When we begin Zhan Zhuang training many of us have the goal of settling into a totally relaxed, deep meditative state that initiates healing of the body and cultivation and accumulation of internal power which can later be harnessed in combat application.
However, before we reach such a state, there are often a number of obstacles that must be surmounted. While some of these are mental and emotional, most have to do with adjustments in the physical body, either in the physical structure itself or within the body’s internal functions. The signal that things need to change and reach a finer balance is generally some form of discomfort or pain.
The healing process in Zhan Zhuang can be likened to the peeling back of the layers of an onion. The outer layers can be considered the discomforts or imbalances that we first encounter, while the root causes are buried deep inside or even in our core itself.
So when some sensation like tightness, soreness or even pain, surfaces, it is the body’s way of informing us that something is not as it should be. Although our awareness of some of these sensations may be vague at first, with continued Zhan Zhuang training, our perception of these sensations will increase and improve over time following the model of the “Three Circles of Awareness.”
It is said that our body records and remembers everything that has, is and will happen to it throughout our lifetime. This is often called Cellular Memory. Experiences such as old injuries and the like, if left uncorrected can lead to negative engrams (root patterns) within the body. The good news is that with continued Standing Meditation practice, one day these will come to our conscious awareness where they can be dealt with and resolved.
We are probably quite well acquainted with some of these patterns, while others may be far deeper inside the energetic structure of the body and as such are mostly masked to our normal awareness, except perhaps for some strange, fleeting feelings, subtle enough to almost pass under the radar of our conscious feeling-awareness.
For example, this is like when in the past we have injured ourselves and the injury apparently ‘got better on its own.’ But the fact is, there could easily still be some residual traces remaining which continue to mar our physical and/or energetic systems and over time can act as a drain on our overall energy by eating away at our reserve.
This type of blockage is usually fairly insidious and as such can unknowingly cause decay both internally and externally. The idea here is that one part of the body often effects other parts, and many times these parts are seemingly extraneous or unrelated to the original problem.
So the inevitable question becomes: How do we deal with these obvious blockages/imbalances? And later, how do we root out and address the deeper and more subtle ones lurking within each of us?