It's been quite a while since I've posted. Just very busy and trying to fit in as much practice as possible. I think I'm moving into another experience with my practice and I thought I'd share about that and just the practice in general. It's hard to put this into words, so forgive me if I struggle.
Ok. So, I think I've gotten to the point of maintaning the principals more often and integrating the upper, lower, crown, dan tien and mingmen energies into one. The feeling comes and goes during practice, but I've gotten to the stage that once I get the principals in place, I can hold them and the one energy feeling more often and longer, and when I'm trying and focused, I have moved form how do I get "it", to how come I lost "it" and how do I lose it less often.
I can also "get the feeling of one energy" often throughout the day, sitting, standing, walking, etc. It's a little harder to maintain moving. Once you have the "whole body as one energy feel", it seems like working on any of the practice lesson technigues seem to, in varying degrees, allow for working on controlling the feel. Like a feeling of expanding and contracting the "whole" as one. In varying degrees of intensity. Also, at times it seems like you can move the intention from the whole to a more focused location, for example the hand or foot, and put more energy there. Again, in varying degrees of intensity.
For those writing recently about suspending the crown. For me it feels like energy at the top or crown of the head. Like the energy either is there and lights it up or is not. I seems to be part of getting to the whole body energy as one. I only get the whole body as one feel when all of the areas of the body, have the right energy feel - front, back, top, bottom, legs, feet, arms, chest, back and crown.
This all seems to come in degrees. A step forward, a couple back. two forward, one back. Three backward, one forward. But all the time, the more I practice the more I move forward and the faster I go.
The only thing I can compare it to is learning to ride a bike, only probably more complex. But the good thing is, like riding a bike, more practice seems to insure more success. The other ways it's similar are that until you've done it or tried it you have no way of understanding what it is or how to do it. Success comes in little steps, at different rates at different times and probably in slightly different ways for different people (depending on body type, mental and physical history, degree of beginners mind, willingness or time available to practice, etc.). It's also similar in that you shouldn't worry about if youre doing it right in the beginning, just do it. The more you do it the more you're body will begin to learn what it needs to on it's own. As you begin to get more aspects of it, then you'll have some things to fine tune with Sifu, but in the beginning it's more about doing, than doing right. Looking back I think I worried way too much about doing each lesson/technigue/drill/excercise correctly, when I should have just relaxed and done them. I now am starting to realize that these are not in themselves a thing to perfect, but instead a vehicle to an end, to a feeling or feelings that you have to experience many times to be able to fine tune them, hold them more often, hold them for longer periods and probably to grow them stronger.
I feel like I'm starting to sense the concept of balance in relation to my bike and am beginning to get a glimpse that I might be able to get to a stage where balance all the time is possible, maybe even eventually second nature.
I'd relate this all back to an ancient chinese saying that I don't really know that well and I'll butcher it, but it goes something along these lines. One must leave the boat behind after you cross the river. It is just a tool, maybe one of many that would have worked. Don't cling to the tool. Look at the lessons as tools to get another angle view of what your trying to see or another chance to feel a piece of a larger feeling. They work together and layer upon each other to help your body and mind learn what it needs to progress. Again, I think I worried about each and every last detail, when that was pointless. What I needed to do is practice and review, practice and review as much as possible.
So my take is practice as much as possible, as often as possible. Do so, without worry and with faith. Just relax and do and check in here with Sifu when you feel the need. And realize that you've got to put a certain amount of time in before you'll progress enough to be able to discern the enevitable feelings, and be able to work with Sifu to fine tune them. I think the lessons work to teach our beings what we need to know, if you pay internal attention while you practice.