Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nature is Kind

Been busy, as you can imagine, reliving again in Japan.

Many messages have gone out - not all posted here. However I am posting tomorrow's message to those on our list in Japan.

I slowly evolving my own understanding of the work, and how it can be used to support people undoing the stress they give themselves over the events of the last few weeks...

***

Once upon a time a lone lady in a kimono
waited by the edge of a river.
She needed to cross the river,
but could not get her self wet.

Not long after, two monks came along,
so she pleaded to be carried across the river.
The tall monk agreed, and carried her
across the river on his back.
The shorter monk was shocked
by his companion's action,
and silently fumed for one hour
after the woman had left.
Finally, he could contain himself no longer:

"You were wrong"
he blurted out to the taller monk
"It is forbidden to touch a woman,
but you did even more!
You carried her across the river!!"

The taller monk smiled compassionately.
He looked at the shorter monk and said:

"My dear monk - I carried the woman
for just 5 minutes whereas you have been
carrying the woman for over an hour."

***

Nature is much kinder than our own minds.

Unless you lived through the tsunami,
most people only directly experienced the big earthquake.
And the earthquake lasted only a few minutes
- that is all. But the stress has been going
on ever since. It is not the earthquake itself that stresses us,
it is the thoughts we have about it that stress us.

Like the short monk who fumed for one hour
about the five minutes his taller companion
carried the woman over the river,
our minds tend to replay the earthquake
like a YouTube clip over and over again.

It is understandable that we would do that.
It is human nature to do that.
I am not in judgement of that.
I am not writing that this is wrong.
I am only pointing out that we create
the stress we feel, not nature.
Nature is much kinder - it only scared us directly for a few minutes.
Ever since then, we have only been scaring ourself.

BodyChance is known as the undoing school.
It is the place where we learn how to undo
those things that cause us pain.
Usually at BodyChance we focus
on things like katakori, or back pain.

But on this Friday April 1st,
with the whole new BodyChance team of teachers,
we will focus on undoing the stress of the earthquake.
Not just the earthquake,
but any of the events after it
that are still causing distress in your daily life.

Undoing is a process of seeing the truth.
It is a process of directly knowing
how I am inflicting harm upon myself.

On April 1st I am offering you a unique opportunity.
Come not to learn something new,
but to unlearn something old.

Come not to do new techniques,
but to undo the unnecessary techniques.

If you want help with your current situation
reply to this email and tell us you will come.

I look forward to meeting you then.

cheerfully

Jeremy
BC Education Director.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Living in Truth - Japan #2

Continuing to post to my blog the messages I am sending out in Japan to the 3,000 on our list. Since yesterday, it has been posted on several blogs, shared in Mixi (Japan's FaceBook) or retweeded more widely. We are getting a positive response - it is good to feel these ideas are supporting people in this crisis.

***

This is Jeremy, BodyChance Education Director.

My guess is that you are thinking about your life deeply at the moment?

I know I am. So many questions come to my mind. So many unanswerable questions…

What will happen in Tokyo? Will I still be able to live here? Should I leave Tokyo? Should I leave Japan? Do I carry on as normal? Do I stay at home and wait? What is the best thing for me to do? Who can I talk to about this?

There are all questions I have thought about. I am guessing you must be thinking about the same.

Soon you realize there are no answers to be found. You don't know what to do…

This is what feels so frustrating, yes? You want to know what will happen. You want some security – some knowledge that is real – to base your decisions on. You wonder "How can I decide what to do, when I do not know what is going on?"

This feeling of being lost is not unfamiliar to people who study Alexander Technique at BodyChance. It is actually how life really is. We think life is certain, we think life is concrete. When we discover that life is not like that, we feel confused.

However, the truth is that nothing ever stays the same.

When my teacher Marj would give me a lesson, I felt terrific. I felt so good. I would think – "Oh, I want to keep this feeling forever. I want to stay like this." Mary would look at me, and quickly say:

"It's never going to feel the same twice."

Marj did not want me to fix things. So about Japan now, you do not want to say to your self "It is like this" . Why? Because tomorrow, you will change. Tomorrow, everything around you will change.

Now you are living in a time which is teaching you this truth. Your life is changing: every year, every month, every week, every hour, every second. You do not know what will happen in Fukushima. Will it be OK? Will it be a disaster? You do not know.

So today you live in this suspended world. And this is the world as it actually is. This is the true world, the world where change is the only constant thing.

So now is the time to live your life truthfully. This day, this moment is real, but tomorrow, next year, next decade, next generation – none of that is real. You do not know what will happen tomorrow, or next year, or the next generation.

Each day you wake up and seek more news. Until you look, you do not know what the world is like today. But you do not have to wait for the news to decide how your life will be today. You do not need to be a victim of circumstances. Instead, you can accept that the world is uncertain, and be certain of its uncertainty. You can decide: "This is how I will live today. In each moment, I can be certain that I do not know what will happen next…"

When you have fearful thoughts, ask your self: "Are these thoughts helping me? How real are there? Do I have any power to change what is happening now?" If you answer yes, great – go do something about it. If you answer no – then what point is there for you to be thinking this way? Do you want to encourage these thoughts?

Sure, you can not really stop your thoughts. That is impossible too. But you can understand "These thoughts of mine are not real. I am only saying it to myself. I do not need to listen to my thoughts as though I was listening to the NHK News!"

This is a helpful question to carry around with you: are these thoughts helpful to me? Are they necessary? Do I want to encourage and nurture these thoughts? Will this help me or not?

And many times you will find "It does not help me to think this way. This is only my imagination. I only know about today. I only know about now. So I will just stay with my whole self."

For those of you who have studied with BodyChance – now you think of your whole body, your whole movement. This brings you back into the present moment. In the present moment, all your power is there.

This is the way to live your true life. It has always been like this. Sometimes it takes a crisis for us to be reminded of how life actually is.

Nothing is sure. Nothing is fixed. But if you love and cherish your self and others, you have the comfort of your self. You have the comfort of this moment. In this moment you can be whole. You can be you. And you can only do what you can do. Nothing more. And nothing less.

My heartfelt best wishes to you all.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Undoing Way - Japan #1

I will start posting messages I am sending out to our Japanese list and visitors to our website...

***

Hi,

I am Jeremy from BodyChance, and I am writing to you from the Gold Coast in Australia.

I sometimes wonder why I left Japan the day before the earthquake hit - is there any meaning in that for me?

And the only meaning I can take right now is my determination to come back. It has tested my will, as a foreigner, to know if Japan is really a home for me. I discovered that it is. I plan to return on March 24th and do what I can to support you through this terrible crisis. I don't mind if my life is shortened as a result – I am only afraid to waste my life. I am afraid to go to my grave without being able to say "I did what I could."

I've just come off a conference call with the members of BodyChance's full-time staff, and I ended our conversation with tears in my eyes. I had not felt nor understood till that moment what a crisis of confidence is happening for you in Japan. I want to come back and be with you all. I want to tell you what a wonderful people you are.

So many people the world over care for you now – do you know that? My friends in Australia talk of nothing else - we are all concerned for you, for Japan's welfare. One beautiful outcome of this tragedy can be your discovery of how much you are loved by others in the world.

Right now, many of BodyChance staff are experiencing fear – they have many concerns. I asked to them - how can we offer leadership to others, when we our selves are feeling so unsure? And for that, we look to the deeper qualities of the work we offer at BodyChance. At the top of our website we say that undoing is more important than doing.

What is there for you to "undo" in a crisis such as this?

There is a lot to undo – beginning with all the 'noise' the voices in your head make as you try to understand and cope with what is happening. There are two reactions you have. The first reaction is primary – your feeling. It is strong, present and moving from one state to another. The second reaction is what you say to your self about your feeling – this is the 'noise'. This is the part of busyness that you can "undo".

It will not help to get caught up in your thoughts. Why? Because your thoughts always work to create the worst picture of things – they are biologically designed to do this. However, the design doesn't serve you now as it did 100,000 years ago.

Can it help you now to always be thinking and imagining the worst? Do you have the power to change the outcome now? Basically not. Your thoughts affect you deeply, but they do not, for example, make much difference to the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. And it is not those worries that are really your true experience. Your true experience is not about nuclear reactors, tsunamis or earthquakes.

Your primary, true feeling has no thoughts. Your true experience can be felt without noise of your thoughts. Quietly, silently, I encourage you to be present to whatever feelings you have. There is no wrong feeling to have. You may feel guilt. You may feel excitement. You may feel despair. You may feel frustration, anger, helplessness. You may feel relief, joy and guilt all together. Whatever you feel remember it is just that – a feeling. It does not say anything about what will happen. It is not the predictor of the future.

Your feelings, when left to run alone, will transform into something else. How often have you started to weep, only to find yourself laughing a minute later? Feelings are like this – they naturally move from one state to the next. However, when you embroider your feelings with fearful concepts, you unnaturally attach an idea that is not existing in the feeling itself. You add the idea to the feeling, and think that both feeling and idea are the same thing.

When this happens, the idea carries you away from the natural enfoldment of your feelings. The idea suppresses your feeling, and you mistake the idea for being your feeling. Then your emotion gets fixed by the idea. The idea might be about Tokyo in disaster, the idea might be about losing your loved ones, the idea might be about your business collapsing. They are strong ideas, but they do not live in your feelings. You attach these ideas to your feelings.

You start to believe that this feeling and idea are the same thing. And then you are trapped. This terrible idea, together with a feeling, holds you day and night until you are unable to live any more. Do not let that happen to yourself. Undo that fixing of idea to feeling.

Free your feelings from the ideas that try to hold them. Let your feelings move from one state to the next. Undo belief in your ideas. Instead, see your ideas as just ideas – not truth, not real, not actual. Just ideas. When you can "undo" the idea, and let your feeling free, you will be free. You will be new. You will be more who you really are.

How can you do this? By sharing with others. By connecting truthfully with other human beings who are willing to listen and be listened too. Who do you have like this in your life? Go find them, go be with them. I encourage you to continue your normal life, but continue it with an honest sharing of your feeling. You do not need to pretend you are OK, but you do not need to collapse your life either. Stay with the life you have, and bring into that life the truth of your feeling.

And from this truthful space, you are far more ready, far more stronger, to deal with whatever will happen. It does not mean everything will go well, or everything will not go well – it means you are in yourself ready to deal with whatever happens. The only thing that is really true, is what you are feeling right now. Stay with that, not with your imaginations.

This is the deepest meaning of the undoing way.