“The second round,” Brian Hata said, when I asked him what the most pleasurable round was. “Yes, round two,” several other Standers echoed when asked what was their easiest round. Before the stand-off, during the imagining if we could actually do it stage of training, I suggested to the crew that the second round would indeed be the most enjoyable. Looked at from the sidelines one can only imagine a certain degree of insanity in finding pleasure with unhinged knee & hip joints, muscles loaded with one’s own body weight and feet holding it all for hours. But there actually is pleasure to be had and it is had in round two.
It was my experience, during round two of my own 3 hour stand-a-thon. The physical body is warmed up, certain adjustments have been found and there is actually a level of physical comfort. Primarily though, it is mental comfort that is accessed during round two. Once it begins, a certain choice to continue has been made and probably that choice is to continue through the end. So, everyone simply gets mentally cozy with the whole thing. There is no where to go, no one is in any hurry. The hard part is already accomplished - getting to the event, planting your feet on the ground and staying put for the first hour. These standers took that accomplishment with them into round two.
From there, one can actually play around with the process, a little shift here, a little sink there. You know you won’t fall, you know you won’t die. The process becomes more like a fun game. At round two, the standers have overridden their brain’s negative messages about how much they can’t/won’t do. And now, with no mental Judo going on it is easy and natural to turn all that energy into all the magical processes within. There is an amazing amount to feel. Lets face it, its pretty amazing to have a heart beating, lungs expanding and contracting and even basic mammal digestive processes going on. And the little shifts that allow more feeling, releasing, relaxing become more apparent, more intuitive.
My teacher Master Chen Xiao Wang stands at least one hour a day. I asked him without anyone correcting him, how does he know if he is standing correctly for maximum qi flow. He said to me, “you know your own English alphabet, yes?” “Yes. Of course,” I replied. “And you know when a letter is written incorrectly? A backwards S or C?” he continued. “Yes.” I said. “And you know how to correct the error, yes?” Yes! “It is the same with me. I know the alphabet and language of my qi, I know when something is not right and I know how to correct it.”
Wow. Incredibly profound, yes? I like to think about all the amazing insights that have arisen over the millennium from the process of simply feeling ourselves. The knowledge of the meridians, the internal organs, bones, joints and how inextricably interrelated they are. The understanding of nature, of the universe and how inextricably interrelated we all are. The experience of simply standing still, becoming mentally quiet and feeling ourselves gives us this. And looked at from a certain perspective, this is a very deep lineage that has been evolving over thousands of years. Think of all the profound mediators of our time and what arose from their trials. Not just Buddha but how about Einstein? Round two gave everyone a dip into those insights. Round two initiated everyone into that lineage. (continue to Ep. 4-fin)