Category Archives: Practices

Katsugen Undo on a ball (Video)

This video teaches you the exercise protocol known as “Katsugen Undo” as developed by Haruchika Noguchi sensei. Noguchi Sensei was the originator of Noguchi Seitai. By following the protocol shown you will little by little, release muscular holding patterns and feel more relaxed and “in the moment”.

In simple terms Noguchi Sensei said that we all have a tendency to hold on to excess energy that inhibits us from rebalancing ourselves and thus we inhibit our ability to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.

Give it a try, it really does help!

Seishindo Anger Management – say both “Yes” and “No” (Video)

I have spent years studying and teaching Aikido, and along the way I have gleaned a lot of valuable information regarding managing anger. In this video, I share some of my learnings with you. I talk about how to slow down and be more present, the “real meaning” of what people are communicating when they are angry, how to stay calm in the face of anger and or an attack, and other concepts that will help you to maintain a positive life attitude when faced with the challenge of anger.

You can read more about managing anger in our article: Yes AND No – Saying BOTH at the same time.

Yes AND No – Saying BOTH at the same time

This Exercise can be used to help you understand how you often say one thing with your body and another thing with your words; one thing with your heart and another thing with your rational mind. You can also use this exercise to help you better understand what you really want and/or believe in.

Get together in groups of three: The Interviewer, the Client, and an Observer. The Observer is to act as the Interviewer’s colleague, and in particular is to note whether or not each question gets answered “correctly” by the Client. When a question does not get answered correctly, the Observer and or the Interviewer make suggestions for corrections.

Preparatory Stage

1. The Client carefully considers an aspiration that they have been feeling stuck about. Don’t pick something that you are totally stuck on, and at the same time please do not choose an aspiration that isn’t really all that important. Choose something that is rather important to you. The Client is to state their aspiration in a clear short sentence. “I want a better paying job.” Or “I want to get married.” Or … … . The Interviewer is to make sure that the sentence is short and concise. This is important. The Interviewer writes down the aspiration. 2. On a scale of one to ten, the Client rates how likely it is that s/he will achieve their goal. A score of 10 means s/he feels attaining the goal is 100% likely. A scale of 1 means the person feels like s/he almost certainly will not achieve the goal. For the sake of this exercise, please do not pick an aspiration that is an 8-10 to start out with. Better to pick something in the 3-7 range. 3. The Interview asks a series of questions that are meant to elicit info about potentially important elements of the Client’s life. The Interviewer should note and ask twelve basic questions. Each question is to have a “Yes” or “No” answer. The Interviewer writes down these answers in a simple format. Possible questions: “Is your name X?” “Are you a female?” “Are you married?” “Do you like your job?” “Do you have children?” “Is you favorite hobby golf?” “Is your favorite food fried grasshoppers?” “Are you a dentist?” 4. After asking the twelve questions, the Interviewer, along with the Observer divides the twelve questions into two groups of six questions each. At the bottom of each group of six questions the Interviewer adds a seventh question, which is repeated verbatim in both groups. The seventh question is: “Do you feel like you are likely to achieve your aspiration of … … …?”

Level One task:

5. The Client is SLOWLY asked the first group of six questions + one. The Client’s method of answering: The Client is to answer “truthfully” with their head, shaking “Yes” or “No”, while giving the opposite answer with their verbal “Yes” or “No”. So if I was being interviewed and I was asked, “Is your name Charlie?” I would shake my head “Yes”, as I verbally answer “No.” If I was asked if I was a woman, I would shake my head “No” while saying “Yes.” It is important, as much as possible, to shake the head and give the answer at the same time, OR lead a bit with your somatic answer.

Level Two task:

6. The Client is now SLOWLY asked the second set of six questions + one. This time the Client’s method of answering is the opposite of what was just done. The client is to answer “truthfully” with their words, and the opposite with the shaking of their head. So if I was being interviewed, “Is your name Charlie?” I would say “Yes” as I shook my head “No.” If I was asked if I was a woman, I would say “No” as I shook my head “Yes.” It is important, as much as possible, to shake the head and give the answer at the same time.

Level Three Task:

7. All three members sit and breathe for about three minutes. No talking, just sitting and breathing.

Level Four task:

8. The Client thinks about their aspiration again. And once again the Client rates how likely it is that s/he will accomplish their aspiration. Debrief:

  • Which task (words correct and body incorrect or vice versa) did the Client find hardest to do?
  • Which individual questions were most difficult to answer?
  • Did the Client’s feeling of how likely s/he was to achieve their aspiration change?
  • Did this kind of process create confusion for the Client?
  • Is the feeling the Client had doing this exercise at all like the feelings they have when they answer questions that they are uncertain about?
  • Would the Interviewer and or the Observer like to share anything about what they noticed and learned?

Walking With Grace and Power

This Practice serves you well in your daily life, as you come away feeling more centered and calm.

  1. Stand comfortably in a posture that feels “at ease” for you.
  2. Place your feet so they are just a couple of inches apart. Imagine that your two legs and feet are joined together as one unit, and that you are standing on one broad foot and leg, rather than on two ordinary legs and feet. Notice how your sense of balance shifts and how your body moves even as you “stand still.”
  3. Imagine that your pelvic area and lower abdomen (your belly button area and below) are filled with a thick lubricating liquid. The idea being that your lower body feels a liquid ease of movement.
  4. Now, shift your weight “just enough” so that all of your weight is in your right leg. Lift your left leg and take a small step forward. Your left leg should be straight as it touches the ground, first with your heel, and then rolling through the foot into the sole and toes. The width of your entire foot from outside to inside, should touch the ground with equal pressure.
  5. As you have been stepping forward with your left leg, your right leg will have been bending as you roll through your right foot and get ready to take a small step forward with your right foot and leg.
  6. When you are ready to continue moving forward, lightly place your right foot in front of you, touching the ground first with your right heel.Carry through with the same movements and sensations as you did with your left leg and foot.
  7. As you walk, pay attention to carrying the weight of your upper body in a somewhat more forward position than what is usual for you. You let the weight of your upper body fall into the area of your lower abdomen and you let this low center of gravity just ever so much impel your forward. The idea being to your movement from your lower abdomen and pelvis.
  8. Be mindful of your breathing and match it to the rhythm of your footsteps. Whatever works for you is fine. One good rhythm is: Inhale through your nose as you step first with the left foot and then with the right foot. Exhale through your nose as you step again with your left foot and then your right foot. Repeat this breathing rhythm over and over again as you walk.

Breath-Walking

  1. Take smaller steps than usual and walk slowly.
  2. Be certain that your lead foot touches heel first, and that your leg is in a relaxed straight position as the heel of your lead foot makes contact with the ground, and you POUR your weight into this lead foot.
  3. Get a walking rhythm going that matches your breath rhythm. Inhaling and exhaling together with the rhythm of your feet gliding on the ground.
  4. Once you have this going, hold an intention in the form of a mantra.For instance if you were wanting your friend John to regain his health you might speak the words- “John-Health-Love….John-Health-Love.”As another example you could use a four count mantra of “Peaceful, Calm, Happy, Love.”

Possible Additional Activities

  1. Prior to getting into your standing position, make a statement of intention, stating what you would like to accomplish. “I want a better relationship with my spouse.”
  2. Next, imagine that you have already accomplished your intention, and make an “I am” statement. For instance “I am sharing a wonderful life with my spouse.”
  3. Once you have the statement clearly in mind, go ahead and perform the basic walking Practice while calmly and slowly repeating your “I am” statement out loud.

It is likely that you will feel a shift in your emotional state in regard to your intention.

It is also excellent to do the general walking Practice while practicing giving a speech, or going over an important conversation that you are thinking of having.

I am – a Concept of time and identity

“Whatever you believe in today, makes a specific tomorrow that much more likely.”

Learn how to formulate your intentions in a more productive manner. Find out why telling yourself what you want to accomplish, often will take you further away from your goal.

This Practice assumes you have an issue, relationship, or circumstance in your life that you would like to better understand or change, over the course of time. In other words, it assumes you have an intention to somehow be or do things, differently.

Important background points

Talk to yourself in “positive” terms, and with “positive” images.
It is important to think about the unintended message you give yourself when you state an intention, in “negative” terms. For example if you say to yourself, “I want to stop smoking.” You are talking to yourself about smoking, and not about your positive intention of “living a healthy life”. You are inadvertently focusing on what you are wanting to avoid, rather than focusing on what you are wanting to accomplish.

If you state your intention over and over again in negative terms, you will be reinforcing the point that “smoking” is the important issue, rather than instead reinforcing the point that “being healthy” is what you are truly concerned with.

As a further example, think about the pictures you will likely make in your “mind’s eye” if you repeat over and over again, “I want to lose weight.” In order for you to understand the meaning of the words you are repeating to yourself in regard to wanting to lose weight, you will likely create an mental image of your current “overweight” condition. Not a great self image to keep in your mind’s eye when wanting to be, “slim and trim”. When you describe to yourself what you no longer want to do, or how you no longer want to be, you create negative self images that make change and understanding all that much more difficult. A successful athlete would NOT say to herself “I am no longer missing important field goals.” Instead, she would want to state what she DOES want to be doing. “I shoot my field goals with confidence and focus.” These are the words that will give her a positive self image.

Let yourself know in positive terms how you do want to be, and create a positive image that reinforces your desire.

Speak in the present tense
Physicists tell us that time is not really linear as we normally experience it, but rather happening “all at once”. In other words, science leads us to understand that tomorrow does not necessarily come “after” today. With this thought in mind you can consider the wisdom of the following: “Whatever you believe in today makes a specific tomorrow that much more likely to occur.”

When you think about how tomorrow is strongly influenced by what you believe in today, you can see that if you tell yourself “I want to be healthy,” you are reinforcing a belief that you currently are not healthy. Reinforcing such a belief will tend to make the changes you desire that much more difficult to achieve.

This Practice offers you a new time perspective from which to consider learning and changing. It suggests that you consider your intention already accomplished, and go from there. In this way you will be “trying on, like a new suit of clothes” how it is you DO want to be, rather than reinforcing what your currently are not.

If you want to understand yourself better and help yourself to change, you will do best to talk to yourself using positive terms and images based on the “here and now that is timeless”. This gives you the best opportunity to create an image and a felt sense that aids you in your process of self understanding.

One more point:
It is important to keep your “I am” statement simple. In general, the simpler the better.

••••
You will do best to read through the instructions once or twice before actually performing this Practice.
••••

This Practice assumes you have an issue, relationship, or circumstance in your life that you would like to better understand or change, over the course of time.

1. Seat yourself so that you are comfortable, while having the possibility of free and easy movement.

2. Create an “I am” statement.
In order to do so:
A) Consider something about yourself, a relationship, or the world you live in, that you would like to better understand or change.

B) Now imagine you have already achieved the results you desire. Make a statement that describes your new way of being, in simple terms. Remember, you need to phrase your statement in regard to how you feel having already accomplished your intention.

Examples:
Instead of saying “I am no longer arguing with Fred.” you would want to create an “I am” statement something like “Fred and I are good friends.”

Instead of saying “I am no longer anxious.” You might want to create an “I am” statement that says, “I am calm and confident.”

If you are feeling depressed and would like to feel energetic and upbeat, your “I am” statement could be, “I feel energized and enthusiastic.”

Please create your “I am” statement now.

3. Once you have created your “I am” statement, take a deep breath and repeat it slowly and calmly to yourself.

4. Now take another deep breath and repeat your “I am” statement again.

5. Now, slowly take a look around you…. hear the sounds in your local environment…. take a deep breath…. and repeat your “I am” statement once again.

6. If you feel like you need to or want to, please further tailor or edit your “I am” statement now. This ongoing “tailoring” process is sometimes of great importance, because it is likely your understanding of your challenge will change over time.

7. Now take another deep breath and repeat your “I am” statement again.

8. Now, slowly take a look around you…. hear the sounds in your local environment…. take a deep breath…. and repeat your “I am” statement once again.

9. This time take THREE deep breaths and then repeat your “I am” statement once again.

Debrief
How do you feel having made your “I am” statement numerous times?

Many people report feeling somehow “odd”. Others say that they feel like they are lying to themselves. Still other people report feeling a sense of peace and growing confidence. Whatever you do feel is totally fine, because one of the main ideas of this Practice is to support the process of believing in yourself. The benefits of this Practice are received by repeating your statement and “growing into it” over time.

Instead of hoping for a sudden short term change that is lasting, look for small changes in the way you think and feel, over the course of the coming days and months. Lasting change rarely comes along like a thunder bolt.

If you are in an appropriate space, it is excellent to alert the world to your intention, by making your “I am” statement out loud. Making your statement out loud is an excellent way of “growing into” the statement, and feeling comfortable with your new self image as time goes on.

Engage in the process of repeating your “I am” statement, and “tailoring” it as often as you like, whenever you like, over the course of the coming days and weeks. Remember, keep it simple, and you are likely to become more confident in your ability to achieve your goals and desires.

Old Memories, New Learnings

Here is a Practice that I have found very helpful. It is an important Practice because it gives you the opportunity to change the meaning that past events have for you. In Seishindo we believe that we often face continuing difficulties not because of what has taken place in our lives, but because of what we believe to be true based on what has taken place. We incorrectly judge ourselves as being wrong. This Practice gives you the chance to change your perception of yourself, and your perceived shortcomings. Give this Practice a try and let us know what changes for you.

You will most likely want to read through all of the instructions at least once before actually doing this practice.

1. Sit comfortably with a notebook or journal by your side. Breathe deeply at least five or six times, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

2. Take a moment and think of a time when you seemed to have learned something that is detrimental to your overall well being and sense of self confidence. For instance, you might have spilled your milk as a young child and had the teacher chastise you for being such “a clumsy child” and ever since then you seem to have the tendency to try and prove that your teacher was right.

3. Write down a short description of your chosen event in your notebook, and also write down a succinct phrase that encapsulates what you seem to have learned. For instance; “I am clumsy.” Then place the notebook aside.

4. Become present to yourself sitting in your chair, and begin to pay attention to your posture and your overall feeling. Now, give your primary awareness to the experience of your inhaling and exhaling. Take at least one full minute to do this.

5. Once you feel attuned with your breathing, once again recall the event in whatever way is natural for you.

6. As you sit there in the presence of both your breathing process and the event you are working with, begin to imagine at least three new things that you can now learn from the event you are recalling. Please remember that you are wanting to learn three new things that help you to generate and maintain a positive sense of self worth and well-being. Anything less than this would be less than “the truth.” The idea here is not to gloss over your shortcomings, but rather to appreciate yourself while at the same time noticing what could be improved or changed.

So, in the case of the spilled milk, if your teacher had stressed the importance of keeping one¹s full attention on a challenging task, you might have learned this important truth, without coming to falsely believe that you are a clumsy child.

Continue to give your primary attention to your breathing, and allow ideas to somehow bubble up, rather than actively trying to create new ideas. When you have come up with at least three new learnings, write down your new, and self-supportive learnings in your notebook.

7. Place your notebook aside and go back to paying attention to your posture and your overall feeling as you sit in your chair. Now, again, give your primary awareness to the experience of your inhaling and exhaling. Take at least one full minute to do this.

8. As you breathe, once again recall the event in whatever way is natural for you.

As you sit there, in the presence of both your breathing process and the event, begin to slowly and purposefully state your three new learnings to yourself.

For instance, in the case of the spilled milk. 1. Stay focused on the task at hand. 2. Breathe, move, and breathe, to stay relaxed. 3. Do important tasks one at a time.

Make your own statements now.

After making each individual statement of what you have learned, breathe fully for at least two rounds before stating your next learning. (If your circumstances allow, speaking your new learnings out loud is usually best.)

9. Repeat each learning at least three times, either randomly or in a particular order. If you feel moved to you can also add new learning statements to the initial three that you wrote down.

10. When you feel done, write down anything else that pops into your mind, and also write a brief description of how you feel. Sometimes this last step can be of surprising importance, because you can learn something important simply by taking part in this process.

Keep your new learnings in mind and use them as a mantra from time to time. For instance, if you have tended to feel clumsy, you can repeat your mantras to yourself just before performing in front of others. Doing this will help you to embody your learning. No matter what, go through this whole process again a week or so from now, and see what has changed for you.

If for some reason this practice proves a bit more difficult than you were planning on, you can try again later. Sometimes when we are in the process of learning something new, we might find that what we have learned in the past is somewhat hard to let go of.

Katsugen Undo

The basics for this exercise are taken from Haruchika Noguchi Sensei and “Noguchi Seitai”. “Seitai” basically means “properly ordered body.”

(If you go to the “Video Practices” section of our site, you will find a video lesson of the basic protocol I am presenting here. Likely much easier for you to follow as you watch me do what I describe here.)

In very simple terms Noguchi Sensei said that we all have a tendency to hold on to excess energy that inhibits us from rebalancing ourselves and thus we inhibit our ability to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.

In terms of what we are exploring together, the above means that we often tend to create limiting and habitual forms of somatic communication. We lose the ability to fully communicate with our body, and we lose the ability to be fully aware of the communication of the body. It is the communication patterns of the body that lead to our verbal communication patterns. When you limit your ability to communicate somatically and be aware of your somatic conversation, you also limit your ability to communicate verbally and be aware of your verbal conversation. Of course your overall state of well-being will be affected as well.

The greater your ability to be aware of and embody a full potential range of somatic communication, the greater your ability to communicate verbally and “understand” your feelings.

Prior to attempting to understand the verbal communication of others:
1) Enliven your own ability to communicate somatically to yourself.
2) Learn how to understand the somatic communication of others.

Haruchika Noguchi Sensei has at least two books that have been translated into English: “Order, Spontaneity and the Body” (this book is his most important I think, and well worth reading) and “Colds and Their Benefits”, Zensei Publishing. Noguchi Sensei used to say that the purpose of Katsugen Undo is to create an orderly way to unconsciously move the body, while adjusting those parts of the body that we cannot move voluntarily.

PART I

  1. Sit on a chair, several inches from the edge of the seat. Move around some in various unprogrammed ways. Move your head and neck around, as well as your arms, bend your trunk back and forth, and tense and relax your muscles. Get comfortable with your range of movement. Feel your spine, neck, and head expanding up towards the ceiling, and feel as if you are “sitting on top of the world” and enjoying the ride. Be certain to feel your breath, and notice what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling. Please also go ahead and make some sounds. Whatever suits you in the moment.
  2. Now with the fingers of both hands, begin to feel the area directly below your sternum. (Your sternum is at the very bottom of your rib cage at the middle of your rib cage. Think of a straight line going from your nose down to your belly button. The sternum is directly on that line at the bottom of your rib cage.) With one hand, find a place about three finger widths below the sternum that feels a bit soft or inviting. This spot should be your solar plexus.Now place the index, middle, and ring fingers of your “other” hand, directly below your first hand. Then bring your first hand down and match the position of the “other” hand. This is not an exact science. Feel for what feels like the right place for you.
  3. With your fingers pressing on this soft spot: Breathe in deeply through your nose all the way down into your stomach. Now exhale slowly through your mouth (making a “haaa” sound) while bending forward. As you bend forward, press your fingers deeply into your soft spot. Time it so that you have breathed completely out, just as you reach the place where you are bent forward as far as you can comfortably go, and your fingers are pressing firmly into your solar plexus area.
  4. Once you have completely breathed out, completely and suddenly relax your fingers and your entire body while remaining bent over.
  5. Breathe comfortably and stay in this position for fifteen or twenty seconds and then sit back up.
  6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5, four or five times. It is likely that you will want to yawn at some point, and that your solar plexus will soften somewhat.

PART II

  1. With your hands resting on your lap, slowly twist your trunk and your head to either side, as far around towards your back as you can. Twist your eyes around as well, as if you were trying to see your spine.
  2. When you reach the point of maximum twist, completely and suddenly relax while returning to a centered position.
  3. Repeat this movement to your “other” side, and then, sit comfortably for fifteen or twenty seconds, breathe, and notice what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling.
  4. Repeat this entire process to both sides, four or five times.
  5. Take a few moments and feel your breath and notice what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling.

PART III

  1. You are to do the same basic twisting movement as in the previous exercise. (Be certain to swing your eyes around.)
  2. This time you are meant to also bounce a bit from your center while swinging both of your arms to the side that you are twisting towards. You bounce, twist your head and trunk, and swing both arms to the side that you are twisting.
  3. At the moment of reaching the point of maximum twist, you flop back towards center and then immediately bounce and twist to the other side.
  4. At the moment of reaching the point of maximum twist to your “second” side you immediately return to center and completely and suddenly relax.
  5. Inhale fairly strongly through your nose and exhale through your mouth (about three times), and then after sitting there for just a few seconds, repeat the entire process four or five times.
  6. When you are done, sit completely relaxed while noticing what you see, hear, and feel. Be sure to feel your breath.

PART IV

Once you have learned what to do, the following steps should be carried out in one continuous movement:

  1. Make a fist with your thumbs tucked inside the rest of your fingers. (This is NOT the kind of fist that you would be making if you were wanting to strike out at something.)
  2. As you breathe in through your nose, bend your arms at a ninety degree angle and raise both arms to your sides, so that your arms are at shoulder height and your fist are facing forward.
  3. Now breathe out through your mouth making a strong “haaa” sound as you tense your entire body (including your face and your anus), throw your head back, and thrust your raised arms strongly backwards as if you were trying to get your two shoulder blades to actually touch.
  4. The moment you reach the point of maximum tension, completely and suddenly relax (but don’t collapse), and be certain to feel your breathing.
  5. Take a few moments to notice what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling, and then repeat this whole process four or five times.
  6. When you are done, sit with your eyes closed, notice your breathing, and allow whatever movement you might have, to continue.

_______________

  1. Open your eyes slowly and breathe rather strongly three or four times, through your nose and down into your stomach and out again through your nose.
  2. Carefully feel your breath and note what you are hearing, seeing, and feeling.

The Future is Now

This Practice is designed to help you achieve your current goals, from the perspective of the future. Once you can experience the present from the perspective of the future, you will realize that you already have everything you want and need.

As always, you might want to read through the instructions several times so that you can do this Practice without needing to read the notes.

1. Think of a way of being that you would like to be fully embodying.

For instance, being a successful manager in your workplace, or getting along well with your spouse.

2. Imagine yourself already having achieved the goal that you just specified, and make an “I am” statement which signifies you have already accomplished your goal.

For instance, “I am a successful manager at work.” Or, “I am getting along really well with my husband, and enjoying married life.”

Place this statement in the center of an unlined piece of paper.

3. The general experience of success.

In a random manner, write in various locations on your paper how you experience yourself now that you have already achieved your goal.

For instance, in regard to managing people successfully you might experience yourself as being – Calm, friendly but firm, confident yet low key, a good listener, open to new ideas, respectful of others, etc.

4. Imagine an actual scene in which you are manifesting what you have been wanting. Describe how things look, and how you look, by writing down short phrases on the same piece of paper.

For instance (in regard to work): I have a smile on my face, I am with my junior managers, sunlight is shining through the window, I am wearing my favorite black suit, I look at my employees with a friendly gaze, etc.

5. Imagine the sounds you hear as your are successfully achieving your goal, and write down how you sound as well.

For instance: My voice is strong yet soft, there is a lively buzz in the room as people respond positively to my ideas, at times there is a reassuring silence.

6. This time, write down the physical sensations you experience as you regularly achieve your goal.

For instance: Slow breathing emanating from my stomach, a soft gaze, a warm feeling in my chest, a feeling of freedom of movement.

7. Begin to recreate the future in the present.

Sit comfortably…. Breathe deeply several times….

Take some time and slowly read through in a random manner, the various words and phrases you have placed on your piece of paper…. Speak the words out loud….

Read a word or two, and then pause and breathe deeply…. Read a phrase or two, and then pause again, and breathe deeply….. Repeat as many words and phrases as you like….

Take about five minutes for this process.

8. Pause and reflect.

Take a couple of moments and sit with your eyes closed while reflecting on
the experience you are having….

Let yourself have a feeling of floating, as some of the words and images you evoked a few minutes ago, might once again float through your mind….

Sit for a minute or two, or even longer if it feels right….

9. Recreate the future once again.

When you are ready, open your eyes, and once again cycle through the words and phrases on your paper.

10. When you feel done, once again sit and reflect. When you are ready, write down some of your thoughts and feelings on a separate piece of paper. Keep this paper and later in the day, or the next day, reflect on what you have written.

Go through this 10 step process on a regular basis for a couple of weeks or so. It is likely that you will receive a good deal of benefit from this process.

Peak Performance Coach Var.#1

The main thrust of this Practice is to help you to begin to understand the early stages of peak performance states. Rather than “trying” to achieve a peak performance state, and wondering why it isn’t quite happening yet, this Practice is designed to help you start from where you are, and begin the journey from there.

As always, you might want to read through the instructions several times so that you can do this Practice without needing to keep your head in the notes.

Sit comfortably looking in the mirror, if a mirror is available. If not just sit comfortably.

1. Attune to yourself
Notice your breathing….the way you feel as you sit quietly….what you notice visually….the sounds around you……and your bodily sensations…..
Perhaps most of all….notice your breathing, and take a deep breath…..feeling any internal sensations you might have….and any rocking movements or sensations of energy that you might experience….

Also notice the clothing on your body, the expression on your face, the hair on your head……..
Feel the movement of your chest and back as you breathe…..the way you are balancing your head on your neck and shoulders……..the rhythm of your heartbeat as you breathe slowly…..and begin to notice that your experience of yourself and your experience of the “moment” are changing….. .

2. Formulate “a statement of intention” regarding what you want to learn at this time in regard to peak performance states.
For instance, “I want to learn about entering into a peak performance state.” Or perhaps something a bit more specific, “I want to feel what it feels like to be fully absorbed in the moment.”
As always, please be certain to state what you DO want to learn, and not what you want to stop doing. When you are ready, make your statement of intent out loud, making whatever statement suits you.

Now, take three deep breaths.

3. Now, turn your statement of intent into an “I am” statement.
Make believe you have already achieved your stated intention. Having ALREADY achieved your intention, you might say (for instance) “I am in a wonderful peak performance state and really enjoying myself.” Or “I am fully absorbed in the moment and feeling quite enthused.”

Make your “I am” statement now please.

Now, take three deep breaths.

4. Now, make your “I am” statement again, and begin to imagine how you would be feeling if you were already in the peak performance state you desire. Imagine how you would be feeling, thinking, and reacting to the world around you. Imagine how your thoughts and actions would be different than usual.

Take at least one full minute for doing this imagining.

Now, repeat your “I am” statement again………

And then take three deep breaths.

5. Slowly….notice your breathing…. your body movement…. your bodily sensations…… the balance of your head and neck……and breathe deeply three times.

In a few moments, you will slowly and lovingly speak from a feeling of already having accomplished your goal of entering into a peak performance state. You will describe your bodily sensations and all that you are aware of in this moment of total absorption. You are to assume the role of a peak performance coach and speak out loud…..talking MUCH SLOWER than usual….. offering your description to a person who is wanting to understand what you are experiencing so that they might also learn more about how to enter into an embodied state of flow.

Realizing that we don’t just all of a sudden jump into a peak performance state…. Your task will be to help your “client” BEGIN to understand what you are feeling, as you SLOWLY enter into a state of total absorption…….Help your client to learn how to begin to enter into a similar state for themselves…….. Slowly……..Softly…….Tenderly…….IN the moment. Speaking from the perspective of “I am feeling…… I am experiencing…….”.

Please allow for a minimum of five minutes to slowly describe your experience in an improvisational manner.

The key points to consider here are four:
1. Talk from the experience you are having in the moment, without any rehearsal or forethought in regard to what you will say. “What I am feeling and experiencing right now is…….”
2. Keep your attention wide and continue to notice what is going on in and around you while describing exactly what you are feeling/noticing. Describe the sights, sounds, and physical sensations and physical processes you are experiencing.
“I hear the sounds of cars passing by, I see the calendar in front of me, I feel the rhythm of my breathing, and I feel a sense of feeling deeper into my experience.”
3. Allow and encourage yourself to describe whatever it is you notice or feel in the moment, without concern for how unrelated your thoughts and feelings are. For your peak performance mind, there IS a relationship to all that you are experiencing. Remember, the peak performance mind is filled with experience. It does not take the time to judge or evaluate what is being experienced.
4. By no means do you need to talk the entire time, Being truly quiet is also great. But if you are quiet and then you do begin to sense internal dialogue turn the dialogue into an external teaching conversation.

Take three deep breaths and begin to describe your experience out loud Now, by starting out with describing:
Your breathing….the way you feel as you sit quietly….what you notice visually….the sounds around you……and your bodily sensations…..
Describing what it feels like to take a deep breath…..feeling and describing the internal sensations you are having….and any rocking movements or sensations of energy that you are experiencing….

Describe the feeling of the clothing on your body, the expression on your face, the hair on your head……..
Feel and describe the movement of your chest and back as you breathe…..the way you are balancing your head on your neck and shoulders……..the rhythm of your heartbeat as you breathe slowly…..and begin to notice that your experience of yourself and your experience of the “moment” are changing…..

When done, it is great to take some notes to help you remember and reenter this experience in the future.

Melting The Thinking Mind

So often in life we ineffectively try to take control of ourselves when we find that we are caught in a trap of worry and excess thinking. Rather than trying to conquer or tame your thinking mind, this Practice offers you the experience of simply letting it melt away, like a piece of ice on a hot summer day.

You will most likely want to read through the instructions two or three times before you actually do this practice. The more confident you feel with the directions the better your results will tend to be.

All of the breathing throughout this Practice is of utmost importance in melting your thinking mind, so please be certain to breathe deeply when you are asked to do so.

This Practice can be excellent to do numerous times in a day, if you feel like you are getting trapped in internal dialogue.

1. Take a moment and think of some of the complaints, worries, negative self images, possible illnesses or incompetencies that you believe to be true or likely, in regard to yourself. Don’t go overboard in doing this or you won’t be able to do the rest of the Practice! Write down in a brief style three of the concerns that you have come up with. (For instance: “I need to be making more money.” “I am afraid that my girlfriend might leave me.” “I am not sure if my colleagues respect me.”)

2. Now, take three deep breaths, and shake your body and your head some, to “shake off” some of the “problem frame” thinking you have just been doing.

3. Now, work through your list of three concerns in the following manner.

Level 1
A. State a concern that is on your list. (Such as “I need to be making more money.”)
B. Take three deep breaths.
C. Make the following statement, “I am perfect as I am.”
D. Take three deep breaths.
E. Make the following statement, “And just now I’m in the process of feeling and understanding my who I really am.”
F. Take three deep breaths.
G Make the following statement, “My path is my path, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to follow my hearts desire.”
H. Take three deep breaths.

And then repeat this same process with the other two concerns on your list.

4. Work down your list of concerns a second time, but this time in the following manner.

Level 2
A. State a concern that is on your list. (Such as “I need to be making more money.”)
B. T Take three deep breaths.
C. Ask the question, “Who is the one stating this concern?”
D. Take three deep breaths.
E. And now, answer you question, “I don’t know.”
F. Take three deep breaths.

And then repeat this process with the remaining two items on your list.

5. Work down your list of concerns once again.

Level 3 (This is a verbatim repeat of Level 1)
A. State a concern that is on your list.
B. Take three deep breaths.
C. Make the following statement, “I am perfect as I am.”
D. Take three deep breaths.
E. Make the following statement, “And just now I’m in the process of feeling and understanding who I really am.”
F. Take three deep breaths.
G. Make the following statement, “My path is my path, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to follow my hearts desire.”
H. Take three deep breaths.

And then repeat this process with the remaining two items on your list.

6. Sit quietly for a minute or two while giving your attention to the inflow and outflow of oxygen, as you breathe fairly deeply.

7. What have you learned? It might be helpful to take some terse notes.

Breath-Talking

In almost all instances, when we are upset, angry, or stressed, our system gets out of synch and out of rhythm. Often at such times our breathing becomes shallow and we speak rather quickly, as if we need to say it all in one gulp. When we react like this, the more we speak the worse we tend to feel.

If instead you stay calm and talk slowly, in rhythm with a nice relaxed breathing cycle, you will find that you can very definitely alter the way you think and feel. I think you will likely be surprised by the results you can achieve with this Practice.

This Practice assumes you have a situation or relationship that you would like to be able to better understand or change. (If you have not yet done the “I am” Practice better to complete that Practice first.)

Read through these instructions once or twice before actually proceeding.

1. As a “Breath talker” you develop a clear breathing rhythm, in through the nose, and out through the mouth. As you develop your breathing rhythm start out with the same count/duration of the breath for inhaling and exhaling.

2. As you breathe imagine that you are preparing to send a blow dart into a nearby target. Imagine that you send the dart JUST as you begin your exhale. The sound and movement of your exhale in particular, is meant to mimic the imagined action, feeling, and direction, of throwing the dart. You will be making a sound something like “Wwhhou”

Find a crisp, relaxed, breathing rhythm, in through the nose and out through the mouth, and send the dart four or five times.

3. Once you are into a nice rhythm, do away with the “Wwhhou” sound and instead, begin to speak in short phrases in a free form manner, as you exhale.

For example:

“My name is Charlie”… (and then you inhale when you are ready)

“I live in Japan for thirty years now”… (and then you inhale when you are ready)

“Today is warm and beautiful outside.”… (and then you inhale when you are ready)

One short phrase for each exhale, and then inhale in an expansive manner. You can talk about whatever you like, and one phrase can be about one topic, while the next phrase can be about another topic. Just say whatever comes to mind.

4. Once you have the feel of this, stop and take a rest.

5. Now make up an “I am” statement.

Here is how to develop an “I am” statement:

Make believe that you have already achieved the results of something you would like to work on during the course of this Practice, and make a statement that describes how your feel, and experience “life” and or yourself having ALREADY achieved the results you desire. For instance, if you are wanting to lose weight you might say, “I am healthy and maintaining an optimal body weight.”

It is very important that you make an “I am” statement that gives you the mental image and emotional feeling of how you look and feel having ALREADY accomplished your goal, rather than using negative terms that describe how you do NOT want to be. An incorrectly formulated “I am” statement would be “I am no longer overweight and I feel good about myself.” In the same way, a successful athlete would NOT say to herself “I am no longer missing field goals during the important moments of a game.” Instead, she would state what she IS doing, having already accomplished her goal, “I am making my field goals during the important moments of a game.” It is important to keep your “I am” statement simple. In general, the simpler the better.

Once you have made your “I am” statement, get back into your breathing rhythm for several cycles and then speak your “I am” statement several times over several breathing cycles. Start speaking at the beginning of your exhale, pause, inhale, and then speak your “I am” statement again at the start of your next exhale. If you like you can go through more than one breathing cycle before repeating your “I am” statement again. Whatever feels most comfortable for you will be best.

Rest.

6. Now get into your breath-talking rhythm for several cycles and then describe your overall experience as you stay in your “I am” frame of mind. Feel free to say whatever you like, as long as you speak slowly during an exhale, pause, and then inhale expansively.

If and whenever you get out of synch with your breath-talking, stop your speaking as you CONTINUE to breathe, and then start back again with the last statement that you were out of synch with. Staying in synch with your breathing is more important than the words you speak.

At times, depending on your intuition, you might actually want to stop the flow of your current conversation and make whatever other statements come to mind.

For instance: “I am feeling relaxed”… Or, “I can hear other people talking”… “I am wondering what will wind up happening”…

That’s all there is to this process. It is definitely simple, and yet it will likely take you a while to get the hang of it. Please know that I find this Practice to be of great value to people and I think you will likely be surprised by what you learn.

 

 

 

 

 

Somatic Self-Hypnosis

This Practice is rather unique, yet still quite simple to perform. In order to make the instructions as clear as possible, the instructions read quite a bit longer than when I teach this Practice in person.

The purpose of this Practice is to help you understand how the way you use your body creates a different experience of the challenges you face.

It will be best to first read through the instructions once or twice so that you will not have to interrupt yourself later on, by needing to read every step in detail.

As always, breathing and taking your time with this Practice are of paramount importance.

Materials that you will need to perform the Practice:
A. Several hardcover books if available. Soft cover books or even newspapers are also fine. When you stack the books one on top of the other the stack should be roughly six to eight inches high. At least two of the books should be about one inch high when sitting flat on a desk.
B. A clock which clearly show the seconds ticking away. Best if you have a clock that you can place in the room as you like.

Again, as always, this Practice is designed to be done numerous times over a period of time. The results you get over time might be somewhat magical, but the Practice itself is not at all magical. The “magic” shows up in the doing! Performing the Practice numerous times will give you great value.

1. Determine and state a relationship or behavior that you would like to better understand as a result of doing this Seishindo Self-hypnosis Practice.
In Seishindo we strongly suggest exploring what you would like to better understand, rather than striving to change a behavior or relationship. All too often people attempt to change something in their life, without fully understanding the circumstances involved. Our belief is: If you truly understand a situation or relationship, both cognitively and emotionally, you will almost certainly find that a “problem” no longer exists.
Please make a clear statement of intention now. For instance, “I would like to better understand my relationship with eating and food.”

2. Create an “I am” statement.
Here is how to develop an “I am” statement:
Make believe that you have ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED your intention as just stated above. Make a statement that describes how your feel, and experience “life” and or yourself having ALREADY achieved the results you desire. For instance, if you are wanting to have “a better understanding of my relationship to food” you might say, “I am enjoying my healthy relationship with food and eating, and feeling good.”

It is very important that you make an “I am” statement that gives you the mental image and emotional feeling of how you look and feel having ALREADY accomplished your goal, rather than using negative terms that describe how you do NOT want to be. An incorrectly formulated “I am” statement would be “I am no longer overweight and I feel good about myself.” In the same way, a successful athlete would NOT say to herself “I am no longer missing field goals during the important moments of a game.” Instead, state what you ARE doing, having already accomplished your goal. The athlete might say, “I am feeling confident as I continue to make my field goals.” It is important to keep your “I am” statement simple. In general, the simpler the better.

In particular, people often struggle with how to make a statement in regard to “smoking” or “stress”.
We do NOT want to say something like “I am better understanding my relationship to smoking/stress.” because such a statement would have us continuing to think about “Smoking/Stress” Much better to say something like (Depending on your circumstances of course.) “I am in a healthy relationship with my whole self, and feeling fit and fine.” Or, “I am having healthy reactions to life’s many ups and downs.”

It is quite likely that your “I am” statement will change during the course of this Practice, or you might find that your “I am” statement changes the next time you entertain the same issue. This is fine. As long as you continue to state your “I am” statement in positive terms, welcome a change in your statement, if and when a change does occur.)

Take the time now to write down your initial intent, and the “I am” statement that you have created.

3. With your shoes off, stand with one foot on the floor and your other foot resting on top of your stack of books that is roughly between six to eight inches in height. Shift about 60% of your weight to the foot that is on top of the books.

Stand like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements. If you are in a suitable space, it is best to make your “I am” statements out loud.

4. Switch to having your other foot on top of the books.

Once again, make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

5. Now switch the set up of the books. Work with the two books that are only about one inch thick. Place one book under the ball of your right foot and the other book under the heal of your left foot.

Stand like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

6. Switch feet. Place one book under the ball of your left foot the other one under the heel of your right foot.

Stand like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

7. Now switch the set up of the books again. Working with the two books that are only about one inch thick, place each book under the ball of each foot.

Stand like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

8. Now switch the set up of the books again. Working with the two books that are only about one inch thick, place each book under the heel of each foot.

Stand like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

9. Continuing to stand with the books under both heels, tighten up your face muscles, raise and tighten your shoulders, and tighten ALL of your other muscles as well.

Stand like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

10. Stand in a “regular” manner with both feet on the floor. Rock slowly and rhythmically from front to back.

Stand and rock like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

11. Stand in a “regular” manner with both feet on the floor. Rock slowly and rhythmically from left to right.

Stand and rock like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

12. Stand in a “regular” manner with both feet on the floor. Nothing special to do this time.

Stand like this and make your “I am” statement out loud, and then breathe deeply three times. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

After taking your three deep breaths, just stare out into the distance, as then begin to repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow repetitive fashion. Take about one minute for this. Be certain to speak to yourself slowly, and to take at least one deep breath in between your statements.

The “active” part of the Practice is now complete.

Note to yourself your “I am” statement now. Is it the same as before? As I said up top change is fine if it comes, but either way is OK.

Note how you feel now, and how you feel in regard to your original intention and your “I am” statement(s). You might find it useful to take some notes.

Tuning In

This Seishindo Self-hypnosis Practice is great for helping you to better understand and adapt to the various challenges you face in life. As you little by little come to a place of greater understanding, compassion, and self love, you will find your experience of life and your relationships, being transformed. Eventually you will come to understand that ever challenge life offers you, is actually an opportunity to grow and evolve.

We suggest that you strive for understanding, self love, and compassion, and not “change.”

It is suggested that you read through these instructions several times prior to beginning. This will give you the possibility of doing the whole Practice without needing to refer to the notes. Of course do refer to the notes if you need to, but you will likely get the most pleasing results when you can leave the notes behind.

It is important to know that these notes are meant as a general guideline, and there is no need to worry about following the steps exactly as they are written.

What is important, is that during the course of this Practice, you maintain a soft focus with your eyes, SLOW mild mannered internal dialogue/talking, and a deep and relaxed breathing pattern.

If possible, it is best to do this Practice in a location and time that allows for you to make your statements out loud. BUT, much better to do this Practice often only speaking to yourself internally, rather than waiting for the perfect circumstances!

This Practice assumes that you have an issue, relationship, or circumstance in your life that you would like to better understand.

Seat yourself so that you are comfortable.
[I find this Practice a lot more powerful when I look at myself in a mirror during the entire Practice, but this is not at all necessary. You can just sit looking at the wall, or out the window.]

If in any way you feel like you are rushing even a tiny bit, you are to slow down, and begin again. Maintaining a slow relaxed pace is an important part of the overall process.

1) State your intention in regard to understanding an issue / relationship / circumstance more fully.
For instance: “I would like to have a better understanding of my relationship to food.”
It is important to stick to wanting to “better understand” something, rather than attempting to change or fix something that you perhaps do not fully understand.

2) Create an “I am” statement.
Here is how to develop an “I am” statement:
Make believe that you have ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED your intention as just stated above. Make a statement that describes how your feel, and experience “life” and or yourself having ALREADY achieved the results you desire. For instance, if you are wanting to have “a better understanding of my relationship to food” you might say, “I am enjoying my healthy relationship with food and eating, and feeling good.”

It is very important that you make an “I am” statement that gives you the mental image and emotional feeling of how you look and feel having ALREADY accomplished your goal, rather than using negative terms that describe how you do NOT want to be. An incorrectly formulated “I am” statement would be “I am no longer overweight and I feel good about myself.” In the same way, a successful athlete would NOT say to herself “I am no longer missing field goals during the important moments of a game.” Instead, state what you ARE doing, having already accomplished your goal. The athlete might say, “I am feeling confident as I continue to make my field goals.” It is important to keep your “I am” statement simple. In general, the simpler the better.

In particular, people often struggle with how to make a statement in regard to “smoking” or “stress”.
We do NOT want to say something like “I am better understanding my relationship to smoking/stress.” because such a statement would have us continuing to think about “Smoking/Stress” Much better to say something like (Depending on your circumstances of course.) “I am in a healthy relationship with my whole self, and feeling fit and fine.” Or, “I am having healthy reactions to life’s many ups and downs.”

It is quite likely that your “I am” statement will change during the course of this Practice, or you might find that your “I am” statement changes the next time you entertain the same issue. This is fine. As long as you continue to state your “I am” statement in positive terms, welcome a change in your statement, if and when a change does occur.)

3) Once you are clear about what your “I am” statement is for now, SLOWLY repeat it three times while taking a DEEP breath after each statement. It is important that you breathe deeply and expansively. Take your time while doing this.

4) Sit quietly for one full minute or so….
Allow your eyes to lightly rest on whatever is in front of you….
And breathe in and out through your nose….
A bit deeper than usual….
And notice any rocking movements you might have, if any…..

5) Now, state three things that you see….
Now, breathe deeply three times….
Taking your time……

6) Now, make your “I am” statement….
And then, take three deep breaths….

7) Now, name three sounds that you hear….
Now, feeling like you have a luxurious amount of time for this Practice….
Breathe deeply three times….
Taking all the time that you need….

8) Now, make your “I am” statement….
And now, take three deep breaths….

9) Now, state three sensations that you feel inside or on the surface of your body. Please be certain to name three physical sensations. Please do not use terms like “happy” “tired” “sad”.
For instance, you might say “I can feel my heart beating, my posture is rounded forward, and my left eye is a bit more open than my right eye.”

Don’t do anything to change yourself, just note how you are now….
Now, breathe deeply three times….
Taking your time to relax into the moment….

10) Now, make your “I am” statement….
And now, take three deep breaths….

11) Now, state two things that you see….
And then, breathe deeply three times….

12) Now, make your “I am” statement….
And now, take three deep breaths….

13) Now, as you sit comfortably, name two sounds that you hear….
And now, breathe deeply three times….

14) Now, make your “I am” statement….
And now, take three deep breaths….

15) Now, name two physical sensations that you feel, inside, or on the surface of, your body….
Now, breathe deeply three times.

16) Now, make your “I am” statement….
And now, take three deep breaths…..

17) Now, state one thing that you see….
And now, take three deep breaths….

18) Name one sound that you hear….
And now, take three deep breaths….

19) Now, name one physical sensation that you feel….
And now, take three deep breaths….

20) Now, make your “I am” statement….
And now, take three deep breaths….

21) For one full minute or so, allow your mind to wander in any direction it likes….
While at the same time…. keeping a rhythmic feel to your breathing….

22) Now, speak any statements that come to your mind at this time….
You can state how you are feeling physically and emotionally….
You can state any thoughts that come to your mind….
You can state what you hear, see, and feel…..

23) What have you learned?
How do you feel in regard to your initial intention?
How does your “I am” statement feel to you?
What is your emotional state like now?

There are not any right or wrong answers or statements here.
You are only meant to notice your experience.
Your experience will indeed change over time.

Please perform this practice numerous other times so that you can notice how it is your RELATIONSHIP to your initial intention, changes over time.

Only one, Only moving, Only calm

You can initially perform this practice as you follow the instructions step by step on your computer screen. In a short while you will find that you no longer need to read the instructions and you can just take a pleasant wandering journey on your own. Then you might find that your experience deepens and your good feeling grows.

The main idea for this Practice is to notice how movement and breath are important components in all of life. Notice how movement and breath connect all living beings together, as active players in the symphony of life.

If it is convenient for you I would suggest using some slow soothing music when doing this Practice. Keep the music quite low, but definitely audible. Let the music feed your movement and breath.

Although you can do this Practice either sitting or standing, I will describe doing it from a seated position.

“From a seated position, take a minute or two and quiet yourself down……. As you begin to quiet down, notice if you can, your heartbeat….the rhythm of your breathing……. and how your body moves with each breath…….”

“Take a minute and also notice any sounds that are in your local environment……..and note what it is you see around you………”

“Breathe deeply, as you balance the structure of your body, and release the muscles of your face, neck, chest, and stomach…… And then breathe deeply again…………”

“Move around some as you perhaps begin to feel the pulse of life within you…….”

“Breathe deeply, and allow the weight of your body to rest in your lower abdomen…………. Have a sense of your lower abdomen being quite heavy and full, and at the same time feel that all of the rest of your trunk is light, and expanding upwards and outwards…….”

“Sometimes it is helpful to have an image that assists you in feeling both heavy and light at the same time…….. An image that might prove helpful is………..Consider your pelvis to be like a large pot, and your lower abdomen is the water that fills your pot………… Now, let the water in your pot begin to warm up, so that steam forms and rises up from your pot……like the soothing steam rising from a bath tub or sauna………”

As this warming, relaxing steam rises up and washes over you…….. let it fill your upper body and give you the sense that the rising steam leads your whole upper body to ever so much, rise up and expand…………”

“Breathe deeply and feel both the weight of your full pot, and the expansion and lightness of the steam rising up and enveloping and expanding your upper body…… Experience the rising and expanding steam to be an outpouring of ki……..”

“Breathe deeply and notice the movement of the steam…… the movement of your ki……the movement of your body…….and feel an inflow of ki, like a soothing breeze, as the atmospheric pressure around you moves into your space, to balance the lessened air pressure of the rising steam……”

“Breathe deeply and notice that your spirit is quite immovable right now……. Very firm, very calm, very present….As if there is a strong but gentle force expanding inside of you……. while at the same time there is a strong but gentle force contracting inside of you….. Your spirit contracts and expands at the same time…… and your spirit is quite able to move if movement is indeed necessary…….”

“Breathing deeply and sensing a unity with all of life….. doing only what your spirit moves you to do…… and nothing more or less……..Your “doing less” leads you to feel and expand into your power……… while having a greater sense of connection to life…… Great calmness leading to great action…… like a hurricane radiating out from its calm center…….. Great action leads to great calmness, as when a strongly thrown top rights itself and calmly spins round its center……….”

“The expansion and contraction of your breathing…….. The expansion and contraction of your heartbeat….. The expansion and contraction of air currents throughout the world as some areas heat up and other areas cool off….. The movement of the clouds in a light blue sky….. The movement of the leaves on a large tree as a fresh spring breeze passes by………. The rapid flowing of a mountain stream fed by the melting snow moving down the mountain…. The call of a bird……..the crying of a young baby…….. the beating of your heart……….and the inhale and exhale of your breath…… all taking place right now…. feeling this moment……..saying yes to this moment…… feeling one with this moment…….. feeling your movement…….. and sensing how your movement is a movement that is common to all of life……. the entire universe is moving….. the whole world is breathing….. and it is the need for diversity…… the need for differrence…….. both expansion AND contraction………. black AND white……inhaling………AND exhaling……… that balances the world… and leads to an outpouring of spirit……. a sense of Oneness, with all of life……….

Open Perspective

1. Make a statement of intention stated in “positive” terms as to what you would like to accomplish today.

2. Turn your statement of intention into an “I am” statement.

Here is how to develop an “I am” statement:
Make believe that you have already achieved the results of something you would like to work on during the course of this Practice, and make a statement that describes how your feel, and experience “life” and or yourself having ALREADY achieved the results you desire. For instance, if you are wanting to lose weight you might say, “I am healthy, maintaining an optimal body weight, and feeling good about myself.”

It is very important that you make an “I am” statement that gives you the mental image and emotional feeling of how you look and feel having ALREADY accomplished your goal, rather than using negative terms that describe how you do NOT want to be. An incorrectly formulated “I am” statement would be “I am no longer overweight and I feel good about myself.” In the same way, a successful athlete would NOT say to herself “I am no longer missing field goals during the important moments of a game.” Instead, state what you ARE doing, having already accomplished your goal, “I am making my field goals during the important moments of a game.” It is important to keep your “I am” statement simple. In general, the simpler the better.

What is important here is a soft focus with your eyes, and SLOW, mild mannered talking.

If in any way you feel like you are rushing even a tiny bit, you are to slow down, and begin again.

Maintaining a slow relaxed pace is crucial.

3. When ready, take three DEEP breaths and then repeat your “I am” statement again.

4. Now, take ONE DEEP breath and make an “open perspective” statement which is spontaneous and ad libbed in the moment.

What is meant by an “open perspective statement”?

Any statement that has seemingly nothing to do with your intention in doing this Practice, or your “I am” statement. ANY statement at all. For instance you could say something like “It snowed in late April last year.” Or “My daughter will be five years old in a week.”

5. Now again take one DEEP breath…..and make your “I am” statement again……

6. Take another DEEP breath…….and make your next “open perspective” statement……

7. Take another DEEP breath……….. and make your “I am” statement.

8. Take another DEEP breath…….and make your next “open perspective” statement……

And then again breathe deeply ………as you draw to a close.

Debrief
How does your experience in any way match or mismatch your “usual” way of thinking in regard to your statement of intent? How does if feel to make your “I am” statement numerous times? Have you learned something doing this Practice?

Heartbeat Mantra For General Calming

The Heartbeat Mantra Practice is an excellent Practice for developing a state of calmness. It is especially good to do if you find yourself becoming excessive in your thinking, or if you are feeling stressed.

[You will need to understand how to perform the Heartbeat Breathing Practice in order to take part in this process. If you do not feel that you fully understand how to do Heartbeat Breathing, please practice Heartbeat Breathing until you can do so without requiring written instructions.]

If you are in your own space it is nice to do this practice with some low and slow background music playing. If you choose music with lyrics, be certain that the lyrics do not distract you.

As you go through this practice you might notice that your body takes on a subtle rocking motion. Although this rocking motion is not important in and of itself, please allow such rocking to occur if indeed it does start to happen.

From a seated position, take a minute or to and quiet your thinking mind. Usually, a good way to begin the process of quieting down, is to first slowly take several deep breaths.

When you are ready, engage in Heartbeat Breathing for at least two minutes.

Developing your heartbeat mantra
Now stop your heartbeat breathing so that you can read through the following instructions:

For general calming
Read through these instructions first before actually performing what is asked.

Start by taking the page of MANTRAS shown below and placing the page in front of you.
(You can of course make your own page of mantras. Adding colors and simple pictures/drawings, can also be excellent.)

Sit calmly and begin to feel into your heartbeat breath.
Take your time and get into the rhythm of your heartbeat breath.
Once you feel like you have a good feel for the rhythm of your heartbeat breath, just go with the feeling, and stop counting the duration of the inhale and exhale.
Just go with your feeling for a couple of rounds of breathing.

Now, look at the first phrase on the page of mantras, for your entire inhale and exhale.
Repeat the phrase to yourself each time your heart beats, as you look at the phrase and inhale and exhale. Do this for at least one complete cycle of inhaling and exhaling.

So, for instance: You look at “No meaning” for an entire inhale AND exhale, repeating the phrase “No meaning” each time you feel your heart beat.

When you are ready, go on to the next word or phrase.
If you feel like it, instead of moving from one word to the next in an ordered fashion, you can randomly go to any word or phrase on the page that draws your attention.
Look at this new word or phrase for at least one complete inhale and exhale, and repeat the phrase at the same pace as your heartbeat.

Go through the whole page at least once.

This is the whole process.

Note for yourself how you feel right now.
What is your emotional tone right now? How do you experience your breathing? How do you experience yourself? How do you experience the world around you?
Almost certainly, you will feel differently from when you started.
Most people will report feeling a good deal more relaxed, because they have been giving their attention to their breath and heartbeat, while keeping their logical mind occupied with the various phrases being repeated.
If for some reason doing this Practice has not helped you to relax, then you will know that this is an excellent Practice to work with over time.

If necessary read the instructions again, prior to actually beginning.

1… Breathe, 2… Breathe

This is a very simple Seishindo Practice and yet it embodies an important principle of Seishindo – In almost all instances people overheat their system when talking about their perceived challenges.

In Seishindo we pay attention to assure that the words we speak are fully supported by a relaxed physiology and copious amounts of oxygen. When we speak slowly and with purpose, and fuel our process with a sufficient amount of oxygen, we literally give our body the opportunity to digest and thus emotionally understand what we say. When we do this we find that the narrative of our story changes.

What happens when a person’s narrative starts to shift? They begin to see and feel their challenge from a different perspective. Without any prompting or suggestions, an angry husband starts to perceive how he adds to the madness in his marriage. In another instance an upset parent begins to realize that it is only natural for his teenage daughter to begin dating at some point.

I am not sure how to give you the best instruction for this Practice in writing.

You are to cycle through repeating the numbers 1…2…3…4… while taking a naturally full breath in between each number. In this instance you are simply speaking numbers as a way of practicing for later conversations that contain content that is important to you. Speaking the numbers is what we call having “a conversation without content.” You are talking, but about nothing in particular. This is a great way to practice for actual conversations.

“One” spoken toward the end of your exhale…
Then you take a relaxed natural inhale and somewhere along the path of exhaling you speak the number “Two.”…
Then you take a relaxed natural inhale and somewhere along the path of exhaling you speak the number “Three.”…
Then you take a relaxed natural inhale and somewhere along the path of exhaling you speak the number “Four.”…

When you have it just right, you will feel that everything is just right. Just enough pausing, just enough speaking, and just enough breathing.

When you are able to complete two full rounds from 1-4 feeling that both rounds one after the other are just right, you should likely feel relaxed and at ease. You might feel at peace at this time and happy to just sit quietly for a few minutes, or you might feel ready to have a meaningful discussion about a subject that is important to you.

No matter what, this Practice is an important one for learning how to harmonize your words with your physiology and emotional state.

Don’t be surprised if it is not as easy as it first appears!

Practice, enjoy, and learn.

Heartbeat Breath—Calming Breath

If you are in your own space it is nice to do this practice with some low and slow background music playing. If you choose music with lyrics, be certain that the lyrics do not distract you.

As you go through this practice you might notice that your body takes on a subtle rocking motion. Although this rocking motion is not important in and of itself, please allow such rocking to occur if indeed it does start to happen.

From a seated position, take a minute or to and quiet your thinking mind. Usually, a good way to begin the process of quieting down, is to first take a couple of deep breaths.

As you begin to quiet down, notice if you can, your heartbeat. You might simply be able to feel your heartbeat pulsing in you, or you might need to feel your pulse by either placing your hand on your heart; placing your fingers on your carotid artery; or placing your fingers along either wrist. (Use any fingers other than your thumbs.)

If you can’t feel your heartbeat on its own and need to use one of your hands to help you, see after a minute or two if you can feel your heartbeat without needing to use your hand. This would be best in the long run. If you find feeling your pulse difficult, then you will be well served by practicing over time, until you can sit quietly and feel your heartbeat pulsing through you. Sensing one’s heartbeat is a primary technique used in many different health management systems for inducing greater body awareness, relaxation, and health.

Feel your heartbeat while just sitting quietly, either using your hands or not. You might notice some body movement. This is fine. Begin to notice your breath as well. Breathing in and breathing out through your nose. Feel your breath AND your heartbeat, and match the rhythm of the two. For example: Four heartbeats for the duration of the inhale and four heartbeats for the duration of the exhale. Keep your inhale and your exhale equal in length. This is rather important. As a second example: You might count your inhale for four heartbeats and then add a fifth beat as a pause or segue, prior to exhaling. Then count four heartbeats for the exhale, with an extra fifth beat as a pause or segue prior to inhaling.

You might find the duration or count of your breath changes from time to time. This is fine, and quite natural. For instance you might go from a four heartbeat count, to a three heartbeat count. Or you might go from a three heartbeat count to a five heartbeat count. Just be certain to adjust your breathing so that the inhalations and exhalations are once again of the same duration.

A minimum practice time would normally be five minutes, and you can do this practice in many different settings. On a train, bus, or plane. While a passenger in a car. Waiting in a reception room. Just prior to a test. You can take this practice with you wherever you go. If you are in a situation waiting for something to occur, you might likely find that even just one minute of this practice helps you to calm down.

Remember, when you calm your breathing you calm your body. When you calm your body, you calm your thinking and your internal dialogue. When you calm your body and your thinking, you calm your mind.

When measuring the duration of your heartbeat breath, it is important that you actually count your heartbeats and not just arbitrarily count at a predetermined pace. You are looking to meld the activity of your heart with the activity of the breath. After a while as you develop more experience with this practice you can just feel your heartbeats and no longer need to count.

To recap: Feel your heartbeat, and then synchronize your breath with your heartbeat. An inhale of say three heartbeats, a one heartbeat segue, and then a three heartbeat exhale with a one heartbeat segue. Nothing more to do than stay with this process and notice what you feel happening within your system. If you stay with this process for a few minutes you are likely to feel quite relaxed and at ease.

As simple as this Practice is, you might find it somewhat challenging in the beginning. If so, this will be a sign that it is important for you to take the time to delve more deeply into your personal rhythms.

Whole Body Breathing

(This Practice has been influenced by the work of Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen, Linda Hartley, and the study of Aikido and Yoga.)

By bringing your conscious awareness to your entire body, you can increase your health and vitality.

The explanation of this Practice is rather lengthy, but once you get the hang of it you’ll soon understand the process is quite simple and easy to perform.

Keep in mind that once you get comfortable with this Practice, you do not have to follow all of the instructions in a linear fashion.

The best thing to do once you have the basic idea, is simply go with the flow of what you remember and feel, and then reread the instructions from time to time.

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1. Start by lying down

(Laying down for this Practice is not a “must”, but we find that initially it tends to help people get the best feel for what’s going on.)

If you do lay down as suggested, better to lay on the floor, rather than a bed or couch, IF you have a floor you can be comfortable on. The idea is to get comfortable, but not to the point of going to sleep. If you do wind up drifting off to sleep, no worries.

Just do the Practice again in the near future, with the intent of staying awake.

2. Take a minute to slow down and quiet your thinking mind.

For at least three full cycles breath, breathing in and out through your nose, in a slow, full manner….

Breathe so that you can hear the air passing through your nose on both the inhale and exhale….

As you inhale, feel the air coming in through your nose, and filling up your stomach area. As you exhale, feel the breath exiting through your nostrils.

Please like this now over the course of the next sixty seconds or so….

Thoughts will likely continue to come, but simply let them go by, as if your thoughts are floating by you down a river.

3. Remaining calm…. notice your heartbeat….

You might simply be able to feel your heartbeat pulsing in you, or you might need to feel your pulse by either placing your hand on your heart; placing your fingers on your carotid artery (if you know where it is); or placing your fingers along either wrist. (Use any fingers other than your thumbs.)

Take one full minute to feel your heartbeat while lying quietly and breathing.

4. Now, let go of all that you have been doing and begin to become aware of your abdomen….

Use your hand to feel the area of your belly button. Pat yourself a bit, rub yourself a bit, lightly scratch your belly some, and then put your hand back down by your side, while continuing to be aware of and feel your abdomen….

5. Now, you’re to imagine that all of your breath enters and exits your body through your navel, much like it did when you were inside your mother’s stomach….

As you breathe in and out through your nose, imagine you’re a baby in your mother’s womb and your breath is entering and exiting through your navel….

As you breath in through your navel your stomach area expands…. As you exhale out through your navel, your stomach area gets smaller….

Imagine and feel as you can, how the breath radiates from your navel, and travels throughout your entire body….

Let your belly be free so that it can enjoy increasing and decreasing in size, giving and receiving….

6. Now, breathe in through your navel, down through your left leg, and out your left foot.

Then exhale drawing your breath up from the sole of your left foot and moving it out through your navel….

Once again, breathe in through your navel, down through your left leg, and out your left foot.

Then exhale drawing your breath up from the sole of your left foot and moving it out through your navel….

7. Now breathe in through your navel and then down through your right leg, and out your right foot.

Then exhale drawing your breath up from the sole of your right foot and moving it out through your navel…..

Once again, breathe in through your navel and then down through your right leg, and out your right foot.

Then exhale drawing your breath up from the sole of your right foot and moving it out through your navel…..

8. Now, inhale through your navel, up through your stomach and chest, and into your left shoulder.

Then slowly exhale from your left shoulder back out through your navel.

9. This time inhale through your-stomach-chest-left shoulder, and all the way down your left arm and out the fingers of your left hand.

Then slowly exhale drawing your breath from the fingers of your left hand, up your left arm, and then down and out through your navel….

Once again, inhale through your-stomach-chest-left shoulder, and all the way down your left arm and out the fingers of your left hand.

Then slowly exhale drawing your breath from the fingers of your left hand, up your left arm, and then down and out through your navel….

Feel the cleansing process of your breathing….    Oxygen coming in through your navel on your inhale….    Carbon dioxide exiting out through your navel on your exhale….    Breathing and relaxing….

Oxygen in through the navel, carbon dioxide out through the navel….

10. Now, inhale through your stomach-chest-right shoulder, and all the way down your right arm and out the fingers of your right hand….

Then slowly exhale from the fingers of your right hand, up, the arm, and down and out through your navel….

Once again, inhale through your stomach-chest-right shoulder, and all the way down your right arm and out the fingers of your right hand….

Then slowly exhale from the fingers of your right hand, up, the arm, and down and out through your navel….

Oxygen in….. Carbon dioxide out…. Cleansing your body, soothing your entire self….

Breathe in a deep relaxing manner…. Breathing in the worries of the world, and breathing out serenity and compassion…. Breathing in the worries of the world, and breathing out serenity and compassion….

Breathing in and out through your navel….. Breathing and relaxing…..

11. Now, breathe up through your stomach, chest, and neck, and out  the top of your head….

Then exhale from the top of your head, down your torso, and out through your navel….

Again, up through your stomach, chest, and neck, and out the top of your head….

Then exhale from the top of your head, down your torso, and out through your navel….

12. This time breathe as you like, while feeling your facial muscles, your eyes, your forehead, and your scalp….

Then exhale from your scalp, face, and head, out through your navel….

Imagine that you’re rinsing out an open ended container, running the water from the bottom to the top, and from the top to the bottom.

Until such time that everything is nice and clean….

Cleaning and purifying your container….

13. As you inhale and exhale freely, feel how the temperature of your body varies some from place to place on and in your body….

Notice how your breath moves your body…. And how various parts of your body have tiny movements that seem to take place “on their own” without any conscious direction on your part….

Also notice your surroundings as you breathe…. The lighting…. different objects in the room…. the temperature in the room…. the movement of air…. the sounds in the local environment…..

Now, if you haven’t done so already, close your eyes…. and simply feel yourself all over, with your breath emanating from your navel….

In and out…. In and out….

Breathe like this for at least one minute.

14. Now, let go of everything you’ve been doing, and feel your heartbeat again.

Maintain a general sense of breathing in and out through your navel, as you also feel your heartbeat.

Breathe like this for at least two minutes.

Waiting quietly for a friend

“Waiting quietly for a friend” is one of the core activities of Seishindo. In this Practice we acknowledge the presence of “an intelligence greater than myself” and we invite this presence into our life, into our home, into our heart.

The concept of acknowledging a presence greater than one’s self is of course found in various religions, as well as in poetry from around the world, and it plays a central role in the overall process of Alcoholics Anonymous. As time, and my own practice continues, more and more I am coming to the understanding that a connection to an intelligence greater than one’s self is of prime importance for one’s emotional and spiritual well being.

(If you have done the Heartbeat Breathing Practice before you will find the beginning of this Practice exactly the same.)

As you go through this Practice you might notice that your body takes on a subtle rocking motion. Although this rocking motion is not important in and of itself, please allow such rocking to occur if indeed it does start to happen.

Read through these instructions first before actually performing what is asked. In fact you might want to actually read through the instructions several times before actually doing this Practice.

1. From a seated position, take a minute or to and quiet your thinking mind. Usually, a good way to begin the process of quieting down is to first take a couple of deep breaths. Please make sure that you really do this, rather than just reading the words………Please take a couple of deep breaths.

2. As you begin to settle in, notice if you can, your heartbeat. You might simply be able to feel your heartbeat pulsing in you, or you might need to feel your pulse by either placing your hand on your heart; placing your fingers on your carotid artery; or placing your fingers along either wrist. (Use any fingers other than your thumbs.)

If you can’t feel your heartbeat on its own and need to use one of your hands to help you, see after a minute or two if you can feel your heartbeat without needing to use your hand. This would be best in the long run. If you find feeling your pulse difficult, then you will be well served by practicing over time, until you can sit quietly and feel your heartbeat pulsing through you. Sensing one’s heartbeat is a primary technique used in many different health management systems for inducing greater body awareness and relaxation.

Feel your heartbeat while just sitting quietly, either using your hands or not: You might notice some body movement. This is fine.

3. Begin to notice your breath as well. Breathing in and breathing out through your nose. Feel your breath AND your heartbeat.

4. Sit with your breathing and your heartbeat and have the sense that you are waiting for the sun to rise. You can indeed be fairly certain that the sun will rise, but the time it takes is timeless and cyclical.

5. Now, imagine that you are waiting for a healthy baby to be born. It might be “your” baby or it might be the baby of a friend. The mother is fine and the baby is expected to be totally healthy, and you are sitting there, simply breathing and waiting, and supporting the overall process with your prayers and good will.

6. Now imagine that you are sitting waiting for “God” to arrive. Please allow yourself the opportunity in this instance to interpret the term God in whatever way is most pleasing for you. The mystic poet Rumi used to talk about “waiting for the Beloved.” Other people might feel like they are waiting for “Spirit” to arrive. Some people will conceive of God as being female in nature. Please conceive of God in whatever way works best for you.
You are sitting there knowing full well that God not only will arrive, but in some very important way, God is already sitting there with you.

7. Go back to noticing your breath and your heartbeat. Sit for one minute with this feeling.

8. Now sense or imagine that God is entering your space, and your heart. Please offer some simple greetings and words of thanks, as you continue to also be aware of your breath and your heartbeat. If you are in a suitable space, please speak your words out loud.
Something perhaps like this:

“Thank you.”
Breathing a deep yet relaxed inhale and exhale…….
“So wonderful to have you here.”
Breathing a deep yet relaxed inhale and exhale…….
“Enter please.”
Breathing……
“Thank you.”
Breathing…..
“Please continue to help me.”
Breathing…….
“Please continue to heal me.”
Breathing…….
“Please continue to fill me with your love.”
Breathing……
“Thank you for my loved ones.”
Breathing……
“Help me to remain calm and confident.”
Breathing……

Whatever you would like to say next………..
Breathing……..

Take your time and get into a pleasing rhythm.
Just go with your feeling.

You can repeat any one of the phrases as often as you like.

You can also just sit there with your breath and your heartbeat with no need to speak.

When you are done, sit calmly.
A minimum practice time would normally be five minutes.

Remember, when you calm your breathing you calm your body. When you calm your body, you calm your thinking mind and your internal dialogue. When you calm your body and your thinking mind, you calm your limbic-somatic mind. With your limbic-somatic mind calm, you feel your connection to Spirit, to God. When you feel your connection to God you feel protected, thankful, and calm.

Body + Language = Emotional Experience

We fully realize that this exercise might prove to be a bit too complicated for you to try out without having attended a Seishindo workshop. Nonetheless, this is one of THE classic Seishindo exercises and thus we wanted to introduce you to the concepts involved. Hopefully you will enjoy your exploration.

We have not included hormonal changes as one of the somatic variables. The reason for this is that we find it best to work with variables that people can have fairly easy access to altering. The seven variables we have chosen offer us great potential for behavioral change, because we can have a reasonable degree of conscious control over each of these variables, and altering these variables will make the process of change readily available to a wide range of people.

A three person exercise: A Coach, an Observer, and a Client.

I) The Client discusses with the Coach, a situation that is problematic.

II) While the Client is talking, the Coach and Observer are to notice where possible, the following seven variables, with the Observer taking terse notes on the chart provided below:

1) Posture – Especially note the tilt of the torso, and the shape of the chest/rib cage. Consider the chest to be two wings joined together at the sternum. In general: The chest should lead from the sternum area and be rounded back towards the shoulders ever so much. The torso should be tilted ever so much forward.

2) Balance and carriage of the neck and head – People tend to tilt their head to different positions depending on what they are feeling and talking about. Some people tend to carry their head forward of their torso, other people always have their head facing down somewhat.

3) Micro Muscular Body Movements – Does the Client seem to have a somewhat rigid posture, or do they have fluid movement? Fluid movements are usually best. If you are able to very carefully notice, you can detect that the client rocks ever so slightly in different directions, depending on what they are thinking/talking about. (For instance: If a client rocks from front to back when thinking about a specific topic that has a positive connotation, they will tend to rock from side to side when thinking about topics that have negative connotations. Such movements are usually subtle, highly systematic, and of great importance in regard to the way in which we think and feel.) Hand movements, or lack of them can also be important

4) Breath – Does the Client talk only after fully inhaling, or do they talk without having fully inhaled? What location does their breath seem to come from? (Stomach, Chest, Throat) In general, it is best to breathe from the stomach and talk only after fully inhaling. Copious breathing tends to calm the system. Insufficient breath tends to make one feel anxious. In general, when wanting to be more generative you will do best to take deep breaths whenever you would normally pause during the course of conversing, and particularly when you pause to think about what you will say next. Use the breath to slow down your system and also to slow down the pace of your conversation.

5) Facial expressions – Does the Client tense their eyes, or mouth prior to talking? Do they smile even though they are not talking about something that is pleasant?

6) The movement and focus of the eyes – How do the eyes move and focus depending on what is being thought about, felt, or spoken?

7) Speed, rhythm, tone, volume, and pausing of the verbal communication – When wanting to make generative changes in one’s life, most everyone does best speaking more slowly than usual when discussing a problematic situation. In order to remain relaxed and solution oriented, we usually do best to have: A resonate rhythm and tone to the vocal pattern, moderate volume, and ample pausing in between phrases, to allow for sufficient breathing, and processing of what has just been said. When you significantly slow down the pace of your talking, you significantly increase the chance that you will actually feel what you are talking about. Feeling what you are talking about is an important thing to do.

III) Once the Client feels like they have fully explained their situation (It is best that they do this in not more than a minute or two, rather than carrying on with a long winded explanation), the Coach and Observer look at and amend the notes taken by the Observer, and discuss what they noticed regarding the above seven variables, and what variables they need to check out further in order to gain useful information.

IV) Questions/Prompts you might use to gather more information (for instance):
“Please rock your body some from front to back a little bit and once you are rocking, please talk about your situation once again.” Let them talk for no more than a minute, and then thank them and ask them to stop. “This time I would like you to rock your body from side to side and talk about your situation a little bit more.” Again only a minute’s talking maximum. Then ask them, “Does it seem easier or more natural to talk about your situation when you are rocking front to back or from side to side?” Usually the difference will be fairly dramatic. Fill in their answer in the chart below. Do the same with other variables as necessary, until most, if not the whole chart is filled in.

V) Once the Coach feels they have all of the necessary information, the Coach makes specific suggestions concerning how the Client should use their body differently, and change their pattern of speech. (When we say “pattern of speech” we mean the pace, rhythm, tone, and volume, and NOT the actual words.) In general, the Client is simply asked to change each somatic variable so that they are doing something different than what is usual for them. Once these instructions are given, the Client is to tell their story once again.
For example:
If the Client’s trunk was tilted backwards to begin with, you ask them to tilt forward.
If the Client initially had their head tilted to the left, you suggest “Please tilt your head to the right.”
If the Client used their hands a lot while talking they are asked to restrict their hand movements.
If the Client tended to keep their eyes up and to the left while talking, ask them to look directly at you the whole time.

Also, make sure the Client breathes sufficiently and speaks slowly while pausing frequently. This variable in particular is crucial.

If the Client does not continue to maintain the suggested somatic changes, either give them terse instructions that they can change as they continue talking, OR, have them stop, tell them what they need to pay more attention to, and have them start again from the beginning. The method you use here is an aesthetic choice. If you feel they are maintaining the old stuck pattern, it is VERY important that you give them instructions that help them to correct each variable. Of course you will want to maintain a pleasant relationship with them while doing so.

Note: The Pace/Speed of their talking and their Breathing Pattern are VERY important. Make sure they maintain a SLOW pace, and BREATHE in between sentences and when they are thinking.

VI) When the Client is finished talking ask them what is different about their experience. If you have worked well together there will definitely be a change in the way the Client perceives and feels about their situation.

The suggestion is:
Notice when new ideas and shifts in language usage lead to meaningful bodily changes.
And notice when bodily changes lead to meaningful changes in language usage (including thinking and internal dialogue).
And continue to experiment until you notice when shifting one (Body or Language) shifts the other.
And when this happens, you have found a meaningful leverage point for changing ones emotional state as well.

The River of Life – Level II

Develop your river of life.

Now take a moment and let that experience rest.

State to yourself an aspiration that you would like to achieve…..Turn your aspiration into an “I am” statement…….

Revivify your river of life.
Say your “I am” statement out loud and notice your body.
Feel which part(s) of your body seem to want some attention…. Give the soft furry animal of your body what it wants.

“You can become curious about how to live inside any particular part of your body while connecting to your “I am” statement.”
“You can experiment with tensing until you naturally want to “relax completely.” You can shake or vibrate parts of your body, and at times you can be completely still.”

“You can twist parts of your body, or you can keep your torso straight and your arms by your side….Repeat your “as if” statement, and notice how that effects how you feel.”
“You can rub parts of your body, you can arch your back, sink down into your hips and legs, or do anything else that your somatic self seems to be wanting. And now from time, say your “I am” statement out loud, and notice how it feels when it is out there in the world.”
“Pay attention to your desire to do or not do, to be or to change, and let whatever happens take its own course. Repeating your “I am” statement to your self.”

“Feel into the joints of your body. Feel into your wrists, your elbows, your shoulder joints, your rib cage, your hips and pelvis, your knees, your ankles……Exclaiming your “I am” statement to the world. Now Stop! And do absolutely nothing. Can you do that? ”

“Now…..if you’d like, you may make some tiny, tiny movements with your joints. Explore your joints as you would explore a miniature world. There is so much room and freedom in your joints, and you can completely relax your joints so that you can feel into this freedom.” “Now, feel free to do something different, anything different, with the parts of your body that you are noticing, and at the same time keep your as if statement in your heart.”

“Be attentive to any “messages” – emotion, images, words, understandings – that arise in you as you feel more and more deeply into yourself and you explore new ways to express yourself. Notice how shifting your way of moving……and not moving your body… impacts your connection to your “as if” state, and to your self……

These explorations take their inspiration from Jerzy Grotowski and Continuum.

The River of Life Flows Through Us–Level 1: Basic

By engaging in this Practice, you will be able to feel the calmness and life force that emanates when we feel into the continuity that moves through us.

As always, we suggest that you read through the instruction below once, twice, or more, until you feel that you can perform this Practice without needing to stay stuck to the words on the page.

Begin this Practice only after you feel confident that you understand the basics of what you will be doing.

Use the words on the page as gentle suggestions that you can tap into from time to time, and not a rigid set of procedures that need to be followed to the letter.

We suggest that you take a minimum of five minutes to perform this Practice.

Enjoy!

Sit quietly and feel yourself.
Breathe fully several times…….
And give permission to yourself to spontaneously express the movements that occur at every given moment.

What is suggested here, is to “do nothing” except for sitting…. being aware of yourself and your surroundings…. and allowing your natural unfettered movements to come to the forefront of your consciousness.

If you are alive, there is always movement, and there is no need to orchestrate these movements with your rational mind.

Invite your somatic self to do as it desires.
Invite and allow your somatic self to express itself through the movements that are “already” occurring.
Allow your body to be calm, and move if and when it wants to move.

Please do not “do something” to “make” your body move. Simply notice and allow the movements that are already there.
The movements of your rib cage and stomach as you breathe…. changes in your facial expression…. an itching on the surface of your skin…. an exchange of energy, oxygen, and carbon dioxide…. the beating of your heart…. a pulsating feeling that leads to a gentle rocking of your torso…. the desire to adjust the way your head is sitting on top of your spine…. a softening of your visual field…. the body sensations of freedom or restriction…. and the motion of emotion.

Each movement grows out of body impulse, instinct, intuition, and the needs of the system, and not from the dictates of your rational mind.

Invite your somatic self to show you the way it wants you to move, rather than having your rational mind tell you what IT wants you to do.

Be in a state of not knowing what will occur next…. and discover new pathways that delight you and expand your movement capacity, as you sit calmly and wait….
Feel how and where your body wants to move and not move…. moment by moment…. Invite and allow your body to lead you.

When you feel like you are done for now, take a few moments to think about your experience.

This Practice takes its inspiration from two sources. Continuum, and Jerzy Grotowski.

Releasing Into Your Mood

During this practice you will listen to a varied range of musical selections (Up tempo, slow tempo, music without words, music with touching lyrics, etc). It is important to choose a wide range of music so that you can feel how different music genres affect you. Choose a minimum of about fifteen minutes of music or four different musical selections.

You can either sit or stand during this exercise. Indeed you can also sit part of the time and stand for other parts. Whatever suits you best. It is only important that you do not do any one activity to the point of getting tired. You are meant to be free with your body and your thinking, relaxed, and in an free form frame of mind.

Your main task is to simply let go of your everyday frame of mind, close your eyes, and surrender to the music and the moment.

1) Begin the musical selections and either sit or stand.

2) Move with the music.
You can move your head, neck, arms, and torso, in any manner you like. Be chaotic if you wish, or be fairly still. You can scrunch up all of your muscles and then quickly release them as you relax more fully, or you can scrunch up just a few of your muscles and then release them. Whatever you do is OK. Allow yourself to be transported to a new space and time.

Be as you wish. Playful, light, somber, delicately aware. The main idea is simply to know that you have many different choices of how you can be at any one given moment in time. Let go of your everyday constraints and let the music move you.

Important questions to ask yourself and take notes on when you are done
How do different selections of music alter your mood?
What are the physiological shifts you detect in yourself as you shift into different moods?
For instance, you might find that you move your head most with some music, and with other music you might find that you choose to mainly move your chest or your pelvis.
How does your breathing change from selection to selection?
How can you purposefully create these physiological shifts without the music playing? What would you need to do?

Possible Additional Activities
a) Develop an “I am” statement and make this statement at the beginning of each musical selection, and once or twice while the music is playing.
Notice if the different kinds of music changes the way your statement feels to you, and the meaning it has.

Here is how to develop an “I am” statement:
Make believe that you have already achieved the results of something you would like to work on during the course of this Practice, and make a statement that describes how your feel, and experience “life” and yourself having ALREADY achieved the results you desire. For instance, if you are wanting to lose weight you might say, “I am healthy, maintaining an optimal body weight, and feeling good about myself.”

It is very important that you make an “I am” statement that gives you the mental image and emotional feeling of how you look and feel having ALREADY accomplished your goal, rather than using negative terms that describe how you do NOT want to be. An incorrectly formulated “I am” statement would be “I am no longer overweight and I feel good about myself.” In the same way, a successful athlete would NOT say to herself “I am no longer missing field goals during the important moments of a game.” Instead, state what you ARE doing, having already accomplished your goal, “I am making my field goals during the important moments of a game.” It is important to keep your “I am” statement simple. In general, the simpler the better.

b) Imagine yourself having a conversation with a significant other, while the music is playing.
How does the music affect the conversation?
You can also have this conversation with yourself and notice how the music affects your internal dialogue.

Relaxing into Awareness

Once you can do this practice without looking at your notes, it’s great to perform this practice in front of a mirror when one is available.

Please sit comfortably, with your hands on your lap, and your feet placed firmly on the floor.
___________

1) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of seeing ……”
(Name three things you see while speaking slowly.)
Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

Breathe slowly and deeply.

2) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of hearing ……”.
(Name three things you hear while speaking slowly.)

Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
Breathe slowly and deeply.

3) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of feeling ……”
(Name three things you are feeling while speaking slowly.
Please be certain to name physical sensations you feel on or inside your body, and DO NOT use labels like “relaxed” or “nervous.”)

Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

Breathe slowly and deeply.

4) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of seeing ……”
(Name two things you are seeing while speaking slowly)

Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
Breathe slowly and deeply.

5) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of hearing ……”
(Name two things you are hearing while speaking slowly.)

Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

6) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of feeling ……”
(Name two things you are feeling while speaking slowly. Please be certain to name physical sensations you feel on or inside your body.)

Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

Breathe slowly and deeply.

7) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of seeing ……”
(Name one thing you are seeing while speaking slowly.)
Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

Breathe slowly and deeply.

8) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of hearing ……”
(Name one thing you are hearing while speaking slowly.)
Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

Breathe slowly and deeply.

9) Please state in a calm, clear voice:
“Now I am aware of feeling ……”
(Name one thing you are feeling while speaking slowly. Please be certain to name physical sensations you feel on or inside your body.)
Go ahead.

Now take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

Breathe slowly and deeply.
______________________

Make notes on your experience.
Notice how what you are noticing from moment to moment changes frequently. Notice how at times your thinking mind might wander off for a while. Notice how this practice changes your emotional state.

How would you name your emotional state right now? (Calm? Quiet? “Something else”?)

How has your breathing and your posture changed during the course of this practice?

This practice is patterned after an exercise that is commonly called “The Betty Erickson 3-2-1 Exercise”

Breathing Together, Becoming One

This is a very simple Practice, and yet it is one of the most powerful in the entire Seishindo repertoire.

As usual I suggest reading through all of the instructions before actually beginning.

This Practice requires at least one partner. You can do this Practice with a friend, a spouse, your child, a colleague, a fellow student. This Practice is fantastic to do with anyone you are in a committed relationship with, personal or professional. It is an excellent way to help people better understand and appreciate each other, from a heartfelt sense of being somatically connected to another human being.

You can also do this Practice with multiple people. For the sake of simplicity I will explain the Practice as if you are doing it with just one person. After that feel free to improvise. I will describe a possible variation or two at the end.

Allow for at least five minutes for this Practice. You might want to go ahead and set an alarm so you won’t need to think about the time. Five minutes is a fine time period. Later as you feel fully comfortable with the Practice you can experiment for doing it ten minutes at a time.

1. You and your partner sit facing each other, certain to be at a distance that is definitely comfortable for the both of you. About the same distance as a usual conversation can be fine. Both of you with both feet on the floor, and your hands resting easily on each leg.

2. Take some time and look at each other. The idea is to be comfortable looking at the other person, without feeling that you need to stare, or that you are being stared at. A soft focus gaze usually works best. Have a sense that you can let all of your facial muscles relax, and that through your eyes, and through a relaxed face, you can really offer your partner a clear understanding of who you are.

3. Without saying which one of you will start out as the leader, one of you begins by breathing deeply through the nose, and then slowly exhaling through the nose. I normally suggest starting with a breath interval of four to five seconds in each direction. A bit more can be OK, if it seems that your partner is OK with a deep breath. As much as you can do so comfortably you are meant to breathe in and out for the same interval of time. So for instance, four seconds of inhale, and four seconds of exhale. If you switch to a five second inhale then you exhale for five seconds as well. I usually count my heartbeat and use my heartbeat as my clock, but you can also of course simply tick off the seconds in your head. If you start out as the leader, it is important to not hold onto being the leader. After three or four rounds of breathing, ease off just a bit and give your partner the chance to be the leader, with you adjusting to them. You can signify the changing of roles with a simple nod of your head. If you start out as the person following, there is no need to have to “all of a sudden” get in synch with your partner. Take your time to get in synch with them. Once you have both been the leader, then there is no longer a leader. You both take it as your job, to comfortably adjust to the other person as necessary. Inhaling and exhaling, inhaling and exhaling, while staying connected to your partner with your breath and your gaze. It is important that you both keep your eyes open and that you do not drift off into your own world and lose touch.

4. As you are breathing and staying connected with your partner, allow yourself to also notice all of the sounds in your local environment, all that you can see without moving your head or your eyes. and the motion and internal sensations you feel.

5. Debrief by telling your partner about your experience. Please be careful to not tell your partner the “opinions” of them you might have had as you looked at them. You do NOT want to say things like “You seemed scared.” Or “You looked angry.”
Mainly you want to talk about what you felt, and if you are careful to not denigrate or upset your partner in any way, you can share what you FELT as you were looking at them, with them. Being gentle with your discussion is crucial, because you might be surprised to discover just how vulnerable and or connected your partner feels when doing this Practice. The words you speak will often have a “bigger” meaning than in a more everyday context.

That’s it! Simple, yet most people report having a lovely, powerful experience.

Variations on a theme:
A. With an emotionally troubled or sick child you start out by breathing at the same pace as the child. At a certain point in time (Two, three, five minutes?), simply by being in synch with the breathing of the child you will notice that their breath slows down some and that they become emotionally more comfortable.

I have done this numerous times when on airplanes and a child who I have never met is acting up. Most often I will do this as their parent struggles to control them. It is usually important to get the child’s attention by making a funny face or something similar. It is quite fine for the child to stay with their parent (in fact this is almost always best.) I usually do not make a statement to the parent ahead of time, because I feel that what I am doing is quite non-invasive and definitely friendly. Up to you, though. When done correctly this form of joining with the child’s breathing can really create minor miracles. Even if the child is sitting a few rows up, no problem at all, as long as you get their attention every once and a while so that they know you are there. For me it is pretty usual that the child will be nice and mellow and perhaps even asleep, with five to ten minutes maximum.

With your own child, if they are sick, and comfortable with the idea of this Practice, you can put your hand on their stomach as they lay in bed. Start out by matching their breathing, as your hand rises and falls along with their stomach. When you feel you have a good match you can then use the pressure of your hand to indicate that they slow their breathing down a bit, if it is your intuition that this would help. In the beginning you do not want to explain the whole process to the child because you do not want them to be thinking about whether they are “doing it right” or not. They will intuitively understand what the various pressures coming from your hand mean. At this point my daughter knows all about all of this stuff and she will often ask me to breathe with her.

Simply breathing with your child, without even touching, can be an excellent way to help them to go to sleep.

B. As I stated up top, this is an excellent Practice to do with a life partner, especially if the two of you have been having some trouble in your relationship. In this case we suggest you do it as described in the instructions, and sitting in chairs.
No matter what, it is important to not turn this Practice into a sexual encounter, unless you take a break first, and only then begin in with something else. Why? Because people need to feel fully safe at a time like this, and even with a partner that you are getting along with, it is important that they do not feel like they might need to “perform.”

C. You can of course also do this Practice with any and all other adults. Whenever you touch anyone else, you want to be certain that they are comfortable with your touch, and that you are emotionally clear about what you are and are not doing. It would be a very serious mistake to do this Practice with someone that you are not currently intimate with and turn it into something sexual.

D. This is an excellent Practice to do as a member of a team. Especially a sports team. If you do it with more than one other person, you can start out by alternately looking at the other people and then going to a soft focus gaze to where you are not looking at either person. In this case you will want to adjust your seating so no one is sitting directly in front of you.

E. If you have an even number of people, you can also do this in rounds, first sitting opposite person 1 for a few minutes and gazing at them, then getting up and switching seats, and sitting in front of person 2.

F. This Practice is also great to do with pets. Especially if (a) Your pet is not feeling well. Or, (b) You are feeling a bit down.

Whatever works for you. There can be many variations on this theme.

Utilizing Your Current Competencies

This Practice is designed to teach you how to appreciate and build upon the competencies you already have, to help you excel in areas of your life you would like to be more successful in.

You will want to have a pen and paper handy.
Read through all of the instructions at least once before actually doing the Practice.

1) Develop a relaxed “base” state.
As you sit comfortably, breathe deeply a number of times and move any parts of your body that feel like they want to move. Please really DO this! There is no right and wrong way. Just move your head, neck, trunk, arms, and legs around some, so that all of yourself has the best chance of feeling relaxed and flexible.

Now, take a few deep breathes, and slowly come to a place where you are sitting still while feeling the previous movements still reverberating through your system.

Take at least two or three minutes to go through this entire process, as you get into a feeling state that pleases you.

2) Consider and choose, the core competencies you feel you exhibit in most circumstances in your life.
Some examples of what we mean by “core competencies” are the following:
Well organized; High quality technical skills; Good at making lasting, caring, and or productive relationships; Creative; High quality project management skills (which would include completing tasks on time and on budget); You like to be of service to others; Good at finding the weak points in a project or plan (Good at critiquing); Good at being a supportive team member; Optimistic; Your tendency is to search for what is good for all parties/circumstances concerned; An overriding belief that the “universe” works well for us if we learn how to follow the appropriate principles; You are skilled at understanding the needs and wants of others; You have an uncanny ability to help people live a more productive life; etc.
You can of course consider many different core competencies that are not listed here.

Be generous and kind to yourself, while keeping in mind that “More is definitely not better.”

Write down some sentences expressing your core competencies, similar to the examples above.

3) Pick a domain you would like to feel competent/successful in.
By “domain” we mean a specific “area” of your life. For instance— Family (As a parent, child, or spouse), Career (What career specifically?), Community or Organization (What community or organization?), the Environment (What area in particular), etc.

You can choose either a domain that you have been hesitant to enter, or a domain that you are currently in but not feeling good about the results/relationships you are achieving.

Please write down the domain you would like to be more competent in.

“I would like to be more competent in the domain of ‘X’.”

4) Think about the domain you want to be more competent in, and the core competencies that you wrote down before.
How is it that you can use your core competencies to help you excel in the domain you have in mind?

You might find thinking about this quite illuminating in many different ways.
For instance, you might find that your core competencies show up clearly in business but you do not know how to bridge your business competencies over to your relationship with your spouse.
Or you might find that you are a loving caring parent, but you have no idea how to bridge this competency over into business.

Take your time. Whether you find this task simple or difficult, there is a good deal to learn here.

While not at all simply making things up, you might find that you need to go back and reevaluate your core competencies, to see whether or not you have left out something important.
Or,
You might discover that there is a core competency that you are currently not manifesting in any of your life’s domains, and thus you are struggling.
Or,
This task might seem quite straightforward and clarifying.

5) Develop a clear written statement of intention, which shows how you would like to use your core competencies to help you excel in the domain of your choice.
For instance:
“I want to help to bring about greater harmony and caring within my divided community.”
“I want to foster improvements in productivity and creativity in my workplace.”
“I can set the tone for a more humane workplace.”
“I would like to help other people respect the diverse opinions of others.”
“I want to show my spouse the love I am wanting her to show me.”

Write down a definitive yet concise statement concerning your intention. You might find that this takes a fair bit of trial and error and editing. Take your time, and come out with something that is concise and clear.

6) Now, turn your statement of intention just written, into an “I am” statement.
In order to do this you will:
Make believe you are ALREADY actively achieving your intention, and make a statement about your ongoing achievement in the present tense.
For instance:
“I am bringing greater harmony and love to my family life.”
Or
“I am improving the productivity and creativity in my workplace.”
Or
“I an creating a more humane workplace in my company.”

Please start your statement with the words “I am” and write down your “I am.” statement now.

7) Redevelop a relaxed base state.
Let go of all the thinking you have been doing and check back in with yourself and redevelop your “base state.”

As you sit comfortably, breathe deeply a number of times and move any parts of your body that feel like they want to move. There is no right and wrong way to do this. Just move your head, neck, trunk, arms, and legs, around some, so that all of yourself has the best chance of feeling relaxed and flexible.
Then take a few deep breathes, and slowly come to a place where you are sitting still while feeling the previous movements somehow reverberating through your system.

Take at least two or three minutes to go through this process, and get into a feeling state that pleases you.

8) Once you are feeling relaxed and in rhythm, slowly repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow, relaxed manner, as if you are musing over a great idea.
Take at least three minutes for this. As you continue to breathe deeply, and move as you like, repeat your “I am” statement internally, or out loud if conditions permit.
Repeating your statement out loud, usually adds to the overall power of your words.

Moving, breathing, speaking, all as one activity.

9) Debrief.
Usually this Practice helps people to shift the way they have been thinking and feeling in regard to challenges they are facing. When we start by appreciating our current competencies, and then we move, breathe, think, and speak all as one seamless activity, we tend to shift our emotional state. When we shift our emotional state we tend to shift our perspective and our beliefs about what is possible. Hopefully the same will be true for you. Take some time to feel into and think about what you have learned. You might want to take some notes.

This Practice is designed to teach you how to appreciate and build upon the competencies you already have, to help you excel in areas of your life you would like to be more successful in.

You will want to have a pen and paper handy.
Read through all of the instructions at least once before actually doing the Practice.

1) Develop a relaxed “base” state.
As you sit comfortably, breathe deeply a number of times and move any parts of your body that feel like they want to move. Please really DO this! There is no right and wrong way. Just move your head, neck, trunk, arms, and legs around some, so that all of yourself has the best chance of feeling relaxed and flexible.

Now, take a few deep breathes, and slowly come to a place where you are sitting still while feeling the previous movements still reverberating through your system.

Take at least two or three minutes to go through this entire process, as you get into a feeling state that pleases you.

2) Consider and choose, the core competencies you feel you exhibit in most circumstances in your life.
Some examples of what we mean by “core competencies” are the following:
Well organized; High quality technical skills; Good at making lasting, caring, and or productive relationships; Creative; High quality project management skills (which would include completing tasks on time and on budget); You like to be of service to others; Good at finding the weak points in a project or plan (Good at critiquing); Good at being a supportive team member; Optimistic; Your tendency is to search for what is good for all parties/circumstances concerned; An overriding belief that the “universe” works well for us if we learn how to follow the appropriate principles; You are skilled at understanding the needs and wants of others; You have an uncanny ability to help people live a more productive life; etc.
You can of course consider many different core competencies that are not listed here.

Be generous and kind to yourself, while keeping in mind that “More is definitely not better.”

Write down some sentences expressing your core competencies, similar to the examples above.

3) Pick a domain you would like to feel competent/successful in.
By “domain” we mean a specific “area” of your life. For instance— Family (As a parent, child, or spouse), Career (What career specifically?), Community or Organization (What community or organization?), the Environment (What area in particular), etc.

You can choose either a domain that you have been hesitant to enter, or a domain that you are currently in but not feeling good about the results/relationships you are achieving.

Please write down the domain you would like to be more competent in.

“I would like to be more competent in the domain of ‘X’.”

4) Think about the domain you want to be more competent in, and the core competencies that you wrote down before.
How is it that you can use your core competencies to help you excel in the domain you have in mind?

You might find thinking about this quite illuminating in many different ways.
For instance, you might find that your core competencies show up clearly in business but you do not know how to bridge your business competencies over to your relationship with your spouse.
Or you might find that you are a loving caring parent, but you have no idea how to bridge this competency over into business.

Take your time. Whether you find this task simple or difficult, there is a good deal to learn here.

While not at all simply making things up, you might find that you need to go back and reevaluate your core competencies, to see whether or not you have left out something important.
Or,
You might discover that there is a core competency that you are currently not manifesting in any of your life’s domains, and thus you are struggling.
Or,
This task might seem quite straightforward and clarifying.

5) Develop a clear written statement of intention, which shows how you would like to use your core competencies to help you excel in the domain of your choice.
For instance:
“I want to help to bring about greater harmony and caring within my divided community.”
“I want to foster improvements in productivity and creativity in my workplace.”
“I can set the tone for a more humane workplace.”
“I would like to help other people respect the diverse opinions of others.”
“I want to show my spouse the love I am wanting her to show me.”

Write down a definitive yet concise statement concerning your intention. You might find that this takes a fair bit of trial and error and editing. Take your time, and come out with something that is concise and clear.

6) Now, turn your statement of intention just written, into an “I am” statement.
In order to do this you will:
Make believe you are ALREADY actively achieving your intention, and make a statement about your ongoing achievement in the present tense.
For instance:
“I am bringing greater harmony and love to my family life.”
Or
“I am improving the productivity and creativity in my workplace.”
Or
“I an creating a more humane workplace in my company.”

Please start your statement with the words “I am” and write down your “I am.” statement now.

7) Redevelop a relaxed base state.
Let go of all the thinking you have been doing and check back in with yourself and redevelop your “base state.”

As you sit comfortably, breathe deeply a number of times and move any parts of your body that feel like they want to move. There is no right and wrong way to do this. Just move your head, neck, trunk, arms, and legs, around some, so that all of yourself has the best chance of feeling relaxed and flexible.
Then take a few deep breathes, and slowly come to a place where you are sitting still while feeling the previous movements somehow reverberating through your system.

Take at least two or three minutes to go through this process, and get into a feeling state that pleases you.

8) Once you are feeling relaxed and in rhythm, slowly repeat your “I am” statement to yourself in a slow, relaxed manner, as if you are musing over a great idea.
Take at least three minutes for this. As you continue to breathe deeply, and move as you like, repeat your “I am” statement internally, or out loud if conditions permit.
Repeating your statement out loud, usually adds to the overall power of your words.

Moving, breathing, speaking, all as one activity.

9) Debrief.
Usually this Practice helps people to shift the way they have been thinking and feeling in regard to challenges they are facing. When we start by appreciating our current competencies, and then we move, breathe, think, and speak all as one seamless activity, we tend to shift our emotional state. When we shift our emotional state we tend to shift our perspective and our beliefs about what is possible. Hopefully the same will be true for you. Take some time to feel into and think about what you have learned. You might want to take some notes.

Do nothing (Being vs Doing)

In this Practice you are invited to feel the difference between “being” and “doing.” The difference between exciting the nervous system as a way of preparing for action, and quieting the nervous system as a way of preparing for action. You can experience letting your somatic intelligence take over getting the task done. Trusting in the moment, and trusting in yourself.

This Practice is purely an exploration, and will yield different results for each different person. You can get quite a bit out of this Practice if you really get into exploring, and it is also easy enough to have this Practice completely pass you by if you rush yourself. You can go through the entire process in no more than fifteen minutes, so give yourself the opportunity to learn something new and enjoy yourself!

(If you have experience with Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais you will find that what is presented here works with similar principles. I draw mainly from my Aikido experience in creating this Practice.)

You will need a table, a chair, a small piece of paper or two (three inches or so, square) and some scotch tape.

Sit facing the table with your stomach about twelve inches away from the table.

Fold the paper in half. Then unfold it so the two halves are at ninety degrees from each other. (A basic “L” shape.)

With the fold of the paper held vertically, tape one end of the paper lightly to the side of the table, and the other side will thus stick out at a ninety degree angle from the table, facing towards your belly button. (By “taping lightly” we mean, use just a small amount of tape, and do NOT try and firmly affix the paper to the table.)

As always in Seishindo Practices, you will probably want to read through the instructions once or twice before actually doing what is suggested. Ideally you want to get to the place where you do not need to follow the instructions in order to do the Practice.

As always (again!) the more your do this Practice, the more you will learn, and the more interesting the process will tend to become. It is a learning process that you are engaging in, and your nervous system as well as your intellect needs to take in information and process it differently than usual.

Place your hands one on each leg, near the top of each leg and close by to your stomach. Right hand on your right leg, left hand on your left leg.

Imagine that in a moment you are going to snatch the paper away from the table, as quickly as you can, with either your right or left hand. Simply imagine that you are going to do this.

Can you notice any muscles or nerves starting to twitch? If not, great. If so, also great. Continue to run through cycles of imagining snatching the paper, until you definitely do not have any twitching whatsoever going on. Now once again imagine that you are going to snatch the piece of paper, imagining using the same hand as before.

This time, at some point in your process of imagining, slowly begin to move your hand and arm a small distance towards the paper. Notice which part of your body moves first. Unless you are quite schooled at such activities, you will be initiating your movement using a part of yourself that winds up adding extra tension to the movement.

Let’s say for instance, that you notice that your hand moved first.

This time, after a couple of cycles of just imagining, make a small beginning movement, moving anything but your hand first.

What part of yourself do you begin the movement with this time? Perhaps your elbow?

This time do your imagining for several cycles, and then make your small beginning movement, by beginning with anything but your hand or elbow.

Go through this process at least four or five more times.

If you take your time and run through this Practice a number of times over the next month or so, you will learn a great deal about yourself, and about how you at times create excess tension and anxiety.

You just might get to the point, if you really stay in a “DO nothing” state, that you find your hand reaches for the paper, “on its own”!

But no cheating!

It is also entertaining and educational to do this Practice using your “other” hand.

This Practice can also be a great deal of fun to do with a friend, or with a child. I am sure you can wind up figuring out how to arrange everything so that you each feel you have an equal chance to grab for the paper. Good to have a third person as a referee and starter. The third person shouts go, and then you both grab for the paper and see who gets to it first. This can be great fun indeed, and no matter how “slow” you start out, if you practice doing nothing, you will find that your speed increases.

Let us know what happens for you!

The ebb and flow of life

This Practice is designed to give you a sense of being connected to the natural world, and knowing you are not alone.

Set aside a few minutes and slowly, very slowly, read the words below. As you read, be certain to take some deep breaths where you would normally pause for an instant when reading in a more usual manner.

One of the most important things you can learn in life, is to create a rhythm with your presence, movements, and breathing, that matches the rhythm of nature. This is a lesson that is taught in most if not all martial arts.

Imagine yourself sitting by an ocean. Perhaps on the beach, or perhaps sitting on a dock or jetty.

The ocean is calm today, and you might begin to feel how the rhythms and sounds of the ocean soothe your soul.

As you sit where you are now, imagine the ebb and flow of the ocean, and the sounds of the tide flowing back and forth, pausing and swirling. As the tide comes in, you can consider that the ocean is exhaling. As the tide goes back out, the ocean is inhaling.

You can sense the movement and sounds of the ocean….
And I want you to notice your movements and breathing…..
As you feel yourself going IN… and OUT… of rhythm with this flow.

Feel the life force of the ocean… …
Its gentle power… …
And breathe with the ocean… …

Feel the life force of the ocean, and without doing anything, allow yourself to move with the ocean… …

Breathe, move, and feel your heartbeat… …
Feeling the pulsing of your spirit, and the pulsing of the ocean… …
Inviting your heartbeat to synchronize with the heartbeat of the ocean.

Now you are becoming one with the water, and the fluid inside your body begins to become a tiny powerful ocean that ebbs and flows throughout your system… …

In and out.
Exhale and inhale.
Ebb and flow… …

Now, like the ocean, you can begin to feel the power of flowing without resisting… Flowing without fighting against…

The water surrounds and moves past all obstacles. There is no forcing, and no need for strength.

Only flow… . The power is IN the flow, and each drop of water is pliant and soft…
No one drop of water is powerful on its own…

Sit there now with your ocean, and with yourself…
Feel your power melding with the power of the ocean.
Not separate, but together.
And you can clearly experience that all this power is really One.

Such is your journey.
And I hope that in some small way, when reading these words now, you can feel the power and the presence that resides within yourself.
The one tiny drop of water that you are.
Not separate, but immersed in the flow of the ocean of life.

You might find it enjoyable to reread these words now, and certainly I hope you will return to these words, and the feelings that you generated, in the future.

Opposites Attract

This Practice can help you to have a fuller, more appreciative perception of yourself. It has proven to be a Practice that helps people to feel more at ease with who they are, and takes away the need to label yourself in a manner that is restrictive in nature.

So often in life we state things in “black or white” when often there are many shades of grey. One good way to understand ourselves better is to state both sides of a seemingly black and white statement.

As always, please read through all of the instructions at least once before actually doing this Practice. You will want either a piece of paper or your computer handy to write down your “answers.”

1. Write down at least three personal qualities you have which you feel good about. For instance:

I am friendly.
I am a caring person.
I am hard working.

2. Now add to each one of these statements an “alternative reality” which takes into account particular instances when you are different. In other words state a time when the OPPOSITE of each statement is ALSO true.

For instance:
I am friendly in social settings, and sometimes I can also be distant if I am in new surroundings.
I am a caring person with family and friends, but I can also sometimes be cold and uncaring in business.
I am hard working, and still at times I would prefer to just have fun instead.

3. Now reverse the order of these statements, and when necessary change the wording some as well. You might likely find that changing the order of the statements changes your perception of yourself.

For instance:
I am sometimes distant with people, and I am also quite friendly at other times.
In business I can sometimes be uncaring, while I am a loving parent and friend.
I like to have fun, and I am also hard working.

The idea here being to get away from labeling yourself as “one kind” of person, and not the other kind. Most of us show a wide range of behaviors and abilities depending on the circumstances, and it is good to take in the full range of who we are and how we “sometimes” act. The term “sometimes” is important to note here. We rarely if ever exhibit the same qualities “all of the time.” There is no reason to have to be “one type of person OR the other” when in reality we tend to be “both” over the course of time. When we state “I am friendly.” Or “I am a caring person.” this makes it seem like we are ALWAYS like that, and thus we will tend to confuse ourselves when we run up against the times when we are different. You will likely find that it is better to consider yourself “either or” depending on the circumstances.

4. List at least three personal qualities you have which do not please you.

For instance:
I am depressive.
I am insecure.
I am frightened about my future.

When you write down your phrases, do you see how these phrases seem to have a finality to them? Don’t they tend to read in an “all or nothing” manner?

5. Now add the alternative reality for each statement, including different contexts as an important part of your statement. You want to be able to acknowledge when the opposite of your original statement is also true.

For instance:
I am depressive at times, and I can also be upbeat when I am with friends.
I am insecure in personal relationships, and I am confident in work situations.
I am frightened about my future and I also have a lot of exciting dreams.
6. Now reverse the order of these statements, and when necessary change the wording some as well. Once again, you might likely find that changing the order of the statements changes your perception of yourself.

For instance:
I am upbeat when around friends, and at other times I can be depressive.
I am confident at work, and insecure when it comes to personal relationships.
I have a lot of exciting dreams and at the same time I can often be frightened.

7. You now have four groupings of “dual” statements from Steps 2 and 3 and 5 and 6.
Group these statements so that you can easily read all of them.

Now take a couple of deep breaths and check your posture so that you feel open and aware.

SLOWLY state each dual statement one by one, and take two deep breaths in between each statement.

When done take a few more deep breaths and notice the sounds, sights and physical sensations that you feel.

Reflect on what you have learned.
In the future you might find it helpful to consider the full range of your behaviors/qualities rather than locking in on only one aspect of yourself.

Connecting and extending out into the world

This Practice is meant to help you further develop your sense of being connected to other life forms in the world. Friends, allies, enemies, colleagues, loved ones, family members, people with similar interests and concerns, animals, nature, art.

When we feel connected we tend to feel more empowered and more at ease.
When we feel connected to the rest of the web of life, we have a clear sense of “having help.”
When we feel connected we know that truly, we are never all alone.

* * *

Sit quietly on a straight backed chair, in a quiet space.

Breathe deeply.

Sit with your back straight but relaxed, and with your feet flat on the floor, and your hands resting gently on each leg.

Make sure to do this Practice SLOWLY…!

Breathe deeply several times.

Say the following to yourself (It is great to say it out loud if the situation allows.)

1. “I hear……… “(Name whatever sounds you hear in your local environment.)
Take two deep breaths. .

“I see……….” (Name whatever you notice visually. Colors, objects, movements, etc.)
Take two deep breaths.

“I feel…….” (Name whatever bodily sensations your are aware of. [heat in your hands or chest, an itching sensation, the beating of your heart, the clothing on your body, etc.] Be certain to take your time in doing so.)
Take two deep breaths.

Now, say the following:
2. “I am connected to “A” (Name a person, pet, a piece of music, or other art, an aspect of the natural environment, a company or organization)………..”
For example, “I am connected to my wife.”

Take two deep breaths.

3. “And being connected to “A” leads me to be connected (feel connected) to “B”.”
For example, “And being connected to my wife leads me to feel connected to my daughter.”

Take two deep breaths.

4. “And being connected to “B”, leads me to be connected/feel connected to “C”.”
For example, “Being connected to my daughter leads me to feel connected to my own inner child.”

Take two deep breaths

5. And being connected to “C” leads me to be connected/feel connected to “D”.”
For example, “Being connected to my own inner child leads me to feel connected to a sense of wonder.”

Breathe deeply three times.

Now say:
6. “I hear……… “(Once again, name whatever sounds you hear in your local environment.)
Take two deep breaths

“I see……….” (Name whatever you notice visually. Colors, objects, movements, etc.)
Take two deep breaths

“I feel…….” (Name whatever bodily sensations you are aware of, and be certain to take you time in doing so.)

Take two deep breaths

Now, name a new set of connections you are feeling:
7. “I am connected/feel connected to “E”.
For example: “I am connected to the music of Diana Krall.”

Take two deep breaths.

8. “And being connected to “E” leads me to be connected (feel connected) to “F”.”
For example: “Feeling connected to the music of Diana Krall, leads me to feel connected to being in love.”

Take two deep breaths

9. “And being connected to “F” leads me to be connected/feel connected to “G”.”
For example: “Feeling connected to being in love, leads me to be connected to how painful a broken heart can be.”

Take two deep breaths

10. And being connected to “G” leads me to be connected/feel connected to “H”.”
For example: “Being connected to the feeling of a broken heart, connects me the feeling of hope I have when watching an early morning sunrise.”
Breathe deeply three times.

Repeat this process twice more. You can do so by simply cycling back up to the top of the page.

* * *
Once you are done it is great to take a few minutes to think about the experience you had.
You might want to do a bit of journaling.

Today…

This is a simple yet profound Practice that follows the Seishindo principles of Absorption, Utilization, and Balance.

  • Absorb your challenge as you breathe it in and think about it.
  • Utilize the energy that your challenge generates in you. The more important or seemingly difficult your challenge, the more your system will be energized.
  • Remain emotionally balanced and look at all the sides and possibilities of your challenge.

Instead of being fearful and limiting what you are capable of by only dwelling on the negative side of a particular situation or relationship, this Practice invites you to explore all sides of your challenge in a balanced manner, making the possibility of success more likely.

As always the key here is to take your time, speak slowly, breathe deeply, and pause between sentences.
Keep each sentence short and concise. This is important. Long sentences lead to sloppy thinking and getting lost.

You are to speak each sentence out loud if you are in a space that allows for this.
It can often be helpful to repeat this process for several rounds, letting your words change as you go along.

Today, the challenge I face is………… .
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly.

Today, my weakness in this regard is ………… .
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Look around at your surroundings as you sit quietly.

Today, my strength in this regard is …………… .
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Listen to your surroundings as you sit quietly.

Today, my hope in this regard is …………… .
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly.

Today, my fear in this regard is ………… .
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Look around at your surroundings as you sit quietly.

Today, the help that I can call on is ……….
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Listen to your surroundings as you sit quietly.

If I successfully face this challenge I will ………… .
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly.

Today, I know that I can face my challenge again tomorrow, with courage and creativity.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly.

Today, I can rest in the grace of the world and be free.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly.

Jazz Chanting

It is a fairly new Seishindo Practice and my clients and myself have been finding it to be particularly enjoyable, and effective in helping to bring about a change in the way we approach what we perceive to be “problems.”

1. State your “problem” or what you want to be able to accomplish.

If you are stating what you consider to be your problem you might say for instance “I have difficulty getting up in the morning.”
If on the other hand you state what you would like to accomplish you might say, “I would like to get up on time each morning, and feel fine when I get up.”

2. Create an “I am” statement.

You do this by making believe you have already achieved the outcome you desire, and making a statement that signifies this.

“I am getting up on time every morning, and feeling great.”
Within reason, keep your statement as short as possible.

3. Write down in very brief form what seems to hinder you from achieving your goal.

For instance: “I can’t get to sleep at night.” “I have too many worries.” “My baby wakes me up numerous times each night.” “I am just a natural night owl.”

4. Write down what it is about your nature/character, and or life circumstances that can help you to achieve your goal.

For instance: “I have a strong interest in self improvement.” “I have a tremendous amount that I want to achieve in my life.” “I hate feeling stuck or addicted.” “My partner gets up early and I want to share more of my life with him.”

5. Choose some music that is calming, and play it in the background. Usually it is best to have music without lyrics, but music with lyrics can also be fine.

6. Take all that you have written so far and place it on a large piece of paper. Usually I disperse the statements like you will see me doing below.

You might also want to somehow bold certain words to make them stand out, or use different colored felt tip markers.

“I have difficulty getting up in the morning.” “I am getting up on time every morning, and feeling great.” “I can’t get to sleep at night.” “I have a strong interest in self improvement.”
“I have too many worries.” “I have a tremendous amount that I want to achieve in my life.”

My baby wakes me up numerous times each night.” “My partner gets up early and I want to share more of my life with him.” “I am just a natural nighttime person.”

“I hate feeling stuck or addicted.”

7. Create an improvisational jazz chant for yourself.

With your soothing music playing in the background, create a free form improvisational chant, and chant for at least ten minutes.

You want to make sure that you have free time, and you will not be interrupted, and I would strongly suggest that you set an alarm clock if one is available, so that you do not have to check the clock to see if your time is up. Ten minutes would be great, but if you find this too challenging then start out with five minutes.

Before you begin your chanting you want to make sure you are seated comfortably. If you are sitting on a chair, please sit towards the front of the chair and do not lean back against the back of the chair. Take several deep breaths before beginning, and notice whatever rocking motions (if any) your body has at this time.

When you are ready, begin your chanting.

There are an endless number of ways to do the chanting. Usually I would start out by reading through the above text with bolding, once or twice, slowly, with pausing, and taking some deep breaths. After I have done this I would start improvising from there. I will write a few possible improvisations below, for the instance of someone having trouble getting up in the morning.

“Getting up in the morning……..with my partner…….getting up on time……..even though I can’t sometimes sleep at night……..My baby, my partner……sharing more of my life……a natural nighttime person……..I have difficulties……..too many worries………to stay awake at night…….I have a tremendous amount…….Strong interest………strong worries……..strong desire to change……..addicted feeling, feeling stuck………at night……in the morning…..all of the time………getting up in the morning…….

Like any of the other Practices, it might take you a few run throughs before you feel like you get the hang of it, but please do give it a shot, because many people find this Practice to be especially beneficial.

I was doing this Practice recently and I had a concern about following through with certain ideas, rather than flitting from one idea to another. I was doing the Practice as outlined above, and suddenly a thought and an image came to me in an aesthetic fashion. I saw myself sitting by a small river rapids, watching how the water, over time, ate away at the rocks below, and then these words came to me:

Dripping water,
On the surface of a rock,
Penetrates deeply over time.

This poetic statement felt really right to me, and I switched from my other chanting to mainly just slowly repeating this refrain.

I offer this as an encouragement to let your creative spirit soar when doing such Practices!

Who am I? Who are You?

This Practice is quite simple and straightforward. At the same time you can find it to be a Practice that helps you to shift your perception of “self” and “other”, and thus your sense of being in the world.

You can benefit from this Practice many different times during the course of your life. Do it for one five day round, and then do it again at other times whenever you have the desire to do so.

One of the best ways to do this Practice is to create a “prompt” to remind yourself to ask yourself the various questions that are suggested. You can place a card or object in your change pocket that you will notice several times a day when you go to buy something; you can place a card on your desk at work with a question mark on it; you can set some alarms on your computer, and you can place a question mark on the mirror that you look into in the morning. Anything that will help you to remember numerous times a day, to ask yourself the question for the day.

Day One. “Who am I?”

Numerous times during the course of the day, ask yourself “Who am I?” (It is great to ask the question out loud if the situation allows, but asking this question internally is also quite fine.)

Please do not attempt to actively answer the question, but instead, simply ask it in an inquisitive manner. Somewhat in the same frame of mind as asking yourself “I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow?” Or, “I wonder who will win the upcoming election?” I often ask myself the question several times in a row, one right after the other, and then I simply let the question reverberate in my mind for a while.

Day Two. “Who is (he) (she)?”

Pick someone that you have a meaningful relationship with and want to be able to better understand with your heart. Numerous times during the day ask yourself “Who is Jane?” or “Who is Tom?” (Filling in the name of the appropriate person.) Usually I suggest that you ask the question in regard to only one person, but you can do otherwise if you are really drawn to. Asking about one person one time, and another person the next time.

At the end of the day, take some time to write down your thoughts.

Day Three. “Who are ‘we’?”

Today, you are meant to think about yourself and the person you were contemplating yesterday, and wonder about yourselves as “a relationship”. The relationship can be a business relationship, a marriage, a friendship, etc.
For instance, “Who are Betty and I as a couple?” “Who are Bill and I as business partners?” “Who are Marina and I as parent and child?”
Ask yourself your question, numerous times during the day, without attempting to come up with answers.

Day Four. “Who are ‘they’?”

At this stage you have considered yourself, a significant other person as an individual, and your significant other in relationship without yourself. Now you are meant to take a look at the rest of the world.
You can let your question be just as it is above, “Who are ‘they’?” or you can of course customize your question. “Who are our customers?” “Who are our clients?” “Who are our neighbors?” “Who are the terrorists?”

At the end of the day, take some time to write down your thoughts.

Day Five. “Who am I?”

Today you return to the same activity as the first day, after having had the chance to contemplate who and how you are in the world.

Numerous times during the course of the day, ask yourself “Who am I?”

At the end of the day, take some time to write down your thoughts, AND today, take some time to contemplate what you have learned over the course of the last five days. You will likely want to re-read the thoughts you have written down over the course of the week.

* * *

I have done this Practice many times over the years, and I always find that I learn something new each time.

Self-regulating Steady States

This Practice can give you a first hand experience of how you can use your own personal speed governor to regulate the overall speed of your system. Coming in touch with “too much and too little” will help you to find the Goldilocks place of “juusst right.”

In Seishindo workshops we usually work with people sitting on large rubber physiotherapy balls. Use a ball for this Practice if you have one. If not simply sit on a regular chair. Sit approximately half as far back on the chair as you usually would when resting against the back of the chair.

Read through the instructions once or twice or more before actually doing the Practice. You will usually get the best results once you are able to do the Practice without needing to read the instructions as you perform.

1. Bounce you torso up and down in small but energetic bounces. There is no need to have your butt leave the chair or ball, but small energetic bounces are what you want.

As you bounce quickly, slowly and deeply breathe in and out. Continue bouncing and breathe in and out slowly and deeply for a second round.

2. On your third round of bouncing and breathing, inhale and then hold you breath as you continue to bounce. Don’t overdo it, but hold your breath as you bounce until you feel like you really need to let it go quickly, and then do so.

3. Perform step 1. again, and this time on the third round of breathing, fully exhale and hold your breath when you reach the end of your exhale. Continue bouncing, and just like before, don’t overdo it, but hold your breath as you bounce until you feel like you really need to all of a sudden breathe in, and then do so.

4. Sit up straight, and sit calmly for one full minute, breathe as you like, while noticing the feeling of your body, and your surroundings.

5. Now slump over a good amount and sit in a slumped, passive posture. As you sit there slumped over count from one to fifteen as you blink your eyes to each count. Count slowly in the following fashion, “One thousand one (blink), One thousand two (blink), One thousand three (blink).” Two counts for an inhale, and two counts for an exhale.

6. When you reach “16” keep your eyes shut inhale fully and hold your breath as before, until you feel a strong need to exhale. As you exhale open your eyes.

7. Stay slumped and run through the same pattern from 1-16, but this time when you reach 16, keep your eyes shut, exhale fully and hold your breath as before, until you feel a strong desire to inhale. As you inhale open your eyes.

8. Sit up straight, and sit calmly for one full minute, breathe as you like, while noticing the feeling of your body, and your surroundings.

9. Sitting up straight, bob your head two times towards your left shoulder as if you were very lightly trying to touch your left ear to your left shoulder (as you count internally “1, 2”) and then bob your head two times towards your right shoulder as if you were very lightly trying to touch your right ear to your right shoulder, (as you count internally “3, 4”). As you head bobs to the left and you count “1, 2” you inhale. As your head bobs to the right and you count “3, 4” you exhale. Be certain to continue to sit straight as you do this.

Continue with “5, 6” to the left again, then “7, 8” to the right, breathing all the while, and continuing all the way until you go back and forth and reach “15, 16”.

10. Sit up straight, and sit calmly for one full minute, breathe as you like, while noticing the feeling of your body, and your surroundings.

11. Now bob your head and touch your chin twice to your chest, as you count “1, 2” and inhale. Then bob your head back being careful to stay within your range of comfort, as if you were lightly trying to touch the top back of your head to your spine, and you count “3, 4” and exhale. Bobbing back towards your chest with the count of “5, 6” and you inhale. Bobbing back towards you back with an exhale and the count of “7, 8”. Continue all the way through until “15, 16”.

12. Sit up straight, and sit calmly for one full minute, breathe as you like, while noticing the feeling of your body, and your surroundings.

13. Briskly turn your head twice to the left as if you were wanting to look over your left shoulder, as you inhale and count “1, 2”. Then briskly turn your head twice to the right as you exhale and count “3, 4”. Continue back and forth until you reach “15, 16”.

14. Sit up straight, and sit calmly for one full minute, breathe as you like, while noticing the feeling of your body, and your surroundings.

For each person this experience will be different.

If you are feeling in a calm, relaxed “steady state” rejoice in the feeling.
If not that is also fine, because it gives you the opportunity to cycle through any or all of the above protocol again.

Eventually more or less, depending on where you start from, you will reach a steady state for today, and then you can do it all over again tomorrow and reach another steady state.

The experience is in the Practice, not in reaching a state of completion.
Cycle through this Practice over and over again, for a long time to come.

Two of Everything

Most people find this exercise to be a great warm-up for getting their creative juices flowing.

Have a seat and get comfortable. Sit in a straight backed chair. Sit up straight towards the front of the chair, and take a couple of deep breaths.

Take a moment and think about how many different parts of you act as one half of a team. How many different pairs of organs and parts you have. How many different relationships.

You have left and right hemisphere in your brain, two eyes, two ears, two shoulders, two lungs, two kidneys, etc. etc. etc. all the way down to your two big toes. Seems that perhaps God had an interest in symmetry, relationships, and perhaps in allowing for a certain amount of redundancy. If the right eye is injured we still can use our left eye. If the left kidney is not working so well, we still have the right kidney. Take a moment and think about the numerous symmetrical pairs that I have not named and see if you can feel each pair as you name them.

Take a couple of deep breaths.

This time around feel each pair as best you can, as you name them. Feel your two eyes as you name them. Perhaps blinking your eyes some will help. Does you vision seem the same out of each eye? How do you feel and how do you see when you blink your eyes some?

Take a deep breath.

Feel both nostrils as you perhaps flare them.

Take a deep breath.

Move both shoulders around and feel the dynamic muscle tension in each shoulder.

Take a deep breath.

Can you feel the action of both lungs filling up with air?

Do you have any sense of both your kidneys?

Or your adrenal glands sitting on top of each kidney?

Take a deep breath.

Feel your left buttocks and your right buttocks. Squeeze each side intermittently and squeeze each side at the same time.

As a male feel both of your gonads. As a female, can you feel both of your ovaries?

Take two deep breaths and let your eyes gaze out into the distance, and then look back at this document when you are ready.

What is the one body part around which most if not all of these different pairs are organized?

For me, I would call the middle point of all this symmetry your spine. Take a full minute and feel your spine beginning at the bottom of your skull, moving down through your neck and then all the way down into your coccyx.

Take a couple of deep breaths.

Now see if you can feel your spine at the same time that you feel some of your different pairs.Your two ears and your spine. Your two breasts and your spine. The two sides of your rib cage and your spine. And other pairs as well………..

Take two deep breaths.

Now take some time and explore both of your hands. Look at both hands and notice how they are different and the same. Look at both thumbs and notice how they are different and the same.

Take a deep breath.

Notice the palms of both hands and how the lines on both palms are different and the same. How the coloration of both palms is most likely somewhat different.

Take a deep breath.

Notice the webbing between each pari of fingers. You might wonder why the thumb is at such a different height than your other fingers. What would your hand be like if the thumb was right up there next to your other fingers?

Take two deep breaths.

Now, clasp your hands together and more both hands around as an intimate pair. Let each hand squeeze the other. Let each hand feel each other. Let each hand know that it has a partner. You can also move your two hands together as if you were washing them.

Take a couple of deep breaths.

Take a moment and think of something that you would like to be more creative in regard to. Your relationship with another person, your relationship with yourself in regard to how you sometimes talk to yourself when you are upset, your relationship with a child or other loved one, your relationship to money, sex, or career success.

Take a deep breath and choose just one relationship that you would like to be more at ease with.

Take a moment and think about how if we choose to, we can frame everything we want to somehow change, as being one part of a relationship.

Take a deep breath.
Consider how you might use “the other half” of a relationship to help you to achieve what one part of you desires.

Take a deep breath.

Think about how one part of you (perhaps your logical self) wants to achieve a certain goal, while another part of yourself which you perhaps cannot name, seems to not want you to achieve your goal, or seems somehow frightened or holding back.

Take two deep breaths.

Holding your two hands lightly together as they sit on your lap, meditate on how you can work more in relationship with yourself or others in order to achieve greater satisfaction in your life. Take at least a couple of minutes for this………………..
Really.

Your mind might have wandered to many different places, or you might have thought of things that seemed to have nothing to do with the task at hand. This is quite likely in fact because the first sign of creativity is a wandering mind, and the second sign of creativity is when we begin to allow ourselves to relate one issue to another seemingly unrelated issue. Thinking in metaphors is a great sign that you are being creative.

Take a couple of deep breaths.

With so many different people reading this exercise, and so many of you whom I have never met, I am certainly not going to predict the results you achieve.

What I will say is that if you follow this method you will likely find that at the very least, you have a very different relationship to the concern that you have been wanting to be more creative about. This is the first step. This is a great beginning. Please explore with this exercise numerous times in the future.

What is natural, what is not?

This exercise is a thought experiment.
In order to understand more about one’s own life, it can be helpful to explore how we define terms like “life” “living” “natural” “nature” and “man made.” By understanding more about what we consider and feel to be “live” we might come in touch more with the life within ourselves.

Please do take the time to ponder the questions asked. If you only read through this thought experiment it will have little value for you.

Assume for the time being, that you come from Mars, or some other distant place, and that you know nothing at all about life on earth.
You are given a long winded explanation about how to discern what is man made and what is natural. You say that you feel like you have some reasonable idea as to which is meant to be which.

You are then shown a conch shell and some children’s “Silly Putty” and asked which one has been created by the intelligence of man and which one has been created by the intelligence of evolution.
Which one will you say is which? Why?

Next you are shown some “Silly Putty” and some mud. Which will you say is natural, which is man made?

Which one will you say is which when shown a brand new Sony robot and a seventy year old human being? Why?

Which one will you say is which when you listen to the sounds of a thunderstorm and the sounds of a heavy metal music group from the 60’s? Why?

You will be taken to a wildlife area and watch a lion hunt, kill, and eat his prey. Afterwards you will be taken to a war torn area where you will watch human beings kill each other. Which scene will you say is natural? Why?

Finally, you will look at yourself in a mirror. Man made or natural?
Perhaps both?

Active Dreaming

This Active Dreaming will take you about 30-45 minutes to explore. The first time around you are advised to read through all of Level 1 (Steps 1-8) once or twice before beginning, so you feel confident you know what to do. Level 2 on the other hand, can be gone through step by step as you read the instructions.

So, once you feel like you understand all of the activities of Level 1, please begin.

Next, you will proceed to do the remaining instructions step-by-step.

Active Dreaming is the kind of activity that you may find useful over and over again in many different circumstances. Feel free to take it with you wherever you go.

Level 1

1) Take a moment or two and think about something in your life that you have been wanting to understand or change in some form or fashion. Choose something that relates to and involves yourself personally.

2) Make an “I am” statement.

State what it is you are wanting to accomplish, as if you had already accomplished your goal.

If your intention is to learn Japanese then your “I am” statement would be something like:
“I am enjoying learning Japanese.”

If you wanted to be a better parent you might say:
“I am a loving and concerned parent.”

If you wanted to lose weight:
“I feel good about my body.”

The shorter the statement the better!

3) When you are ready, clearly make your “I am” statement out loud, so that you can hear what it sounds like. Be certain that your statement is worded in positive terms and in an active present tense. Saying “I don’t want to be so harsh any more” is stating your intention in negative (don’t) terms, and it also signifies that you are not actively performing your intention in the present. In this instance you would do much better to state your desired state as if you had already achieved it – “I am pleasant and supportive with others.”

[Think of it this way: Whatever you say has a tendency to create corresponding pictures in your mind, and these pictures will induce certain feelings and bodily changes, and further internal dialogue. The pictures that you are being asked to create with your use of words, should not contain elements of the undesirable state. So for instance… If you say, “I am no longer overeating” you will still somehow in some way see and feel yourself overweight and/or overeating. You will have a very different image in your mind’s eye if you say “I am maintaining an attractive and healthy body weight and feeling good about myself.”]

4) Start to slowly repeat your “I am” statement over and over again internally as you begin to take a walk around. For instance: “I am enjoying learning Japanese.” If possible, I would suggest walking around outside, unless you have a rather large building to walk around in.

5) In walking around it is important that for most if not all of your walking you walk slowly and calmly. It is also important that you continue to repeat your “I am” statement as internal dialogue, in a slow relaxed manner

Let yourself wander around aimlessly. You will want to walk around for at least 10 or 15 minutes. For many people the larger the space they have to walk around in the more interesting the results.

Be sure to allow yourself a full range of awareness.

Needless to say, seeing what is around you will give way to various thinking. Thoughts of various kinds might also come into your awareness based on what you smell, hear, or touch. Changing your position (from standing up to lying down), spinning around in slow circles, and/or tensing up your body, would also have a marked effect on what you experience. Whatever you wind up doing, simply be aware, AND continue to slowly repeat your “I am” statement, over and over again.

6) As you walk around you will almost certainly find that your mind wanders away from your “I am” statement. This is fine. Come back to your “I am” statement as soon as you notice that your mind has wandered. Please do not allow yourself the luxury of getting caught up in other thoughts.

7) As you walk around (keep a paper and pencil handy in your pocket), notice anything in the environment or about yourself, that grabs your attention. If you can do so easily (in the case of a stick, a flower, a piece of food etc.) pick up the thing that attracts you and bring it along with you. If this is not possible then jot down what it is that has captured your attention and then quickly go back to repeating your “I am” statement. (“I am enjoying learning Japanese.”).

8) When you feel complete, and at least 10 or 15 minutes have elapsed, return back to where you are now, and begin Level 2 of your Active Dreaming.

You might want to read through steps 1-8 a second time before proceeding, so you are confident of what it is you will be doing, and then begin when you are ready.

Please stop your reading of the instructions here.

Level 2

You have now returned back to the place where you will continue your Active Dreaming. Please now accomplish each step one by one, without needing to read ahead.

9) Set down the item(s) that you have brought back with you (if any).

If you were unable to bring anything back with you, then make a simple drawing of the thing(s) and or context that grabbed your attention. Simply having the name of what interested you written down, is not quite enough. It is not at all important whether or not you are currently adept at drawing. The important thing is that you represent your idea of something in other than words. Having 2 items and 1 drawing etc. is also fine.

10) Take at least two minutes and look at the item(s) and or drawing(s), while you breathe slowly. Initiate the breathing from your stomach area, and let whatever thoughts you have just float by as you “only look” at what is in front of you.

Make some simple notes.

11) Think about what it is (concerning the objects, sounds, and/or drawings etc. that you brought back with you) that grabbed your attention initially (when you first saw, heard and or felt them).

Make some simple notations.

12) State what it is about the item(s), sound(s), drawing(s) that grabs your attention now as you look at them. You might have some new ideas from the last step, or you might not.

Once again, make some notes.

13) Take at least another full minute, and once again look at the item(s) and or drawing(s), while you breathe slowly. Initiate the breathing from your stomach area, and let whatever thoughts you have just float by as you “only look” at what is in front of you.

14) Now state how it is specifically that the objects that you have before you seem to relate to both a) Your “I am” statement, and b) Yourself.

One excellent way to do this is to create a metaphor or story based upon the objects your brought back and what you noticed.

For instance: In thinking about enjoying learning Japanese I saw an old abandoned shoe and I realized how comfortable an old shoe can be and how I am feeling really comfortable with my Japanese language ability………”

15) Take another moment or two to take a few breaths originating from your stomach, and then think about your reactions to this exercise.

Make some terse notes.

What have you learned?

Did you not find it interesting to experience how your mind seemed to “self select” objects, thoughts, feelings, that somehow “matched” your “I am” statement?

Active Dreaming is useful in a wide range of human activities.

Making believe that you have already solved a certain situation and noticing your thoughts and reactions when you are in this “I am” state will usually yield very different results than musing over the solving of the problem.

Lots of new ideas usually come out of a session like this. Ideas that people had never even “dreamed” of.

Lucky or Unlucky?

Take a few moments when you are in a quiet space, to note down four times/events/relationships in your life that were seemingly very important at the time of occurrence. Best to choose “two and two” meaning two times that you felt lucky or blessed, and two times when you felt unlucky, or cursed.

Place these four events in the following order:
Lucky-Unlucky-Lucky-Unlucky. Now think of the first event and do whatever works for you to revivify your memory. For most folks I would suggest closing one’s eyes while doing this, but this is not crucial. As you revivify your memory, notice what you feel and don’t feel in your body, and notice your breathing, posture, and tiny rocking movements if any. Carry on until you feel like you have been able to notice your somatic memory of the experience, along with the visual and auditory components of your memory.

Open your eyes and take some terse notes about what you noticed in regard to your breathing, posture, tiny rocking movements, and any other parts of your somatic experience. When you are done with your notetaking, takea deep breath, and move around some until you feel like you have come back to “neutral.”

When ready, do the above again alternately with the three remaining memories (Unlucky, Lucky, Unlucky). Again, in each instance when done, note your somatic experience in detail, and then shake out and come to neutral.

If you are able to follow this kind of process with any success, you should definitely notice that a number of physical/somatic variables are different depending on which type of memory you are revivifying, “lucky or unlucky”. If indeed you can notice the differences, over the course of time you can experiment with changing the physical variables of your memories in order to change the way you feel about your past experiences. The theory being: If you significantly change the way you use your body when thinking about, remembering, or taking part in, specific experiences, you will significantly change the quality of your experience, and how you feel about what transpires. This can turn out to be quite a powerful learning.

And no matter what, if you look back at times that you initially thought were quite horrible or devastating, isn’t it true that most of these events, over the course of time, did not turn out to be nearly as devastating as you initially felt they were? Certainly this has been my experience.

Only Don’t Know

This practice is designed to help you dissolve your usual sense of “knowing” about the world you live in and who you are. It can help you to open up to new ways of thinking and perceiving, and assist you in creating the future you want to work towards fulfilling.

You will most likely want to read through all of the instructions at least once before actually doing this practice.

I developed this practice from the Zen teaching of Seung Sahn. You might find this practice to be somewhat the opposite of exercises that you have tried in the past. Please be open to experimenting and discovering. This practice is designed to help us dissolve our usual sense of “knowing” in order to help us open up to the possibilities of learning something new.

Now make some of the following statements (once again, out loud if suitable), feeling free to improvise with whatever YOU are drawn to feel and say:
“I don’t know if I am successful or not.”
Take a deep breath.
“I don’t know if I am good looking or not.”
Take a deep breath.
“I don’t know exactly where my life is leading me.”
Take a deep breath.
“I don’t know who I really am.”
Take a deep breath.
“I don’t know many things that I would like to know.”
Take a deep breath.
“I don’t know what I don’t know.
Take a deep breath.
“I don’t know what I do know.”
Take a deep breath.

As you feel into the sensations of your breathing as well as all of the sensations in your body, know that “not knowing” and “not fully understanding” is an essential part of the human condition.

Take a few deep breaths and sit calmly for a minute or two, as you feel deeply into your true human self…… .
Really do take this time.
The idea being, to become comfortable with “not knowing” while appreciating yourself fully, and accepting that there is so much that you do not know.

When you are ready, make some notes about what “not knowing” is teaching you.

During the course of the next two weeks repeat this practice numerous times. You might particularly want to do this practice when you are feeling upset, confused, or despondent. It is likely that you will find this exercise to be quite liberating.
Give yourself some time to think about how you can find a sense of calmness amidst all of the ongoing changes in life that you do not fully understand. Rather than attempting to rush into an action or an answer, take a moment to breathe into a sense of feeling yourself fully in the moment.

If for some reason this practice proves a bit more difficult than you were planning on, you can try again later. Sometimes when we are in the process of learning something new, we find that what we have learned in the past impedes us from learning something new in the moment.

The Gift of Forgiveness

This is a simple yet profound Practice. If you have been following and experimenting with our other Practices along the way, you might notice that today’s Practice has a very similar structure to two other Practices. These three Practices (“Today …”, “Today, my anger is about …, and ) follow a particular structure for meaningful personal dialogue that I have uncovered over the years. Little by little, absorb this structure into your bones, and then start creating your own Practices, based on different concerns!

This Practice follows the Seishindo principles of Absorption, Utilization, and Balance.

  • Absorb your upset feelings as you inhale, and feel what is there for you.
  • Utilize your upsetness to help generate forgiveness.
  • Remain emotionally balanced as you feel a wider range of your emotions

Instead of so often feeling angry or resentful and limiting what you are capable of feeling and appreciating, this Practice invites you to use the energy that builds up due to your anger or resentment, as the catalyst for generating forgiveness. The more you are able to feel anger or resentment while not fully giving into it and losing yourself, the more you will be able to enter onto a path of forgiveness.

As always the key here is to take your time, speak slowly, breathe deeply, and pause between sentences.

Keep each sentence short and concise. This is important. Long sentences lead to sloppy thinking and getting lost.

You are to speak each sentence out loud if you are in a space that allows for this.

It can often be helpful to repeat this process for several rounds in one sitting, letting your words change as you go along.

You might want to read through this Practice at least once, before actually beginning.

Choices:

In general, you can:
Choose between using and working with the concept of “anger” or “resentment” for each statement that you read below.

Or, alternate between using “anger” for one statement, and “resentment” for the next statement.

Or, use both terms at the same time, “My anger and resentment……”

It is totally up to you.

If your sense of anger or resentment is strong, you might likely have to do this Practice a number of times before you are able to fully agree with what you are saying. This is often an important part of the process. If necessary, please do give yourself the opportunity to speak the words while still feeling a bit out of alignment with what you are saying. This is part of opening up to the gift of forgiveness.

Today, I am feeling into my relationship with … … . (Name a person or situation that is troublesome)
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Today, I am feeling into my anger (resentment) in this regard.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly.

Today, in feeling my anger(resentment), I realize that I am missing out on the opportunity to experience the blessing of serenity.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Look around at your surroundings as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that beyond my anger(resentment), I would also like to feel a sense of deep inner calm.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Listen to your surroundings as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that I can help improve my overall emotional response to life, by giving myself the gift of forgiveness.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that I would like to exchange my anger(resentment) for a sense of peace and calm.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Look around at your surroundings as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that feeling a sense of forgiveness, leads to feeling calm, and at peace with myself.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Listen to your surroundings as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that I can breathe in anger(resentment), and breathe out forgiveness and compassion.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply In AND Out, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Today, I know that I can face my anger(resentment) again tomorrow, with a sense of serenity.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Today, I can rest in the grace of the world and be free.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Today, my anger is about …

This is a simple yet profound Practice that follows the Seishindo principles of Absorption, Utilization, and Balance.

  • Absorb your anger as you breathe it in and feel it.
  • Utilize the energy that your anger generates in you. The more consuming or seemingly overwhelming your anger, the more your system will be energized.
  • Remain emotionally balanced and look at all the sides and possibilities of your anger.

Instead of being only angry and limiting what you are capable of feeling, and thus limiting your ability to resolve your emotional reaction, this Practice invites you to explore the entire range of your emotions. The more you are able to feel the entire range of your emotions, the more emotionally balanced you will feel.

As always the key here is to take your time, speak slowly, breathe deeply, and pause between sentences.
Keep each sentence short and concise. This is important. Long sentences lead to sloppy thinking and getting lost.

You are to speak each sentence out loud if you are in a space that allows for this.

It can often be helpful to repeat this process for several rounds in one sitting, letting your words change as you go along.

You might want to read through this Practice at least once, before actually beginning.

Today, my anger is about …………..
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly.

Today, in feeling my anger, I realize that I am missing out on the opportunity to feel …………
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Look around at your surroundings as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that beyond my anger, I also feel ……………
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Listen to your surroundings as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that I can support myself and my anger better, by realizing that my anger is connected to my feeling of ……………
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that what I would like to feel in the place of anger is …………..
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Look around at your surroundings as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that feeling peace and calm is a wonderful experience.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Listen to your surroundings as you sit quietly

Today, I realize that I can breathe in anger, and breathe out compassion and love.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply In AND Out, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Today, I know that I can face my anger again tomorrow, with courage and compassion.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Today, I can rest in the grace of the world and be free.
Pause, Breathe. Deeply, and Feel the Movement in your body as you sit quietly

Standing With Grace and Power

When adjusting and testing:

standing wth grace and powerPerson A stands in a natural posture facing in the direction of the arrow The feet should be placed at somewhat less than the width of the hips. The knees are not locked and not bent, but just ever so much feeling soft. The head and neck are an extension of the spine and come straight up from the spine, and have the same basic alignment as the spine. Person B stands in line with Person A’s shoulders and facing Person A.

Person B helps person A to adjust their posture. Pay attention to the head and neck, the sway in the lower back, and the angle of the trunk, which should appear to be ever so much forward from center.
Once Person B feels like they have Person A “standing with grace and power” then Person B is to take their right hand and place the fingertips and the base of the palm of the right hand, on the center of the upper chest of Person A. (Near the top of the rib cage.)

Let Person A have a moment to acclimate to the touch, while both people take a fairly deep breath.
Person B then pushes lightly but firmly against Person A to see if they are indeed balanced. Push according to the current ability of Person A, and NOT with the intent of pushing them over. You should push with an amount of power that facilitates Person A working at between 95% and 105% of their current ability (Their “Power Learning” range). This is very important. Push them too hard and they will learn very little. Push them too softly and they will learn very little.

When being pushed, Person A should have a sense that the force of the push travels mainly in two directions – Up and out of the top of the skull, and Down and through the legs and feet. The push should help Person A to feel as if their spine is being elongated ever so much, while at the same time feeling that the push “grounds” them.

Person A should be quite careful to NOT brace against the force of the push in order to maintain balance. Breathe easily and feel the energy run throughout your entire body.

Find one or two people to practice this with so that you can learn:
A) How to better adjust your own posture.
B) What good posture looks like in others, and how you can help others maintain a posture of grace and power.
C) How to attune yourself to a partner by learning how to work in their 95%-105% Power Learning range.

You can also do this exercise from a seated position. If so, Person A will need to sit somewhat close to the edge of their chair.

Possible Additional Activities

  1. Prior to getting into position, develop an “as if” statement. You make a statement about what you would like to accomplish “AS IF” it was already accomplished.
  2. Once you have the statement clearly in mind, then go ahead and do the practice, and from time to time, in a nice, slow, relaxed rhythm, repeat your “as if” statement to yourself. If you are by yourself, say your “as if” statement out loud.
  3. At the same time that you are doing all of this, notice from time to time how various aspects of your experience change.
  4. Do the practice while practicing giving a speech, or making a declaration to someone.

Releasing into the floor

Lie on your back, on a mat, or a carpeted floor.
If your body is really supple you can lie directly on a warm floor.

If you can do so, lay on the floor without any pillows or anything else underneath you. If it hurts you to do so, use a pillow under your knees or wherever you might need one.

Lying on the floor, get into a rhythmic breathing pattern.
Breathing in and out through your nose.

You will either want to slowly count internally (1,2,3,4) on the inhale and (1,2,3,4) on the exhale,
OR, repeat a “key word” of some sort internally on the inhale and exhale.
The key word should be a word that has a definite positive connotation for you.
Something like (“Relaxed, Relaxed” spoken slowly on the inhale, and again, “Relaxed, Relaxed” spoken slowly on the exhale)

Other alternatives- (Confident, Confident) (Peaceful, Peaceful) (Calm, Calm)
Whatever suits you, as long as the word or phrase has a positive connotation for you.

If you’re wanting to sleep you can use (Sleepy, Sleepy) or (Letting go, Letting go).

If you can, also notice your heartbeat, as you lay there and breathe.
If you can notice your heartbeat, you can inhale through your nose for five heartbeats and exhale through your nose for five heartbeats.

No matter what (if anything) you choose to repeat to yourself as you breathe, it is helpful if you can feel your heartbeat as you lay there and breathe.

If you can’t feel your heartbeat starting out, no worries. Chances are you will begin to feel your heartbeat as time goes on.

As you lay there breathing, tighten and then release (One by one, and slowly) the muscles of your feet and toes, breathe, the muscles of your legs, breathe, your pelvis and butt, breathe, your stomach, breathe, your chest, breathe, your arms, breathe, your hands, breathe, your shoulders, breathe, your neck, breathe and your face, breathe.

Cycle through this pattern two more times.

Now, imagine the floor is softening around you, and your body sinks a few inches into the floor, like it would if you were laying on some soft blankets.

Now “do nothing” and simply feel yourself.

Just now, you might find, that everything is just as it should be.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Only now, and only you, only in this moment.

Perform this practice for at least ten minutes.

This practice is similar to various Yoga practices.

Breathing With Grace and Power

Open expansive breathing and your physical and emotional well being are very much intertwined. Exapansive breathing = Life…  Expansive breathing = An oxygen rich blood supply…  Expansive breathing = Movement…  Expansive breathing = Calmness… Expansive breathing = Freedom.

Most everyone has a tendency to restrict their breathing when they are frightened, anxious, or feeling overwhelmed. It is not “natural” to restrict one’s breathing at such times, but for most of us it is a default habit nonetheless.

The very essence of a habit is that we can perform an action without needing to pay careful attention to what we are doing. Soon we can perform certain habits without seeming to think at all. For many of us, restricting our breathing has become a habit that we do so “well” that we have come to not even notice when and how we do it.

This Practice is meant to reawaken you to the process of breathing, and help you to reverse debilitating breathing habits, so that you can once again, “Breath with Grace and Power.”

Metaphorical explanation of the process involved: Sit up straight, without leaning against the back of your chair. Imagine that your torso is a strong yet supple cylinder that is able to transmit fluid and oxygen through it walls. Your torso-cylinder is hanging from a fairly thick string that is attached to a strong branch of a big tree, and this string cradles your head and neck, so that your throat and sinuses are open and soft. As your head, neck, and torso hang from the branch, your entire upper body rocks back and forth ever so much, as you are moved by a strong yet calming breeze.

The bottom of your cylinder is your pelvic floor which is situated in your pelvic cavity. The top of your cylinder is your palate, sinuses, nose and mouth.

In this practice, air enters your cylinder through your nose and sinuses, and air exits your cylinder through your mouth.

As you inhale, think of each molecule of air as being like a bubble that floats down to your pelvic floor, with each bubble resting on the bubbles around it. You can think of an image of a cylindrical jar filled with water bubbles. When the jar is “just full” you pause for a relaxing moment or two, and then the molecular bubbles start to exit your cylinder through your mouth.

The bubbles near the top of the cylinder of course are the ones that exit first. The bubbles resting on your pelvic floor are the bubbles that exit last. When your cylinder is “just empty” you pause for a relaxing moment or two, and then your inhale begins once again. Inhaling through your nose and sinuses, exhaling through your throat and mouth.

  1. Your inhalation enters your body through your nose and sinuses, and goes all the way down to your pelvic floor. Remain relaxed while practicing this. Do what you can, and no more or less.
  2. When your cylinder is just full, you pause for a relaxing moment or two and then: Your exhalation leaves your body via your throat and mouth.
  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose making a “Suuu” sound which emanates from the area of your sinuses. What is important here is that you make a slow and constant inhalation, and that the inhalation has some sound to it.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth making a “Haaa” sound which emanates from your throat, as the air lightly bounces off of your palate. The sound you make is a throaty sound.
  5. While being certain to remain relaxed, build up to a cycle of inhaling for about twenty seconds and exhaling for about twenty seconds.

Perform Breathing With Grace and Power, for a minimum of five minutes. Better to do it for ten minutes if you have the time.

This Practice is very simple, AND profound. You will discover yourself in the process and you will reawaken yourself to the process of breathing, and reverse degenerative breathing habits. Over time, you will once again, “Breath with Grace and Power.”

Stand in “Hanmi”

This is a basic activity taken from Aikido and further elaborated on for our purposes in Seishindo. Performing this Practice from time to time will give you an active experience of developing a calm presence. When you are feeling fully present you will notice that your thinking mind and your feeling mind are both calm, yet active.

In the beginning you might find that doing this Practice leads you to understand just how fluid and perhaps unstable in some regards, your overall sense of balance is. Although you might not love this experience right from the very first, if you stick with it you will find that this simple Practice can be highly rewarding.

This Practice is a primary part of the process that I teach to people wanting to excel at leadership and public speaking.

Stand in Hanmi

These directions are meant to be “approximate” in nature, and not exact. As you practice standing in “hanmi” you will find that your posture and footing changes some over time. If I was there to show you this in person, it would be quite simple to understand. Use my words as a general guide, and don’t be concerned with whether or not you get it all “just right.”

Stand facing in the direction of the two arrows that run parallel to each other (See the diagram just below). As you stand facing “forward” the arrow splayed to the left represents your left foot, with the “head” of the arrow meant to be the tip of your left foot, and the back of the arrow meant to be your left heel. The arrow splayed to the right represents your right foot. Both feet are splayed at approximately a 45 degree angle from “straight ahead.” If your spine was to extend all the way to the floor, it would touch the floor at the space of the darkened square.

Hanmi PracticeThe distance between the two parallel lines with arrows, is about four inches. This alerts you to the fact that your heels and thus the width of your stance as measured from your heels, is about four inches. Both legs are straight, but ever so much soft at the knees. Your weight is equally distributed in both feet.

The distance between the two horizontal vertical lines is also about four inches. This alerts you to how much the toe of the right foot is in front of the heel of the left foot.

Once you have all of the above in place then you rotate your trunk somewhat towards the left, approximately 30 degrees from straight ahead, in the direction of the green arrow.

Gaze out into the distance as if you are looking at a panoramic view.

You can also reverse this stance and have your right foot forward.

When practicing this posture on a regular basis, it is best to alternate from left foot forward to right foot forward, each time you practice. Right foot forward during one time, left foot forward during the next.

Activities for “Riding the Horse” and “Hanmi”

1) Prior to getting into position, develop an “I am” statement.
Think about something that you would like to accomplish. Then, make a statement about what you would like to accomplish, imagining that you have already accomplished your goal.

Examples:
“I am feeling fit and slim and enjoying my body.”
“I am enjoying my work and my interactions with my colleagues.”

Once you have the statement clearly in mind, stand in hanmi and from time to time, in a nice, slow, relaxed rhythm, repeat your “I am” statement to yourself. If you are by yourself, say you can say your “I am” statement out loud.

At the same time that you are doing all of this, notice from time to time how various aspects of your experience change. Your breathing, the movements of your body, your vision, the sounds around you, etc.

2) Stand in hanmi while practicing giving a speech, or making a declaration to someone.

3) Stand in hanmi and imagine yourself being calm and connected during a time of challenge.

4) Stand in hanmi and pray for the well being of yourself, or someone you care about. Stand in hanmi and imagine getting exactly what is most important to you. Stand in hanmi and give thanks for all that you have.

No matter which activity you do, be certain to take some deep breaths from time to time.

Riding the Horse

Think of the image of riding a horse, and the position you would be in while riding. This is the basic position that you are to assume now.

Feet at shoulder width, knees bent as much as makes sense for you and your current physical condition. Breathe fully in and out through your nose. Your abdomen should expand during your inhale.

Intermittently tense and release your shoulders, face, legs, stomach, and any other parts of your body, as you maintain your position. Tensing various parts of your body in a random manner is an important part of this practice.

Modified

Think of the image of riding a horse, and the position you would be in while riding. This is the basic position that you will be taking.

Feet at shoulder width, knees bent as much as makes sense for you and your current physical condition. Breathe fully.

As before- Intermittently tense and release your shoulders, face, legs, stomach, and any other parts of your body. Tensing various parts of your body in a random manner is an important part of this practice.

Now have a sense of what your movement would be like if the horse you are on is standing still and you alternately stand up in the stirrups and then sit back down again. When coming to a standing position, keep the orientation of your back and pelvis as it is when you are “sitting.”

Have a SLOW standing and sitting rhythm. About fifteen seconds in each direction. Inhale through your nose for the entire standing movement, and exhale through your nose for the entire sitting movement.

Possible Additional Activities for “Riding the Horse”.

1) Prior to getting into position, develop an “as if” statement. You make a statement about what you would like to accomplish “AS IF” it was already accomplished.

For example:
“I am feeling fit and graceful and happy with the feeling of my body.”
“I am enjoying my work and my many interactions with my colleagues.”

Once you have the statement clearly in mind, then go ahead and do either of the above two practices, and from time to time, in a nice, slow, relaxed rhythm, repeat your “as if” statement to yourself. If you are by yourself, say your “as if” statement out loud.

At the same time that you are doing all of this, notice from time to time how various aspects of your experience change.

2) Do either one of the above practices while practicing giving a speech, or making a declaration to someone.