Seeing with closed eyes

Are there secrets that hide behind our eyes ? Perhaps so.

We enjoy a waterfall of input from our eyes on a regular basis. This overabundance overrides other input streams causing us to devote less time to our hearing, smell, taste and body sensation. A monochrome painting gives less input but allows us to see other aspects that would be lost otherwise.

Closed eyes release a great deal of mental bandwidth to process other flavors as the next suggestions suggest:

  1. Start a constant sound (sometimes, owning a smart phone is good) place the sound in a static place and navigate the space according to the distance, angle and height of the sound.
  2. Start a constant sound and have it moving in a repetitive way. A friend or a toy truck can be or service here. Repeat the navigation drill and let your mind and senses feel the path of the sound in space.
  3. Find a quiet place. Not always an easy task and listen to your own breath and heart beat. Find your own sound reflected in the trees, walls or whatever is around you. Let your sound become a part of the surroundings and with breath, let it dissipate and grow more efficient.
  4. Lie on the ground and crawl around a safe location. Find your way with your body and limbs and feel the different textures of the ground and what is around you. Let the temperature of the different materials tell you where you are and where the sun warms the surface and how. Let the smell and residue on the ground tell you again where you are. The same will work with your eyes open as the capability spans and grows with deep practice.

Breathe, move, communicate with yourself and others.

Racing against time

Simplicity is in the depth of what we do.

This is a very simple thing to do but it has within it the bearing if you excuse the pun, of our own mechanism.

Place yourself in the static push up position and go half way down. Start a timer and close your eyes and aim to keep inner time going so you know how long you are holding the position.

Once you open your eyes and sync with your timer. You know how in tune you are with the world.

There is no understanding without understanding of self.

FIGHT TALK

Movies paint a picture of virtue and might. Of good and evil and of discernible visuals.

Life is about energy preservation and the attacker being smarter than most movie villains seeks the most vulnerable position for the pray before attacking.

After all, statistics are here for a reason and adding percentages to not getting caught or killed seems to make sense.

Do the work to awaken the awareness in every move you make and every breath you take

  1. Talk with a friend as you walk down the street and jab each other as you speak with paper clips or thin branches of wood and try to break them on the other persons body. A successful broken or bend paper clip or branch is a marker for a stab or slash and being able to engage both hemispheres and different regions of the brain will aid in making you more able to handle what is coming any which way.
  2. Take a few coins or small notes of money and go outside. Take care in your movement and find people in need to slip them the money without them noticing. Take greater care not to be seen by others as you do this as they may think of you as a thief of worse. This is a great drill in learning stealth in two ways. The one is not showing your intent on the approach and the second is in not changing your rhythm as you hide your act of kindness. Be safe as you do this as being in need does not assure us the receiver will not take offense of be a bad person.
  3. Circle your partner as you keep a practice knife hidden on your person. Have them escape the location if they sense the draw of the knife and do fifty pushups if they mistake the movement for a draw (it is a win win situation in the long run) switch places every three attempts or guesses.
  4. Close your eyes and have a friend place one hand on you. Let them move you around gently and to move their hands on you freely. Note your breathing and equilibrium and they in turn will stab you or slash at you with a training knife when they feel you are turning rigid or dogmatic in motion. This will teach you to move within the lead of a contact or a crowd and save you from trying to have words with Ms Destiny. Go with it but do it your way.

Teach your child to pay attention

Games and stories are the best way to teach the young and non walking dead.

Here are a few ways to bring your child more into the moment and show that paying attention pays.

VISUAL

  1. One more cat – Choose an animal like a cat or an object and see who calls it out faster and in greater amounts. You can have a cat counting contest or a broken pavement contest it matters only that we pay attention. Change what the object is from time to time as the seasons change (red leaf for example) and enjoy the extra awareness.
  2. What is missing – Take a scene that is well known to everyone and remove one part. See who finds out what it is first and how. For example – take away the favorite picture off the wall and see if it is noticed.
  3. Color blind – Things change color by season or man action. Note the changes the locals make in their yards and clothes, mark the changes in the leaves and trunk and mark the change in the skies and in the horizons.

AUDITORY

  1. Insects birds cats and dogs – Where you have insects making noises, you will not find birds, where you hear birds, you will not find cats and so on. Listen and predict what animals or people you will find about and learn a mighty lesson on rings of association.
  2. Echo lines – There is a distance beneath which no echo is heard by us. Guess and match who finds the line of the echo in different places and ranges. There is a lot to learn about the three dimensional nature of waves thus.
  3. The closing tap – A tune is made out of sound and silence. check who notices when the washing machine has ended its cycle, when do the birds finish their evening calls and gain the full range of the tune.

TACTILE

  1. The lost ant – Hide a small paper clip inside clothes and see when it is detected, Place a plastic bottle cap under the sheets and see who is the true princess or just place an acorn on the ground and see who chooses to step lightly 🙂 The appreciation to touch goes beyond the fingertips.
  2. The right key – Take objects that seem similar and close your eyes to pick the right one. It can be keys, clothes and anything that matches, your fingers and mind will connect past the oversight of the eyes and awaken even more.
  3. The tower – Take very light objects like disposable plastic cups or clean ear cleaning sticks and build towers with them.  aim to make them as gentle as possible to better understand the lightest touch.

For Gideon.

 

 

Awareness makes us graceful

I like power. We all do, but power is not the answer against a blade or a verbal attack. One must work consistently on control and thus create a measure of awareness which guides the power and creates the final outcome. Power in impact can reach a point of diminishing return, Grace does not.

Here is a challenge (people like challenges)

Do this straight for 30 days

  1. Hold a cup of water in your hand with water filling it and almost overflowing. Sit down on your behind and get up 10 times with no contact of arms to the ground and with no spilling of water.
  2. find a stout round roll like a metal bottle or an actual wood log and stand on it. Teach yourself to walk on the log and take 10 steps forward and 1o back.  Make sure you have a way to dis-log safely before you start walking. Falling hard is hard.
  3. Reach a handstand with your legs resting lightly on a wall. Breathe and move to free stand and note how your body balances and overbalances itself. Focus on your breathing and maintain the hold for 120 breaths. (If this is hard physically, divide it to smaller parts)

The simple stuff is key to reaching grace.

Do this and reap the benefits or better yet, enjoy the work.

3 Breath awareness drills to dive inside with

Being attune and in the moment is simple but not easy. Here are three games to play to increase your natural tuning to what others and you are doing.

  1. Close your eyes and touch your partner in the chest. Count their breaths to ten and push on the ten. Verify that you counted well and move to a more obscure location for this count such as the back and then the limbs and head. This will extend your awareness to breath contact affect we have on each other and the partner being counted can work and move to obscure their breath by tension, movement and changing pace. Lo tech work but highly beneficial for any encounter later on as you are in tune with the breath tempo, depth and alignment of the contact.
  2. Open your eyes and view your partner from the front. Repeat the breath count work from a step away and as you make your way, one step at a time away from your partner, become more and more in tune with the slight movement and tempo of their life. Again, this will serve you well in the times ahead. Repeat the game from the side of the partner and then from the back. Wear different clothes and use whatever is there for your enjoyment and progress into yourself.
  3. Walk in nature ( a garden will do if you are in a city) and count your breaths per steps. Start with one breath phase (inhale, exhale, rest) for each step and go up in your count the moment you feel comfortable in the current count. Go as high as you can and climb down in the same manner. Join a partner in doing this and feel each change in breath phase as they make it without verbal or visible cues to mirror their breath so you can be in tune by choice.  Make sure you also work to keep your tempo and depth free from auto mirroring as it produces a temptation all by itself. Be a social creature but be free first.

Breath work is a primal key. Use it to increase whatever else you do.

Increase your basic level of awareness

Here are ways to increase your awareness without increasing the energy we put into it. It is easy to be super vigilant for a few seconds and then go back to sleep. Choose instead to grind the wheel a little bit each day. Keep your sword sharp or grow rust.

These are tweaks and small changes to everyday civil life. Take what suits you and make it your own. Do not let the darkness come. Take it in yourself.

 

  1. Use less artificial light. Go to the washroom at night without turning on the light. Take the trash out without using the staircase light. Learn to see and feel with the light you have.
  2. Listen with your feet. Object moving on the ground make vibrational footprints. Pay attention even when you have your boots or shoes on and you will gain sight beyond sight.
  3. Smell your food but not just. Smelling your food give a head start to your stomach to produce what is needed to digest the incoming. Pay attention to cigarette smoke, to car smells within the car, Pay attention to flowers opening in the morning and shifts in people smells in seasons and in health and sickness.
  4. Feel the air on your skin. Moving doors, birds and vehicles create streams of moving air. You can sit with your back to the door and still sense it open in the dark.
  5. Attune before you open the door. People open doors with but a glance or look or even on automatic. Let yourself gather and listen to your senses and intuition each time you open a door. It will pay forward in some way.
  6. Listen to the small voices. Everyone has intuition but not everyone listens to it. Hear the small hunches and voices among the larger voices of hunger and pain. The more you pay attention to, the less one voice controls you.
  7. Look at the long run. We eat and forget, we try to catch the falling glass of the table and forget the firing of the less used nerves. Listen to the long run and pay attention to the reward and price of doing what you choose to do. Many times there will be no connection but sometimes will make this worth the weave of past, present and future together. Eventually it will be just a part of you as it was in youth.
  8. See with your hands. The weight and texture of objects matter. Pressing a button that has warmed up due to electric resistance, feeling sweat on a door handle or the changed weight of a picked pocket. All these things are at your fingertips.

 

For JTMM

AAAAAAA Tension

There is a saying “It is easy to be a monk at the top of the mountain“. It is indeed much easier to be excess free if the environment is calm and smooth but the universe is a better teacher than that 🙂

As it is easier to be smart when you watch mayhem from the sidelines (There were aristocrats in carriages at the Waterloo battle who came to view the spectacle) so we cannot overload our awareness and expect logically to deal with it as a spectator. Instead, we will go from parameter to parameter and build a greater web to catch the moment. Calmness is a large net.

  1. Stand next to the wall and have one person push and twist your body toward it. Work with your eyes closed on keeping your breath continuous and avoid letting expectation control your breathing tempo.
  2. Repeat with eyes open.
  3. Lie on the ground and breathe continuously. have one or more people pull and push on you in different directions as you maintain your comfort by moving the least you can and breathing.
  4. Repeat as you actively tense your body on every other inhale. This teaches to let go of accumulated tension and surprise postural (think loud noise reactions 🙂 ) tension on the go.
  5. Stand and let a trusted partner grab your neck or head with a pressure hold and turn and twist you by that contact. Work to breathe and to let your eyes see what is in front of them instead of trying to fixate to a horizon or any exiting location like the door to the room. Move your entire body and remain as comfortable as you can be.
  6. Repeat as your partner also uses their legs to give you further contact 🙂
  7. Start a delicate task (arranging a balance structure using small rocks, typing a poem and so on) and have one or more people lean on you with slowly increasing speed. Breathe and work to allow your spine muscles and body and eyes to move with the contact the moment you pay attention to them or simply move the entire time with your breath to lead.
  8. Tense your upper body and start walking. Move from standing to siting and laying down and back up while keeping the tension in the upper body. Work to keep the tension from bleeding to the lower body while in movement.
  9. Tense your lower body and move on the ground continuously. Have a partner create obstacles for your to navigate and work to keep the tension from bleeding to the upper body and your eyes from fixating on your heading.
  10. Stand and tense just your arm on the inhale. Exhale and “move” the tension to the other arm and repeat faster and faster until you reach a current end. remember this changes from day to day and with practice.
  11. Repeat as you move to avoid getting caught by a partner or more. Creating and letting go of tension while engaging with a partner is key to learning to manifest tension as a tool instead of working with the default of someone else.
  12. Start walking and have one or more partners grab you with force and torque. Work in turn on keeping your breath continuous, keeping your movement in the direction you want or angling toward it (getting to somewhere can happen in an arch, it helps in letting go of tension), letting your eyes move without fixating on the horizon or your heading.
  13. Engage your partners in pushing and pulling and grabbing. Talk about a non connected subject as you continue to move together and against each other. Being a human is not a one way road. Embody this in your lessons.

Work on the basics in simple combinations. Work on one thing at a time and progress will come before you know it.

Enjoy the road. Tension is your friend when applied correctly.

Move under pressure – wisely

Here are ten suggestion to increase the pressure we place on ourselves while working on our health and ability.

Principle – example:

  1. Height – raise your legs to differnet heights as you do push ups.
  2. Stability – Do push ups on two hanging ropes.
  3. Surface – Walk on your fists and feet outside and choose your placing wisely.
  4. Speed– Slow down or speed up your sit ups and leg raises to spend more time on the movement and give your mind more time to understand how you move.
  5. Breath – Dictate how many breaths you have per movement or give yourself no breath at all to perform a task.
  6. Sight – Close your eyes and do one legged squats.
  7. Position – Place your fists/hands in different angles as you do push ups.
  8. Tension – Keep your arms tense as you climb a rope.
  9. Tempo – Set a time and perform differnet counts of a movement during it.
  10. Movement – Change the movement itself. Do a turkish get up without placing a hand on the ground, do a snatch with the KB on the side of the hip.

There is endless variation. Be free in your mind first and enjoy each day of movement.

Do not take things for granted. Learn something by making small changes every time.

The draw

Drawing the blade can be a martial art like Japanese 居合 or a simple task we perform while preparing a meal for the family. Lets play with drawing in particular so we can better integrate it into the work.

  1. Place the knife in front of you and close your eyes. Take it in one hand and place it in the sheath and then draw it back out. Repeat for each hand while facing the blade and with your sides and back to the blade. If you reach with your eyes, you engage a lot of yourself. When you reach with your awareness, you are less committed and more free.
  2. Place the blade in its sheath and on your body (belt, underarm, vest or other carry method) and roll on the ground forward and backward and side to side. Notice how you shift your movement with the blade on you and notice others moving in a compensation patterns as well.
  3. Lie on the ground with your blade on you and with your breath leading, draw and return the blade with each hand and then repeat the movement slower with a breath hold and with your eyes closed.
  4. Repeat the previous drill while gently rolling on the ground. Note that your eyes can either go to the knife operation or work with your body movement. Choose wisely.
  5. Tie a rope to a limb and walk around. Have a partner tug on the rope as you draw and resheath the blade. Note your breathing and tension in your body. Use your body to spread the pull and ride the wave of it.
  6. Repeat the previous drill while rolling on the ground. Relax your eye horizon fixation. It may save your life one day.
  7. Hold wrists with your partner and look straight ahead. Have them walk around you as you release your frame tension to stay untangled and at the ame time, draw and reshath your blade. Repeat with all variations and don’t forget to laugh.
  8. Repeat the previous drill while sitting on your behind and your partner walking around you.
  9. Stand a step away from the wall and draw and sheath your blade continously. Have a partner throw tennis balls at you and you avoid contact of the innitial throw or the rebound while doing the work.
  10. Hold a partners hand as they try to move away from you and repeat the draw and sheathing movements both standing and on the ground.
  11. Have a partner hold onto you in some way (eyelash hold, arm around neck, pants belt grab, bear hug) and drag you somewhere as you repeat the draw and sheathing movements both standing and on the ground.
  12. Wear gloves you use throuout the year from snow gloves to nomex and repeat any drill in the progression.
  13. Tape a few fingers together and  repeat any drill in the progression.
  14. Hold another object in one hand ( a rifle, a hammer, a medical kit) and repeat any drill in the progression.

Enjoy what you do. It smooths the rolling of the wheels.