Shen Gung the Art of spirit

img_3770Everything contains spirit. The spirit I am talking about here is spirit with a small “s” this is not the Holy Spirit I am referring too. So from here on out Christians don’t get your knickers in a wad, it is referring to something that is normal as dirt and as commonly overlooked.  The spirit of an activity, the spirit of a thought, the spirit is the ineffable quality that comes along with a thing, or a thought, remember we all share the same chi.  It has an energetic shape and emotion, and it can be cultivated within the human body with its own specific Arts that address Shen specifically.  When dealing with Chi, Jing, Hsing,Shen,Ching they can all be thought of a separate but each is contained within the other, the lines of separation in this model of looking at aspects of life are a bit fuzzy.

Remember my last post on Non-Local learning. The study of what it is to be a human on this mud ball rocketing through space is vast and requires that you enter that study from many different starting points and many different states of mind. This morning I entered from the point of view of Shen Gung. There must be a strong connection between our voices and our spirit. Most of the Shen Gung that I do, has a specific posture that you make with your body, along with specific sounds that you make that affect the shen and how it moves and changes.  It is probably the Art that I play least because I just forget about it.  How often do we worry about our spirit of interacting in this modern culture? Where are the daily reminders? It is left up to us to remember.

I tend to remember to address shen problems a little too late after I find myself in a mental hole of my own making when life starts feeling less bright, or less funny, and the world starts to feel as if it is getting smaller rather than larger possibilities recede. I have heard that deficiencies of Shen  often manifests itself as a cold. Today was a little different as I was not deep in a hole, but I just had a sense that I didn’t have the sense of wonder about life gathering around me. I have no doubt I could find it, but it seemed on the decline. That is part of the intuition you start to build as a practitioner. You hold a gentle picture of your entirety and and through your cultivation you tend to areas that need attention.

In the New Forest Tradition, we have a 1 through 10 system. As I have said before it is an encompassing holographic system that is deceptively simple  though it is complex as you start to build the language.

It starts simply enough with a mnemonic 1 fun, 2 shoe , 3 tree, 4 core, 5 alive, 6 thick, 7 heaven. 8 gate, 9 shine, and 10 spin. Each number relates to images that you can use as Chi Gung. For instance, refer to my earlier post on how to bring more chi gung into your day. Each number also relates to ways to effect Chi within the body, Each number is a general shape (Hsing) of chi moving in the body. This list of ways to use the 1-10 goes on and on for each art within the art of New Forest  created by Sifu Fey from the 2000 classical art forms that he is responsible for keeping alive in his tradition. It is all holographic, as one art informs the other in a web of chi, jing, hsing, shen  and ching.  When I say holographic it is helpful to know about a hologram. Lets say you have a hologram of a rose in a jar that is the size of a piece of paper if you break the hologram the entire rose is still contained within the piece. You just look through it kind of like a little window rather than seeing it in its entirety. That is how the whole of the New Forest paradigm is built. The 1-10 are also used as sounds that affect the shen in specific ways. Just by saying them over and over quickly, slowly, loudly, softly or in your mind.And since a player of New Forest already has the vocabulary of the imagery and energetics  of each number it also has the added bonus effect of imagery that is associated with the number. For instance “1 Fun” the image is of smiles moving downward through your body relaxing everything it touches.

Cultivators have used sounds to affect the way chi moves in their bodies for thousands of years. For instance if you say the “Fuuuu” sound very softly, the Yin organ sound for the kidneys, you can physically feel it lightly compress the area around your kidneys. If you say the “haaaaa” sound ,the Yin organ sound for the Heart,you can feel it in your chest area or the area of your heart.  Likewise, if you want to affect the Shen in your system in different ways you can use say “1 Fun” or “5 alive” or any of 1-10 mnemonic to affect the Shen in your body.

The main point is that we are multi-faceted people, we have so many different parts of us  that we can engage. Saying things aloud, singing, using your voice, just for the pure joy of using your voice is a great way to engage your spirit. Find a song and sing aloud, say your prayers aloud, read poetry aloud, read aloud sacred texts, sing a made up song to the universe, it only has to make sense to you! Singing from your heart to the heart of the world. Sing to God. Sing your day, its happiness, it sorrows, its frustrations, things you don’t understand, your hopes and dreams, your love, your pain. For many years now , when alone, I have used this concept with just sounds, singing a song of my day. It doesn’t have to be real words it can just be sounds, it is about  honest images, it is about telling the truth of your experience that you send outward as if you are speaking to your nearest and dearest friend that seem to work best.  This has always been a private joy of mine and more times than not it feels as if something, is listening.  Though it may feel a little weird at first, sing from your heart, tell the truth, and let it travel outward. Listen to what comes back to you at the moment, as well as in the preceding days. Watch as a general sense of lightness starts to form around you.

Beau Gustafson

Food Photographer from Denver Colorado, now living and working in Birmingham , Alabama. Food so good you will want to lick the screen.

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