Grounding: How do we do it? Pt 2: Standing Still
Grounding: How do we do it? Pt 2: Standing Still
I first started standing when I was 15yrs old and found a book on 'soft' or internal martial arts. So for over 20yrs now I have again and again come back to this simple practice.
I have found more than anything I do, this is an opening step to deeper, more profound states of peace. It also carried a very simple message that I have found reflected in the nature of trees, hence one of my strongest reasons for connection with them.
If you just stand still things will change around you.
This insight, which may seem obvious in many ways, is very useful. Sometimes its worth just being patient and gathering your energy rather than running around trying to change things. Sometimes its easier and more productive to try and initiate a change in yourself, rather than trying to change the world around you so that you can stay as you are.
While enacting this practice with trees I have shared the obvious but useful state of being that trees have. They have no ability to move away fromt he place they choose their rooting, except through their progengy, and so they must stand still and deal with whatever they face in that place. This is partly what creates the amazing ability for trees to improve the stability and harmony of anyone who is within their sphere of influence. They must do this or they would not be able to survive over long periods of time. Through this standing they have learned that night will always turn to day, if thye just stand there. The rain will always give way to sunshine, if they just stand there. Winter will always give way to Spring, if they just stand there. Some trees live for over a thousand years so this lesson becomes very clear. Stand still, stabilise and balance your self and things will change around you.
So maybe from this we can learn that instead of chasing change we can create a more stable space for ourselves and circumstances will change around us, bringing the right time for action (ONly bringing forth flowers when there are creatures to pollenate them or no fruit will be bourne).
Standing is quite a simple but profound practice. Even if you do just 5 minutes a day. You may find that your mind and body scream at you to move, give you every reason why you shouldn't stand still: it aches, you're going numb, there are 1001 things you should be doing, you havn't got time for this blah blah blah. This is just where the mind is unused to being still. Stick with it and over a period of weeks you will find a deep sense of quiet and peace will begin to emerge in place of this mind/body chatter.
To move into the position:
Stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, either parallel, or turned slightly outward. Let your hands hang loosely by your sides and drop your shoulders. Imagine that, like a puppet, your whole body is hanging, suspended from your head. A string holds your head from a point at the top of your skull, directly in line with the tips of your ears. Feel yourself sinking down, relaxing, as you hang from the string.
Breathe calmly and naturally. Stand quietly, allowing your whole system to calm down, for up to five minutes. As you do this, mentally follow through the following points, starting at the top of your head. Make sure that you pay attention to all the elements presented. Return to these points again and again until you are able to assume the Wu Chi position naturally and perfectly.
Your eyes look forward and slightly downward.
Drop your chin a little so that your throat is not pushed forward. Release any tension in your neck.
Let your arms hang loosely. Drop your shoulders and your elbows.
Relax your hips and belly. Let the bottom of your spine unfold so that neither your belly nor your bottom is sticking out.
Stand with your heels at least a shoulder-width apart. Never stand pigeon-toed.
Unlock your knees. You can bend them ever so slightly. Make sure they don't stiffen into the fixed, locked position.
Allow you fingers to be gently open and avoid clenching your fists.
Inhale and exhale gently through your nose only. Your mouth should be closed, but not tightly shut. Don't clamp your teeth shut.
This image of Master Lam demonstrating the 1st posture of Zhan Zhuang or standing like a tree is useful to help correct your posture. You can also use the video link below to see Master Lam in action.
Try to bring this practice into your daily routine and see what it brings you. I would love some feedback about how this has helped you and what experiences you have had. Lastly please share this with people you feel could benefit from a little bit more time 'standing still' to ground and centre them and enable them to improve their lives.
Many thanks for taking the time to read this post.