Small steps of progress

Perseids and stars

Take it in small steps. Don’t run before you can walk. Two steps forward, one step back. In it for the long haul. All useful phrases, especially this week.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m managing to get an hour or so of meditation in on most days. Generally I don’t experience much physical discomfort, but my mind is often racing. No matter; it’ll calm down as I practice more.

An immediate effect has been an improvement in my eyesight. This is something I’ve noticed in the past. Sweeping the mind throughout the body identifies areas of tension – which, in itself, often causes the muscles concerned to start relaxing. This includes the tiny muscles of the eyes, whose spasming after long periods of fixed focus is a big contributor to worsening eyesight. It’s only a short-lived effect, and I need my glasses again to work on-screen maybe half an hour later… but, again, it’s early days.

“Relax!” It’s the bane of the martial arts student. “Relax!”, your instructor tells you, “You’re too tense!”. But you don’t feel tense, and you can’t really identify where the tension is, or what to do about it…

Since starting the xingyi classes, I’m getting the hang of it again. Standing in santi shi position, I’m starting to be able to feel where the tension is in order to relax it – something I was quite good at when I left Beijing, but which I lost the knack of during three  3 years of  oidashibeya before I escaped to Russia! My posture is starting to improve a lot as well; again, I hadn’t realise how much it had worsened since I left China. There’s still a long way to go but… small steps…

Sadly, I was told this morning that I’ve been allocated new classes to teach on Tuesday and Thursday evenings… so I won’t be able to go to the xingyi classes at their main training hall any more. Thankfully there’s still the Saturday class to go to. Two steps forward, one step back…

In any case, my new classes are only until September, or rather until the new batch of colleagues arrive. I might be able get to classes again after that. What’s more, it’s pretty much certain now that I’ll be in Russia until late 2014/early 2016, so there’s plenty of time.



Image credits: Dave Checking out the Perseid Meteor Shower at 10,000 feet by user Dave Dugdale on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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