How do we free ourselves from our own strength?
but everywhere he lies in chains.
Those who wish to give orders must first learn to obey; those who wish to use their strength must first learn how to free themselves from their own strength. For only those who can free themselves from their own strength can free themselves from the strength of others.
Everything begins within ourselves, and it starts with the smallest step, one that seems almost unimportant to us. Freeing oneself from ones own strength is known as relaxation. Well, it is difficult to teach someone to relax by telling him: Relax! It is easier to learn the opposite, namely to tense all the muscles. Proper relaxation begins with the smaller muscles, those of the face, fingers and toes. While the muscles of the mouth, around the eyes and of the eyes themselves are tense, any attempt at effective relaxation is doomed. Whenever I see an intense gaze and a tense lower jaw, I know that this person is a prisoner of his/her own unnecessarily tensed muscles.
Our hectic, modern lifestyle constantly leads to muscular tension, a worried expression and therefore an immense waste of energy. Energy we badly need to live in an aware and conscious manner.
If somebody is constantly losing petrol he can fill up at any petrol station of plug the holes in the tank through which the petrol is constantly escaping. Gaining new energy is a difficult process, and it is easier at first to plug all the leaks. If we have tense muscles and negative emotions (more about this later), we lose more energy than we can make good even in the best case.
Somebody who is unhappy and fearful will also show this externally with a corresponding posture and facial expression, as the more than one hundred small facial muscles very accurately reflect a persons emotional state.
The inside determines the outside, but the outside also determines what is inside. Change your facial expression and your posture. If you turn the corners of the mouth up, smooth the furrows of your brow and relax the jaw and hands, your thinking and negative state of mind will inevitably undergo a positive change. If you notice that your fists are slightly clenched and the jaw muscles are tense, you can recognise your emotional state, e.g. irritability, in good time and prevent any escalation leading to a major disaster.
Have you ever noticed how the onset of aggressive feelings is expressed by a certain muscular tension, a certain facial expression and certain body postures? Probably not, for it is particularly in such crisis situations that we unfortunately forget ourselves completely and identify with the relevant state of mind we are experiencing. We actually become the anger, envy or outraged sense of justice we experience, and cease to exist outside this negative and useless feeling. We become inseparable from our negative emotion, so that we cannot maintain any detachment and are unable to observe ourselves. We refer to our negative feelings such as hate, jealousy or envy as “I, and are hopelessly imprisoned by them.
We are unable to free ourselves from the relevant emotion, or from the muscular tension that accompanies it.
Pay attention before it is too late, and recognise the onset of irritability by the muscles that are tensing to give you a stiff (or thick) neck.
Get into the habit of going through all the muscles in your body according to a set order, relaxing one after the other. Start with the muscles around the eyes, then relax the muscles around the nose that give you such a contemptuous, arrogant look. Become aware of the tension around the mouth and chin, then the muscles around the throat, neck and back of the head. Carry out a check by raising your shoulders and dropping them again to make sure they really are down. Move from the shoulders to the arms and hands, working your way down from the large muscles to the small ones of the toes. Naturally this takes time, but it is well worthwhile. If you do not have much time to spare, just do this grand tour of the body once each week. It will then suffice if you only relax those of your muscles that are frequently tense on a daily basis. The facial muscles, shoulders and wrists often play a key role in this respect. Negative emotions (hate, envy, jealousy, mistrust etc.) lead to muscular tension in the face and limbs. Pleasant emotions relax and open you up. Usually the emotion determines the body posture, but a tense posture can also be the cause of a negative emotion.
Always remember that certain tense body postures give rise to an equally rigid mental posture, inflexible thinking and negative emotions: as inside, so outside and as outside, so inside. Everything is interconnected. It is only in our minds that the state of the mind and the state of the body are separate. You can also influence and change your consciousness via the cerebral cortex by means of certain liberating or relaxing postures (which are also contained in our WT forms, and especially in WT-ChiKung. If you e.g. spend one day “consciously“ making sure that you do not furrow your brow in disapproval, you will find that all your disapproving thoughts also disappear! We are prisoners of the body postures we have gradually adopted or copied from our parents etc., and these to some extent determine our emotions in a mechanical way. If you are able to observe and change your postures, your thinking and entire being will also change.
However, it is difficult to be mindful of this and avoid falling back into old postures when hectic modern life hypnotises us, puts us to sleep, draws us into its orbit and turns us into machine-man. Letting this happen to us, allowing ourselves to be dehumanised and permitting things to turn us into robots is perhaps the real sin (hamartano) referred to in the Gospels and parables of Jesus. This requires doing penance(metanoia*), which actually means “rethinking“ or “thinking differently, if we want to become new people. This is the real meaning of being “reborn“: changing and becoming conscious. The non-conscious person must die“ psychologically (not literally physically) so that the conscious person can be born. For a conscious person, i.e. a new person cannot be violent and evil. Violence results from being unconscious and mechanical. Consciously being evil and violent is not really possible. Even criminals do not see themselves as evil, they believe they are in the right...
Pay particular attention to relaxing the wrist and finger muscles, especially when you are in a hurry. If your hands, fingers and thumbs are relaxed, you will find it difficult to be violent. When practicing, concentrate your consciousness first on the right thumb, then on the left.
Keith R. Kernspecht
(who has just shed 4 kg and now only weighs 77 kg)