What is Gravity?
Gravity is one of the 4 forces in the universe (as we know it in this time frame) and nature along with electromagnetism, and the nuclear strong force and weak force. Gravity is the weakest of all but we feel it more in our everyday life. Gravity on earth keeps our feet on the ground, makes things fall to the ground and not fly to the sky, makes our biological systems function the way they do (mechanics of fluids in our bodies) and gives our muscles mass and strength. Gravity is at the center of stars formation, makes the planets orbit around the sun, makes the moon generate tides on earth, makes light (energy and matter are the same) bend close to massive objects in the universe, and much more.
As a general rule, gravity is an interactive force between objects in the universe and on earth. Gravity is so important to us, humans, that it is the most challenging problem for space exploration. We cannot create gravity in a spaceship. Without gravity our bodies float in space (no weight), our physiological systems cannot function properly (see the many problems astronauts are faced with in space), and our muscles shrink in time. Gravity is actually our best ally, and as a force it can be used in many ways in our advantage. Re-read that sentence. Whenever you move upwards from the ground, you do actually gain potential energy (like pulling a rubber band), and the release of that energy is more powerful then than from the ground level.
As a force, gravity is felt as something pulling you toward earth. But you should not look at it as a “negative” value. On the contrary, you should look at it as a “positive” value, meaning like a vector or an arrow pointing upward and giving you grounding and centeredness. As an upward arrow, gravity is seen as “earth” type energy (one of the 4 elements along with water, air, fire). Earth energy gives us a strong foundation and centeredness necessary to feel the NOW. This is actually why in the first position of Qi Gong, the Rise and Fall, you should feel the energy pulling you down as you move up, and you should feel the energy pushing you up as you go down. This is also the reason why it is important to master stances in martial arts – stances affect the root chakra and the sacrum chakra (location of the hara point-chi). Stances (1) help you be grounded in any circumstances or conditions; (2) they allow you to generate power when action is needed; (3) they help you draw chi/energy from earth as explained above; and (4) they help you develop harmony in motion. Stances involve your feet. You have to feel the earth under your feet and feel that the earth is working with you, not against you. I repeat: use the earth’s energy, do not resist it! It is important to understand this first element so difficult to manage and feel at first. “Centeredness” and “grounding” are not easy to develop but once you feel them, the other elements (water, air, fire) become more natural to you.
Gravity is a force on a mass, not weight itself. Re-read that sentence. Because the earth and the moon do not have the same size, their gravitational force on you is not the same and you do not “weigh” the same on earth or the moon. However, the condition of your mind-body will affect the way you feel the gravitational pull in your gravity. A common example: there are days you may feel heavier than others but you still weigh the same. There are skinny people who walk heavily, and there are heavy people who walk lightly. Once you understand and feel that gravity is about force and not “weight” you carry yourself much lighter and do not need to be “heavy” on the ground to generate power in your punches or kicks. And as such, you can even feel grounded and centered while performing a jumping kick. Being “light” in your gravity allows you to do more and perform better than in being “heavy” in your gravity. Understand and feel the difference in your training.
Gravity is the foundation of your centeredness and Oneness in mind-body. Training in Myoku is 50% of mastering your gravity – understanding yourself, expanding your mind, cultivating emptiness in mind and heart, and bringing in peacefulness. Gravity is the direct connection with your feeling of Oneness with the universe because it is about shifting your consciousness of time and space…and of yourself.
In General Relativity, the concept of gravity shows a strong similarity with the NOW in Zen as explained in the section above about NOW: Gravity is not seen as a force but as the intimate connection between time and space; it is a distortion of the fabric of the universe made of time and space. Any modification of your “time” will affect the perception of space, and vice versa. In Myoku, then, NOW is connected to GRAVITY. The root chakra and the sacrum chakra (hara) are our first centers of gravity followed by the heart chakra. Yes, the heart chakra is grounding on a different level – it is a gate to yourself as energy being. This is why we have to develop great stances. When you are perfectly aligned in your gravity (and in the NOW), you are grounded and centered and you certainly can feel/see “reality” differently. Your notion of time and space changes and you move at a speed that is not perceived in the same way by an observer. From a General relativity’s perspective, when an apple falls to the ground its time / clock slows down a bit. It is not noticeable to you because earth is huge in comparison to the apple and the distance between the two is negligible. But close to a black hole in space, any object would dramatically be subjected to this rule. Strangely enough, as the apple slows down its time, it acquires speed as it falls. This is what happens to your space/time frame when you are in control of your gravity in the NOW. A yogi or an advanced Zen practitioner would tell you clearly that you can slow down your metabolism, your biological functions, your cellular activities, your own clock-time, your heartbeat with one breath, one stance, one thought…in the NOW. Know your mind-body connection, know your gravity and you will hear music in the falling rain and see wavelengths in nature, not only colours!
A Zen reflection: If, as an old Shaman saying states, man is the dream of the dolphin, what is then the dream of man? This question does not require an answer in a strict Cartesian sense. We should not focus on finding an answer to the man’s dream, but focus on keeping the dolphin alive because without the dolphin we would not exist. And in each of us resides a dolphin. It is your journey to keep the dolphin alive in the NOW and not worry about the rest. Because the rest is…only a Walk in the Bamboo Forest.