Saturday, May 5, 2012

The human stream

As a teenager, I read a book on Chi Kung which compares a human to a stream. The cells of the human body perpetually regenerate to the extent that after one year the body is almost entirely new.  One's body is thus in a constant flux. Accordingly, as stones and rubbish can block the flow of a stream, stress, anger, an unhealthy diet, smoking, and the like, can block the ongoing life flow - the cell regeneration - resulting in the ill health of particular limbs and organs affected by the blockage.

In Kabbalah, I learnt another way that a human is analogous to a stream. A person has three modes of expression: thought, speech, and action. Through thought one reveals his intellect and feelings to himself. Through speech one reveals his thoughts to others. And through action one has a tangible impact on one's environment.

These three modes of expression cascade into each other. Thought is like a spring at the mountain top; speech draws on thought, broadens the spring into a stream, and extends its flow down the mountain. Action then draws on speech and expresses it in the most tangible terms; the stream thus descends to the bottom of the mountain. The world which one affects is the repository for one's thoughts, speech, and actions and is thus akin to a lake into which the stream water gathers.

When skating, I like to be aware of this three step process and use it to to improve my skating. First I think of a trick to perform; then I articulate - internally or externally- how I'm going to perform it and, if difficult, I engage in self- talk in order to psyche myself up to commit to performing the trick. Finally, I attempt the trick in action.

In this way, I literally experience the flow of my psycho-spiritual energy flowing downward from my thought into speech, from speech into action, and from action into the external world.

This unobstructed flow from the spring down to to the lake is not to be taken for granted. Often, people do not voice what they really think, and the spring never expands into a stream. Often people say something yet fail to act accordingly, and the stream never quite reaches the mountain bottom. To experience a congruence in the flow of  one's thought, speech, and action is incredibly liberating and cleansing...          

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