Change brings discomfort and a feeling of defeat. We try anything to help release emotional and physical pain but still feel anxious or depressed. We can be over the hurt but our body is still holding onto the injury- 'memory pain'.
Memory pain is when we continue our habitual patterns of reactions to stressors. This directly affects the way we feel about ourselves and others- mind, body, and soul. In order to begin to change, we need to allow ourselves to let go of memory pain. By letting go, we allow opportunity to change our neural connections that allow us to adapt to new circumstances in a healthy way.
The development of memory pains is unconscious. An example would be the demands of work or school create neural networks, and these networks are important to get the job done. The problem is when the demands are finished and we continue to live in this unconscious mental habit. We've conditioned our mental neural habits that can't be let go or changed. So much of life does not require these kinds of connections, but we end up using these same patterns to try to change. We have created dominant patterns based on stress and when things change, as they inevitably do, we have a nervous system attuned to a specific way of functioning.
When we try to change, like taking up a new exercise regimen or diet, we encounter an internal struggle that limits our ability to adapt. During stressful periods, we eat in certain ways and move or not move in certain ways - we have trained our nervous system for stress. In cases of abuse, injury, or PTSD, the memory pain is there; always influencing how we perceive and respond. A stress pattern is always ready for more stress - it's like a hammer that treats everything like a nail. The hardest part is most of the stress pattern in our nervous system is beyond our conscious control. The pain however can be very real!
So how do we make good neural connections that enhance feeling good and reduce those based on stress and memory pains??
The first step is taking up a practice of mindfulness, not just meditation but observing. Practice seeing without judgment, observing the memory pains and stress response. This is challenging because it makes us uncomfortable to the awareness of the problem but the practice and diligence of mindfulness begins to define the boundaries between how we feel and how we react. By practicing awareness we have more control of our choices to our response.
How do you know if you are practicing mindfulness? Besides meditation,Yoga and Tai Chi, or any number of mindful exercises, they require 3 things:
relaxation, breathing exercises or breath control, and correct postural alignment. Mindful massage/bodywork/acupuncture are essential modalities directly affecting memory pains because the nervous system is immediately aware and responsive to the changes.
We may not be able to adapt to every change that we want but we can choose to not be a broken record repeating stress.
How can we evolve in our personal spiritual practice using ancient Taoist techniques? In our current era, is it possible to have a mindful, energetic, and trans formative yoga practice? Yes, its possible ! I feel that more than ever Taoist practices such as Qi Gong, Massage, Energy Work and other self care exercises, meditation, use of herbs, acupuncture, and diet/nutrition, are, and will become, necessary foundations of modern practical health. Taoism follows nature and her changes.
A Taoist is basically one who changes with change accordingly. You can still make plans and have goals, but, because of being able to really relax, a person who embodies the Tao ( Yin/Yang ) can have better timing, clearer vision, and be truly in contact with their emotions. There is no magic, only awareness and gentle receptivity to truth. Robust health and vitality is the result eliminating the external scaffold of fear, and nurturing the inner connection to spirit.
The problem with the Tao is that it cannot be directly taught, named, or quantified. There is however, capital T Tao and lower case t tao. Tao is the progenitor of all things and all possibilities.- tao is a method rooted in tradition and inspired by Tao. As is healing and martial arts. In Japanese tao is do. Like Judo, Budo, Aikido, Karate Do and so on. A Taoist understands the whole and studies its parts. There is a unifying principle in Taoist alchemy – call it Jing(vitality), Chi(energy) and Shen(spirit). We see it in the substance and function of all things but we cant intellectually know it. Vitality is physical matters fluid essence, Energy our intent and will in bio-electric format, Spirit is non physical witness and communicator.
Taoist practice is the stripping off of conditioning and illusion by purging toxins , heavy and stagnant energy, and, allowing ones energy to be natural, easy and that of the Tao ( The Way)
“The Tao is like a well: used but never used up. It is like the eternal void: filled with infinite possibilities.” ~ Tao Te ChingIn Qi Gong we stand in Wuji posture. A neutral stance designed to be a bridge between heaven and earth. It is a very natural stance: balanced but not ridged, rounded yet erect. Standing in Wuji Posture encourages the circulation and regulation of the five elements ( Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth ) and Yin/Yang. Like the trigrams of the Yi Jing ( The Book of Changes ), the Taoist Yoga Practitioner takes their place in between heaven and earth to circulate the energies of Yin/Yang and the Five Elements. In this stance, one can be invigorated and yet aware of the subtle in self and environment.. There are no motives other than standing and breathing – You can allow the natural processes to happen. You can become uninvested in the future and removed from the past, and become a part of the present. Now that this is happened you can function from a poised mindset and body posture.
“Knowing the constant, we accept things as they are.
By accepting things as they are, we are impartial.
By being impartial, we are part of the Nature.
By being a part of the Nature, we are one with Tao.
Tao is eternal, and we survive physical death.”
To be a Taoist, one has to have inner experience of their own nature – the Greek maxim, 'know thyself'. The past masters, sages and priests' devotion and dedication to union with Tao gave birth to a great body of yogic knowledge, martial arts, alchemy, meditative exercises and healing arts . All in order to 'know thyself'' They have discovered that balanced effort is required to be in accord with the natural ebb and flow of the cosmos. We are natural and our mind is connected to the source.
“Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source. Returning to the source is serenity.” ~ Tao Te Ching
Because of Taoist Yoga's practical and natural methods, it can be practiced daily, with little risk of injury. Walking, breathing, standing, drawing, whatever you are doing – you can do it naturally, easily and honestly. One doesn't need to know complicated formulas or read endless texts, one can simply relax, breathe, stretch, live simply, embody Yin/Yang,
Without going out the door,
Know the world.
Without looking out the window,
See the Way of Heaven.
Tao Te Ching, Verse 47