• To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

    - Buddha
  • Advertisements

Give Up Being Safe

Safety Is An Illusion



Today’s post is somewhat different than my usual ramblings on Shiatsu and Mind-Body-Spirit healing because it includes an oath that I wrote a month or so ago. The oath honors the tradition of Hara as it has been cultivated in the Eastern healing and martial arts.

You might be wondering what Giving Up Being Safe has to do with the philosophy of Hara?

To have Hara translates into the ability to get things done; to not shy away from the difficult and to overcome setbacks. These are noble qualities that show strength of will. The challenge here is when one is operating purely on personal power in pursuit of a goal because it is common to force our will onto the environment and onto other people. It is so easy to fall under the spell of our attachment to an expectation, which then fosters the need to control others for our own assurance and safety. To avert this end requires personal standards for accountability combined with integrity.

However, one can access the will of the Spirit-Mind, which comes from an ego-free understanding and use of Hara. In this context Hara is a thought in action, manifest, and it is connected with all that is, as all things are a manifestation of the Tao. One realizes that the will of the Spirit-Mind integrates with the will of others to assure the best path for us. Herein there is no need to cling to safety, which is only an illusion.

In Shiatsu, we are taught how to use our Hara to access the total power of our whole body while giving a healing session. We are also taught that a person with a healthy Hara acknowledges that it is in facing challenges and trying new things that we develop self-esteem and confidence.

For me the greatest aspiration of a developed Hara is for a level of acuity where you are always calm and sensitive to the developments around you. Engagement at this level is when one can “see what cannot be seen,” and responds in accord with the Spirit-Mind to coming events.

I find it fascinating that the final element of training for indigenous healers and shamans in some parts of the world is to personally face death. This spiritual calling is survived by very few since the path is meant to challenge their faith and to compromise their integrity.

Initiates from some of the older traditions will be taken to a cave, temple or remote area where danger exists in the form of venomous cobras, scorpions or other deadly threats. Sitting still in meditation for an extended period while surrounded by imminent danger crawling, or, slithering over your defenseless body is not an easy test to pass.

Focus and compassion and the willingness to renounce safety are the qualities that keep these people alive and sane. Those who pass this deadly challenge become praised as mystics carrying with them the knowledge of death and rebirth and often return bringing to their tribes and communities new approaches to harmony and peace.

—————————-

I wrote the oath below after I meditated on renewing the emotional and spiritual energies associated with my navel and with my solar plexus. Both of which are anatomically housed within the physical Hara.

Perhaps you may feel inspired to awaken the will of your Spirit-Mind with this simple oath:

In honoring the fact that the world is not safe, I willingly give up my need for safety and assurance.

I have to let go of wanting everything known ahead of time in order to overcome criticism, misunderstanding, rejection, and the possibility of failure in my future.

While it is important for survival, I realize that there is no challenge to actualizing my dreams if everything I do is already removed from any real risk. It is okay for a child to cling to safety and security, powerlessly needing the world to be shaped for them. However integrity challenges me to mature, accept responsibility, and carve the shape of my future.

My personal power increases through meeting challenges and by resolving them with integrity. I am willing to take risks, be courageous, venture into the unknown, and release the familiar in order to expand upward and outward in my life’s story.

Advertisements

Tap Into The Body’s Energy By Stimulating Acupoints

Stimulating Acupuncture Points for Health & Vitality is Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine

However, the stimulation techniques that I have learned and developed in private practice and that I teach reflect the cultural background of the Japanese Martial Arts by emphasizing the importance of being connected with and moving energy from your vital center, known in Japanese as hara.

Young and confidentStimulating acupuncture points should never come from muscular strength, but should come from the body weight in relation to gravity. Basically the practitioner should lean into rather than push into an acupoint.

The practitioner should also lengthen through his or her spine as one does while sitting in meditation. This allows the practitioner to raise energy along the spine while remaining grounded.

In order to do this correctly, you need to use your center of gravity, your hara. This is considered the whole belly area. By using your Hara you are using your whole body.

Think about this for one second: By using your belly area you are accessing your whole body. This means that you are using the total power of your body.

Focusing Your Energy in the Hara Harmonizes the Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit.

The best example of using the hara is seen in the world of martial arts. It is known that when throwing a punch or giving a kick, if you focus your mind and breath in the hara and pivot from your lower abdominal area, you will have the force of your body weight behind that punch or kick. This is the secret to harnessing unseen power.

Developing the skills to meditate and channel energy from your hara is essential for not only martial artists but also many eastern healing modalities, this is especially true in Shiatsu. Incredible transformations occur when using the art of hara while stimulating an acupoint on yourself in daily life as well as on a client in a healing session.

A beneficial byproduct of balancing your internal energies by using hara is a shift from acting on autopilot toward more desirable ways of treating your body and the world around you.

Using your hara requires you to originate all of your movements from your belly area. To be more specific–to move from a point just below the navel which is your body’s central pivot point. This point is called tanden (or dantian in Chinese).

Stimulating an acupoint with finger pressure is not enough to modify the flow of Ki, blood, and other fluids helping you harmonize the functional activities of your body. Stimulating an acupoint also requires the power of the Universe harnessed through your breath and by moving internal Ki through the hara.

So, whenever you stimulate a point on the body, you must check in with yourself to make sure that the movement is rooted in your lower hara.

How do you make sure that you’re rooted in your hara? One way to do this is to mentally trace the movement backwards; starting with your fingers and mindfully moving your awareness through your arms and into your shoulders until you reach your hara. It is in this way that you will feel when you are using force or pressure as opposed to your lower hara.

For example if you’re leaning on specific acupoints along someone’s leg and you realize that the movement is coming mostly from your shoulders then you are not going to have the most effective results.

Worse is that it may even create tension in the other person that you are working on because of the tension building in your own body. It is through using your hara that you can ensure effective results.

It’s important to understand that the meaning of hara extends beyond the mechanical. To be rooted in your hara also illustrates a person’s ability to achieve and to have continued success. In Japanese culture, diligent and thoughtful effort toward your goal reflects someone with a strongly developed hara.

To have hara means to have the ability to get things done; to not shy away from the difficult and to overcome setbacks. When you are ‘coming from your hara’ whether in everyday life, in meditation or stimulating an acupoint, the meaning is that you are well grounded, strongly focused and fully engaged in the potential of the Mind and the Body.

Shiatsu is a healing practice that requires the development of hara.

Key Concepts & Theories Used In Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork that works to balance the energy of the Body and Mind. To this end, Shiatsu makes use of the body’s natural energy.

The basic concepts and theories used in Shiatsu are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They include (but are not limited to) :

Ki Energy

Yin & Yang

Meridians

5-Elements

Imagine Your Body As Land--The Meridians Are Your Body's Main Highways

Imagine Your Body As Land--The Meridians Are Your Body's Main Highways

The aim of a session is to encourage ki to flow harmoniously throughout the body’s energy pathways, known as meridians. The meridians are associated with aspects of the Body and Mind, such as movement and thought.

The meridians are divided into pairs which are yin and yang. And are further subdivided according to one of the five-elemental transformations (Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire).

Modern practitioners of Shiatsu continue to deepen their skills in two ways:

– by developing greater sensitivity to the subtle energy, which flows throughout the body and concentrates in the meridians;

– and by using the traditional theories of Chinese Medicine to accurately read the body and assess its condition for treatment.

 Despite its roots in TCM, the general approach and techniques of shiatsu reflects the cultural background of Japan by emphasizing the importance of being connected with and moving from your hara, and the philosophy of modern shiatsu reflects the philosophy of Zen Buddhism with its emphasis on self-understanding and awareness.

For the practitioner, focus and awareness comes from using hara, which is the body’s center of gravity. This is located in the belly. By using your hara you are using the total power of your whole body.

Using your hara requires you to originate all of your movements from your belly area. To be more specific–to move from a point just below the navel which is your body’s central pivot point. This point is called tanden (or dantian in Chinese).

The Japanese term HARA means to be focused in the vital center of self.

The Japanese term HARA means to be focused in the vital center of self.

The concept of hara, anatomically refers to the area below your ribs and your sternum all the way to just above your pubic bone. This part of your body contains many of the vital organs. Japanese culture believes the hara to be the seat of the soul, where self-consciousness is anchored.

From a pathological perspective, people hold emotional stress in their abdomen, affecting digestion and causing other physical problems.

In the west, the shiatsu practitioner receives many benefits, both physically and psychologically, by moving from their hara and by connecting harmoniously with the client.

These same benefits may be experienced by the home practitioner who uses shiatsu exercises and methods as home remedies for prevention of illnesses. Home application of shiatsu techniques can be very effective, however proper assessment of the state of ki and the meridians is essential for professional results.