different frequencies of radio waves. When tuned into a frequency that carries signals transmitted by a radio station, your imaginary receiver will begin to talk or play some music. In a similar fashion, your energy field is like a receiver capable of tuning into different programs broadcast by Dream Being all at once. None of these channels is better or worse than any other one, just as pain from one holding pattern is no better or worse than pain from any other. They allow you to experience the limitations of being stuck in just one realm, perhaps, so that you become more motivated to integrate all the pieces of the puzzle into the whole picture of the dream called your life.

The ability to identify and appreciate your own patterns can help you discover dreams hidden beneath the tensions and pains in your body. To manifest those dreams, you ought to integrate different emotions frozen in your body and transcend any stereotypical ways of thinking or rigid belief systems. This will also require exploring and expanding your psychological comfort zone, because, similar to your deepest dreams and aspirations, most of your potential can be found outside of your comfort zone. Had it been otherwise, you would have surely actualized your potential by now.

An unrestricted flow of energy will promote natural healing and integration of your body-mind and spirit. Integrating formerly disconnected parts of you is like helping them manifest their own dreams of health and happiness. Let me reiterate a Qi Dao truism once again. "The more you help all the different parts of your being manifest their dreams, the more they will help you manifest yours."

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Heal Yourself With Qi Gong

Heal Yourself With Qi Gong

Qigong also spelled Ch'i Kung is a potent system of healing and energy medicine from China. It's the art and science of utilizing breathing methods, gentle movement, and meditation to clean, fortify, and circulate the life energy qi.

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