Cultivating Ki Flow and Mindfulness, Manifesting MindWritten by Charlie Badenhop
This article is second in a three part series. In my first article in this series I talked about "Energy, Spirit and Mind" and introduced how these terms are used in Seishindo. In this article I am going to talk about how to cultivate "ki" energy that is source of all life. If this is first article in this series you are reading, you might want to first read my last article, so you have a better understanding of how we think about "ki" in Seshindo.
No one has absolute knowledge (except through faith) of where ki originates from and no one knows where our personal ki goes to after we die. Ki springs from depth of universe as well as from depth of our soul. The way of ki is a gigantic and fascinating mystery, and one that is well worth exploring. In studying ki we can come to a deeper understanding of ourselves, our relationships, and world we live in. Our study of ki can help to liberate us as we become better attuned to music and poetry of our heart and soul.
Having an experiential understanding of nature of ki leads us to encounter a natural, creative intelligence, that far transcends abilities and powers of any one human being. Ki is common denominator we share with all of life. I believe that ki is essentially, expansive, mutable, and supportive of life, and that it can adapt to an endless variety of forms and functions depending on how it is received, shaped, and utilized by our system.
I wrote above that ki is "supportive of life" and I want to explain this a bit more here. Ki supports life when our system is able to let it flow unimpeded, like when when our immune system spontaneously heal wounds or illnesses. Ki also has potential to be destructive in nature when it's flow becomes either stagnant or blocked, as in case of body being ravaged by cancer. Noguchi Sensei, man that developed "Noguchi Sei Tai" (a Japanese system of health management) used to say "Illness is due to excess energy being trapped in body. The stronger illness, more energy there is trapped." One of main purposes of Noguchi Sei Tai is to facilitate release of excess energy held in body so that body can operate freely, and without impediment. This is also one of main functions of Seishindo. When body is stable and able to move freely, our thoughts patterns and emotions will be stable and flowing, and health and emotional balance will be fostered. In my first article I wrote "The quality of our life is not dependent on circumstances we encounter. The quality of our life is dependent on what we learn from circumstances we encounter." In this issue I will say, "The quality of our life is not dependant on quantity of ki available to us. The quality of our life is dependent on our capacity to maintain a free flow of ki throughout our system." Our belief system, as well as way we facilitate generation and flow of ki within our system are major determinants of quality of our life. Free flowing ki energizes and nourishes body. Blocked ki can damage us and weaken our ability to adapt. The cultivation of free flowing ki is thus an important activity to explore because manner in which we cultivate, use, and expend ki, is what determines our health and well being, and who and what we become over time.
One of main functions of Seishindo is to help people cultivate ability to be calm, fully present, and feeling one's emotions and bodily sensations, without need for internal dialogue. When we are at one with our self and our experience there is no need for internal dialogue, for there is no "other one" to talk to. Present in one's body, present in one's brain, and aware of and connected to one's emotions and environment, but not requiring or engaging in internal dialogue. This is a very special way of being. A way of being that can help us to fully actualize our self in world. This is a way of being that can help us to deeply connect to our ability to respect, love, and heal, self, other, and world around us.
At every moment in time ki within your system speaks to you via a somatic language that is as refined, systematic, and complete as your verbal language. This transformation of ki into somatic language is basis of non-cognitive wisdom that we call "intuition." Becoming fluent in this language can help you maintain your health and well-being, foster more heartfelt relationships, and assist you in expressing your creative and healing gifts when working with others in various contexts. When you do "just enough" and nothing more or less, you will create context for your body to be structurally balanced, flexible, and free to move. This is way you are designed to be, and at such times your ki flows freely. Structurally balanced, flexible, and free to move and change, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
We have a chemical-electrical-muscular response to events, other people, circumstances, and intake of energy via food, sunlight, water, and other sources. People further react to: presently occurring events, thoughts about possible future events, memories of past events, and internal dialogue. To a large extent, responses we have to energy we encounter and generate are dependent on: 1. The way we use our body (structure, movement, flow). 2. Our system of beliefs, and 3. The default neuromuscular biochemical pathways that we have developed over time due to a tendency towards habitual reactions.
The changes that take place in our body and brain are highly systematic in nature, and these changes determine quality of our emotional responses, and our ability to think in a creative manner. Something occurs, and we spontaneously feel, think, and react in a specific manner, all of which leads to our somatic-emotional experience. For most part we have limited awareness and understanding of what actually changes within our system, to cause a change in our somatic-emotional experience. We generalize "feeling tone" of our experience and we give these generalized feelings rather unspecific verbal labels such as "happy" "in love" "ill" "hungry" "depressed."
You can think of our various somatic-emotional reactions to life as "recipes". Increase blood pressure ever so much, restrict flow of blood to extremities a certain amount, increase speed of your heartbeat, induce certain chemicals into bloodstream, breathe more shallowly, and think about what could go wrong, and you have created recipe for "fear." We each create these somatic-emotional recipes outside of our conscious awareness, and without conscious knowledge of what "contents" of each recipe are. Most of this activity is coordinated by what in Seishindo we call "somatic intelligence," intelligence of mobile brain within body. The task we face when wanting to live a balanced creative life, is to heighten our ability to sense components that make up our various somatic-emotional recipes, so that we can continue to adapt and maintain a system that is expansive, balanced, and free flowing. When our system facilitates free flow of ki, we maintain a state of health, well being, and creativity.
The Maker of Maps - a metaphorical taleWritten by Adam Sargant, Dip.H.Ed (Nursing Studies), Dip.Hyp.,NLP(prac)
Way back, back further even than before time of your future dreams, there was a Map Maker who was regarded as finest maker of maps in city. His maps were known throughout land, and people would travel for many days to have a map prepared by Map Maker.
One day, a foreign dignitary visited Map Maker's shop, and at dignitary's request Map Maker prepared him most exquisite of maps made of finest parchment, with rarest inks. The Map Maker worked late into night, ignoring mealtimes and calls for bed. In morning, dignitary called to pick up map as arranged and he was delighted.
Reverently he unrolled map out on Map Maker's desk. Beneath their eyes desert lands unfurled in gold, while green-brown forests and white peaked mountains lay before them. Delicate lines marked out contours, latitudes and longitudes, and exquisite letters showed locations of towns, villages and cities.
"Map Maker" said dignitary, pointing to a deep blue river on map, "tell me of this area here".
"Sire" replied Map Maker "I know not of these areas I draw. My maps are drawn from words and maps of others who have gone before me." And he took dignitary to a room at back of shop that contained books from travellers, hand drawn maps, sketches, and all manner of paper and record.
The dignitary hid his disappointment well, but soon after he left, Map Maker began to hear disturbing stories. That people were saying that they could not trust his work. Saying, that if he simply put together his maps from other peoples work then however fine they were, how could anyone guarantee their accuracy? How could anyone who used them know that they would simply not get lost?
Over weeks, he noticed a slowing down of business, until his customers had almost stopped coming in their entirety. Now, this sorely vexed Map Maker, for not only was this how he made his living, but he was a deeply proud man, proud of both his art and his reputation. And it pained him to core of his being that his maps might not actually be as good as he had always believed them to be. So he resolved to discard his work and to discard his books and his drawings, and venture out into world himself, and learn his art again anew.
So, he sold his shop, his fine pens and his parchments. He sold his rare ink and his gold leaf, his books, papers and records. With proceeds from sale, he paid of his servants and was about to put remaining money in single bag he had packed for his journeys when he had a thought. This thought came unbidden, and he knew not from where, but it seemed important to him somehow.
"If I am to start out anew then I must go out into world as much as a new born child as I am able. Only then will I be able to immerse myself deep in my art".
And so he gave remainder of his money to a beggar outside shop, and he left his shop and he left his city. As he walked passed city gates with only his clothes and his bag he turned back to look, and it seemed to him as if he was leaving a strange place.
Many days he wandered and there was much fear in his heart, for he had no maps to guide him now. But many days there was much joy too, as he took to sketching with simple pencils and paper he had brought with him for task of relearning his art. And sometimes he measured, and drew maps, and sometimes he just sat, deep in a silence. And it would seem to him afterward, that it was at these times that he was most deeply immersed in his art, and that it was in this inner sense of silence that he learned most.
As he learned to survive, to trade his physical labour or his skills as an artist for food, days when he felt fear grew less, and days when he felt joy, grew more. He came to know pleasure of rain on his skin, soft sound of birdsong as sun rose in mornings. He came to learn ache of muscles worked hard during a long day. He came to appreciate bright crispness of a winter's day, newborn colours of spring, warm joy of summer and red-gold quiescence of autumn. He discovered joys of a simple welcome and of hospitality, of a giving and receiving, motivated only by a common humanity.