• July 9, 2017

    Have you experienced second wind phenomena? You are running. The running requires effort; it’s a bit of a struggle. You think about how happy you will be to get to the end and stop. You may imagine a cool drink or flopping down on the ground, task completed. This is such drudgery….and my side is beginning to hurt…but you continue.

    And then, the unexpected happens. Running is suddenly effortless, a pleasure. You feel that you could run all day. The pain fades away. You enter into the running, no longer separate from it as something you are analyzing, you are runner and running, one movement. This is the second wind of running.

    All spiritual practices have the possibility of second wind phenomena, when the practice becomes effortless and real. Perhaps the most important is relaxing the body. I am always asking you to relax the muscular tensions of the body, the tensions that are not required to sit up straight. Unless you are very practiced, being able to immediately sense and release unnecessary contractions, you will obtain a limited response and then the tensions will snap back.

    Can you continue to attend to the body, noting the tensions and releasing them? If you do, you may find that you attain a certain momentum of relaxing. Releasing one tension exposes another which in turn is released. One tension supports another. Also, one release supports another. The process is incremental. Suddenly, the body relaxes more fully and continues in a state of ease, supported by an unintended shift to more rhythmic breathing and pulse.

    What are the secrets of second wind? First, knowing if I have resistance. Is there a part of me, a little voice in my head, a mental image, sensation or a physical impression, which prefers some activity other than relaxing? Often, resistance is simply the continuity of my previous state or engagement which wants to continue with its own momentum. I must deal with this first. Resistance can be recognized and released.

    Second, recognizing my impatience. My efforts to relax most often fail because I am impatient. I want the result, I want to get to the end, before I have really begun. I may try to reproduce the sensation of relaxing so I can move on to the next stage. Can I find the movement of impatience in me and release that?

    There is virtually no end to the process of relaxing. You may find that the deepest meditative states are simply more perfect relaxation.

    There is also second wind of attention and second wind of presence. We may discuss those at our next meeting.

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  • February 28, 2016

    I am confused as to how much effort is required for attainment in this work. At times, the advice seems to be that we should make efforts but at other times there seems to be an emphasis on the path of non-effort.

    Efforts are required but the key is to make right efforts. Each of us must work with the psychology that we have. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. But there seem to be some basic laws built into the design of human beings which are helpful to understand.

    First, we are responding beings much more than we are initiating beings. The western culture harbours the notion that humans can just decide to get it together and do things out of context with their lives. If you observe yourself carefully and objectively, you may find, as I did, that this is rarely true.

    It seems to me that we mostly decide to do something in response to a stimulus that comes from outside of us. We are inspired by something or moved by something and then we act. The opportunity comes first, then the response. The most productive decisions we make really amount to agreeing to participate in what is happening, whether it is washing dishes or meditation. This is why work groups have value; they create work opportunities that ask for agreement. This is a correct use of the pulling force to make right efforts.

    Understanding your need to respond can help you to be more alert to opportunities to work. You may be able to put yourself in circumstances where you are likely to be called upon to respond. If your idea of work is that you should be able to decide to do something which is not already in the present moment, your efforts will probably fall flat.

    Second, we must be able to discern the difference between responding and reacting. Not every stimulus is worthy of response. And in any case, most of our behaviour is actually just an automatic reaction to our surroundings and relationships, dictated by our identifications and requiring no agreement. The impulse to react can be observed and withheld. Reacting is actually the opposite of responding. It squanders the energy needed for response and it obscures opportunities to respond.

    Third, we need to know how to deal with inner resistance. Again, western culture is unhelpful. Resistance is not something to be overcome through so-called will power, which actually is not will power but the pushing force. Resistance is an expression of internal conflict. Pushing usually increases the conflict, creating more resistance and loss of energy. This is not right effort.

    Resistance is a reaction of the body-mind. It is something to be observed and released. Knowing where it comes from is not important although an understanding of it may arise spontaneously. The point is, do not analyze resistance psychologically but rather see and sense the specific sensations, muscular contractions and mental tapes that comprise it. Then, learn to release the observable physical components.

    Resistance is a treasure-trove of energy which can be used to make right efforts if it is not wasted by the pushing force or repressed by self-censorship. Releasing does not mean rejecting or dispersing resistance; it means relaxing and absorbing the energy with the help of attention. This is where an understanding of non-effort is needed. Relaxing is more fruitful than pushing. Without resistance, it is then possible to make sustained efforts.

    Related Posts:

    Releasing – April 27, 2015

    Resistance – June 19, 2015 

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  • June 19, 2015

    When you were demonstrating the tapping sequence at dinner, I was building up an emotional disagreement and resisted trying the movements. I enjoyed the attachment to the emotional state, or at least enjoyed telling myself I wanted to stay there.

    Really? You seem to suggest that there was someone there deliberately ‘building up an emotional disagreement’. Was it deliberate or was it a purely mechanical reaction with a corresponding little voice in your head saying that it is in charge, deciding to resist?

    It is useful that you have observed your reaction and confessed the process of your resistance. Can you go further? It seems that you have accepted your reaction as yourself, that is, you have identified with it. In doing so, have you not made it solid, more difficult to move? Can you instead be sceptical?

    Sceptical is well on the way to impartial. Sceptical means you do not know. It does not mean that you have secretly made up your mind but you don’t want to appear unreasonable. There is much to be said for it.

    You could adopt a sceptical attitude to the tapping exercise. This would mean not rejecting it but rather examining it and its effects in you. To be sceptical is to separate from the phenomena…the exercise, learning to do it, noting the results if any…and observe. Implied in this is that you do not take anything too seriously…it’s all just data, completely impersonal. Taking ordinary reactions personally, identifying with them, this is evidence of self-importance, is it not?

    First, you would have to be sceptical of your initial reaction to the exercise. What is your reaction telling you? Can you see the pattern of your resistance as a set of physical facts, particular contractions and sensations, and release them? Your emotions would then likely dissipate. Probably this resistance is habitual, frequently expressed in your daily life. Perhaps it is a reaction to authority or learning something new or fear of not getting it right or fear of looking ridiculous. This is for you to find out. But more important than naming it is observing what it physically consists of.

    Can you get to a state where the exercise can be examined objectively? That would be a practical accomplishment of work on self, likely more valuable than the tapping exercise.

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