My training time has really taken a dive lately but an opportunity presented itself to me a couple of days ago. My son was having ‘one of those nights’ at bedtime. So, I came in and did a new game with him called ‘Big Boy Sleeping’. The gist is he would sleep by himself, get his own water, etc while I was in view. Additionally, if he got scared or needed reassurance, I told him to call out ‘Ba Ba’ and I would respond.
During his self soothing time, I could have easily sat on the couch in his bedroom and dazed out the window. Instead, I took this opportunity to squeeze in a bit of training. With all the fire fighting at work for the past couple of months, I decided I would do some zazen to center myself. I found a big cushion and placed it near the opposite corner of the bed from my son. I then sat down and focused on my breath. Counting my breath and thinking of the air flowing through my nostrils, I heard a call for ‘Ba Ba’. I responded, ‘Ba Ba is here’ and my son went back to self soothing.
After a period of time in zazen, I found it increasingly harder to maintain my posture. My back was beginning to slouch and I started tilting backwards. My hips still aren’t flexible enough to hold the zazen posture for very long. I decided to switch to some zhan zhuang.
My son heard the rustling as I stood up. ‘Ba Ba is just going to stand right here’, I told him. He responded with, “Don’t leave me alone Ba Ba.” My heart warmed as I heard his response, and I assured him I would not leave him. I got into the wuji zhan zhuang posture and easily called upon the inner smile. Standing, I was shocked to feel how much tension had gotten into my upper shoulders and mid back. ‘Melt the tension down’, I told myself, ‘Melt the tension down and release the energy into the ground’.
The tension in the mid back was the most peculiar as it was mostly a couple of muscles on the left side of my spine. Had I been slouching at work? Had I been leaning more to one side? Perhaps it’s the build up of carrying a laptop to and from work using a briefcase style bag. I may need to switch back to my backpack style laptop holder to equally distribute the weight across both shoulders.
I slowly raised my hands a bit to do the ’embrace the ball’, but at the dantien level. Wow.. the accumulated tension in my forearms and hands was crazy! Again, I told myself to melt away the tension and visualized a downward melting energy in my body. Noting the tension had not completely melted away, I lowered my hands down and remained in the wuji posture for the rest of the session.
Looking at the clock, about 40 mins had passed and my son was sound asleep. It was a good session 😉