Relaxation is Relative

Photo by exfordy

There’s a blog post over at martial development on The Four Paradoxes of Standing Meditation.

The post describes the philosophy of Wang XiangZhai, a master of Yiquan boxing and a hard as nails dude in his time.  Yiquan’s training syllabus is based completely around standing meditation, and practitioners do hours and hours of standing as it is the heart of the system.

I’d like to draw your attention to two things in the blog post:

1) Perspectives: Chris gives a different perspective to what happens when you do standing meditation.  What happens to all of us when we practise standing is essentially the same thing, but we all perceive it in different ways.  Chris’s perspective on what happens is different and you may find it useful as it’ll give you another way of looking at the experience to the Taijipedia, and different perspectives are always helpful.

2) Comment: There’s a small argument that goes on in the comments section.  A reader asks about whether we can “objectively verify a state of relaxation”.   Comments 2 and 7 are the ones I’m referring to.

You can’t really objectively verify a state of relaxation.  Our senses and perceptions are relative, and thus, our perception of relaxation is relative, and by inference, all relaxation is relative.  You may feel really relaxed today, more relaxed than this time last week.  However, you may be MORE tense than last week because you had one of those days yesterday and was stressed to the eyeballs.

Your state of relaxation is much like your sense of smell.  If you step into a room with a bad smell (read tension) hanging around, sooner or later you get used to it and don’t notice it any more.  Go into a room with the same smell, but not as bad and you’ll hardly notice it (tension less than before, but still tense).  It’s only when you come out of the room (totally relax), then go back in (tense up again) that you’ll notice the tension again.

So, what does this mean for your Taijiquan practise?  The training and practise will, over time relax you even if you cannot yourself always perceive this relaxation.   It’s a proven method that’s worked for hundreds of years, so you can trust it to deliver the benefits, all you have to do is practise.

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