Friday, June 12, 2009

Isn't Force Necessary?

Yes of course. I'm just trying to use less.

It's not so much "no force" that I'm after, but rather, using as little force as is necessary. "The Unforced Life" is the ideal for me, but it's not something I pretend to live completely. It's something I'm aiming towards.

Of course there are times that require more energy than others. Piling sandbags all night to save your town from a flood requires more energy and force than going for a walk with your lover in the moonlight. But doing either with too much or too little force is, to my mind, wasteful. Too much Yin or Yang emphasis is not healthy. The trick for me is how do I know what too much or too little is? I use the phrase "most deeply right" to describe the feeling in my body that I trust to guide me in this process.

Anytime I'm doing what feels most deeply right to me, I find a source of energy and flow assisting me. When I'm doing something that feels wrong, or off, or just not totally right, I find that to some extent, I have to force myself to continue, and there are usually negative side effects to my health. Sometimes this is necessary, or at least feels necessary. Sometimes the least forceful way eludes me. Sometimes I'm too caught up in some head or heart game to feel into the unforced way. At these times I just go with as close to unforced as I can get, take my lumps, and keep learning. It's not attaining the ideal that I'm focused on as much as maintaining an orientation towards it.

Balance to me is not "stillness." I don't believe stillness exists. Balance is a dynamic process of finding and losing the "center point." Picture a master tight rope walker. His corrections are so small they're practically invisible. Just slight movements to one side or the other as he finds and loses the balance point again and again. If you watch a beginner, their corrections are much, much bigger--tipping one way and then wildly tipping the other way. I try not to apply too much force to my "corrections" so the counter-movment is easier to deal with. If I succeed, then I tend to spend more time closer to the balance point. If I fail I'm tipping all over the place. Mostly, I'm in between. The difference between a master of anything and a novice, in my opinion, is mainly the size of their corrections.

If you stop moving and making corrections on the tight wire, you fall off. So again, it's the orientation towards balance that I'm after, not some idealistic idea of "becoming balanced." It's an endless experiment. When it's done, I will be too.

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