It has been almost exactly 3 years since I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii. I have had many new experiences here and a lot of growth. Probably the most common theme for my time here is that of learning to be fully present in my body. To really feel and experience what that is like. Not only that but to use the body consciously, being aware of how it is moving and how my energy is running through it.
In the past I often tried to escape this feeling. I used various external substances and distractions. Even meditation was a way to escape. During the times when these things were not possible I tried to hide within myself, pulling my energy in. This shrinking away was reflected in my posture and mannerisms.
I read recently that it is believed in evolutionary terms that the reptilian aspect of the body originated from some form of turtle. I will not attempt to venture the truth of this, but I can say that is definitely the way my body seemed to act especially when I was a kid. It was if I was wishing I had a shell to sink back into. I did wind up creating some energetic ones in how I emotionally tried to protect myself back then. To this day I am still working on tearing down the various levels of these barriers to my experiencing deeper relationships and my environment.
There is a very strong warrior energy here in Hawaii. This feels especially strong on the less developed and volcanically active Big Island. This island has been referred to as the root chakra of the islands. There is also an obvious connection to Lemuria or Mu, the ancient civilization once here or perhaps, a better description would be, existing in another dimension in this same space. This ancient culture was said to be very much about the physical body aspects of experience as compared to Atlantis which I would consider more focused on the experience of mental power.
Personally, I feel the energy of this island as very powerful and raw. Strong but yet fluid like a wave. This energy is so strong that even the most disconnected person can’t help but be affected by it. For me sometimes it can feel like too much to process.
While here I was very dedicated to training in Tai Chi for almost 2 years. I learned very quickly that with all my amazing experiences and abilities with subtle energy from hundreds of hours of meditating that I wasn’t able to manifest it physically. Like many others that I saw come to this class that spent a great deal of time meditating, I had my reality and ego shattered by this. We used all our focus and intention, relaxing, breathing and feeling our energy but it did not work. I was very confused as to why I could not move my energy outside my body strong enough to do the things my teacher could do or at least not let him knock me over so easy.
I was able to have all kinds of amazing experiences on the inner planes. Many of these experiences were physically confirmed enough to convince me of their accuracy. I felt it was just a matter of being focused and or letting go enough to allow my higher-self to direct these things. I truly believed there was no limit to human potential when achieving high states of frequency in meditation. It was just a matter of more practice. I saw how when these things were not possible for me to manifest no matter how much time I put into them that I was in maya or illusion. Not so much because of my inner experiences but because I was trying to force them into this reality and level of density. It was as if I needed these experiences to be real. I needed to bring them to this plane so as to have more reassurance of who I am.
These inner experiences may be very real but simply unable to manifest onto the earth plane at this time. Maybe I just need much more practice and discipline, but the point is that I had to let go and be flexible with these things. To believe if I choose to but also acknowledge it may not be totally accurate for the 3D level. Perhaps there was some ego involved as I saw a couple people come to class that I could feel how good they were at meditation and holding a calm focused energy but I could also feel a high level of astral delusion. Basically, that they spent a lot of time blissing out in the astral plane and were not very grounded. These people become extremely frustrated and would not stay in class very long. I was basically considered one of these people by my teacher, not that he believed in such things that I know to be real experientially, but he saw the pattern of how those who were really into spirituality and meditation would not stay very long. He often would tell me “well, at least you stay and keep trying” He saw how a lot of this group had a hard time letting go of their need for subtle energy ability to be manifested quickly in something very grounded such as Tai Chi. There is a great deal of physical mechanics involved which requires being very present in the body.
I had to embody all of who I am energetically in a very physical way. I had to refine it, to understand the mechanisms of balance not only emotionally, energetically, and mentally but also how that all plays out in my body. Being able to move the body and be at peace with it when it did not respond the way I envisioned or intended.
Perhaps it could be called body awareness, but I feel it is beyond that. It is being fully integrated on every level, moving as one in a calm, relaxed and focused manner. Holding while letting go, moving forward while going backward, and expanding while contracting. Being able to do all these things simultaneously both energetically and physically. Tai Chi is like one of the best physical examples of how all great truths are a paradox. They do not make sense to the logical linear mind but yet they are undeniably true when empirically tested or simply observed.
When I stand against a wall and push something my back is pushed against the wall as well. So to push, without force, I expand both forward and backward to be more effective. It is opposite of how I normally push things. I would just push forward harder until I was off balance. I would not think to have energy going behind me or rooting into the earth while pushing forward. My mind would get carried away and send me out beyond my point of balance, so eager to win. I would rely on my arms and shoulders rather than use my whole body for efficiency. Even something as simple as standing, I was locking my knees to hold my spine straight putting a strain on my back and neck. My teacher would often say to this that “the abnormal has become normal.”
I am still working on moving the body as one in a calm and focused manner. I have had a number of small glimpses of what is possible when this is achieved both in myself and others. I was really able to witness the strength of it in a gentleman that visited from China. This man was so good at push hands (like sparring but totally different, it is almost like fighting your own bad habits of forcing things. Probably better described as a dance of connected energy between two people who just follow each other) he could move you with just a slight touch. In fact, there are those who can even do this from a distance but I have yet to experience it.
What I experienced with this man from China was that he was able to feel into my energy and body, discover a point of imbalance and gently push it. But this is where it becomes harder to grasp, he goes around and under it like water. It is circular, as everything in tai chi is a circle, and if I tried to adjust he used that to gently push me over. I did an experiment with this by really strengthening the shielding of my energy with the 12d shield technique, which did make it a little more difficult for him. I could see on his face he was really digging trying to find that point of imbalance.
A lot of this ability has to do with rooting ones energy which I thought I was doing in meditation but realized I had to increase the visualization and go deeper. I had to incorporate how my body was positioned and how the energy was dispersed within it. I had to go beyond simply thinking, feeling, and intending. I had to embody all aspects all at once, feeling everything while being relaxed.
Realizing all this I had a new level of awareness in what embodiment is. There are many levels to embodiment but in this situation I am just describing being more energetically present, balanced, and connected at every moment. Something I have to constantly remind myself to come back to.
Embodiment goes even further as it is also about expanding ones energy which includes posture. This for me this is tied into being seen and noticed. I have been working to correct my old conditioned posture of fear, which is the rolled forward shoulders and head down position like the turtle I mentioned earlier. This is used in tai chi slightly but mine was much more accentuated when under stress.
In true polarity integrator form I was also exposed to a very specific yoga technique called YogAlign here in Hawaii. This body posture strengthening technique is very much about standing tall with chest out, shoulders back. This was frowned upon in tai chi as having shoulders too far back and chest too high is believed to throw off balance, especially when first learning. Here I had two very different ideologies in what is proper posture that I had to find balance with.
Just like the tai chi, YogAlign did help my back and even more than the tai chi it helped my stiff shoulders. When I stood tall with my shoulders back I felt stronger and more confident but I had to balance this very outward posture by keeping my energy humble and not challenging. To be confident not arrogant with how I was carrying myself. Bit hard to explain I guess.
I was able to find a balance between the two disciplines. I am no longer taking Tai Chi classes but still do the yang long form once in a while. I was putting too much stress on myself to master it. I just could not let go. I also had that digestive thing I wrote about before along with all the university studies stress that left me wiped out.
Anyone who has done tai chi for an extended period of time will tell you there is a lot to focus on but yet still be calm and relaxed. For a perfectionist like me it was just too stressful. I realized it would take me a whole lifetime to accomplish what I wanted. I will one day start it up again but for now I have too many other things going on that I cannot give it the time it requires. I do attend a kung fu class once a week that I really enjoy because of how conscious the teacher is and there really isn’t much pressure to improve which allows me to do so much quicker.
All these techniques have helped me learn about being in my body. When I remember, I am able to feel the connection to it in every moment while moving. While meditating I used to just let go of all the feeling sensations in my body in order to go very deep and connect to my higher self. The same was true of all the thoughts in my sometimes wild beast of a mind. I would let go of everything so I could connect to the intuitive intelligence beyond the linear mind. Now I have had to learn to use my body and mind while staying connected to my infinite energetic self. I am working to deal with the little pains in the body and the dissonance often experienced when striving to have everything connected. This often brings up a lot of anger and frustration. So I have to remember to be kind to myself and not allow my anger to intensely force my body to do what my ego wills.
Another experience I have had in Hawaii in relation to physical embodiment is getting a massage. Sure I have had ones before but not by a professional. In fact my first real one was a lomi lomi message. This is an ancient Hawaiian technique that has a very powerful energetic aspect to it which must be experienced to truly understand.
Speaking of embodiment, the woman I got the massage from wasn’t of Hawaiian blood but she has spent a lot of time here on the islands and learned the technique in a very traditional way over a period of years. She has a deep connection to the culture, people, and land. You can really feel that energy coming from her. I have noticed this in others who are very connected to the islands but are not Hawaiian or born/raised here. They seem to embody the Hawaiian spirit; after all I strongly know we have all had other lifetimes other than this one. I am only aware of one that I had here and I would not consider it very pleasant so perhaps that is why I do not fully resonate with this place. I like it and it is beautiful but my heart is drawn to the Greek islands for whatever reason. Perhaps one day I will go there and experience the why of that.
I now get massages from time to time which really does help and is like a form of self-love. I was really abusive to my body in the past and I saw massages as an expensive self-indulgence. I now try to take better care of myself and allow for getting a massage without feeling guilty or unmanly about it.
Much of my frustration with life lands in my body so doing all these things helps me stay connected and healthy in a vehicle that I need to navigate this reality. I now honor and acknowledge the body as in my experiences it is part of me but yet has a separate intelligence and needs care. I am reminded of hearing numerous times that the body is like your child self. Like a child it requires care and protection from possible abuse. I work to stay within it even when things get unpleasant. I strive to be a compassionate master of it using it to its optimum capacity without pushing it too far. I choose to be in my body, listening, and loving it even when it doesn’t always do what I want.
May you love and be fully functional in your body,