This morning I was reflecting on this:
That’s the Egyptian god Hapi on both sides, one foot on each side of what appears to be a representation of the sacrum, four reeds running from the feet through the center of the column and upward, two gripped like ropes by the gods, two supporting the platform on which are symbols that I believe belong to the king, or alternatively:
This is why all their procedures and even the passages of the Pyramid texts themselves are called se-akhs- or akhifiers- they were designed to allow a person to achieve a new form of spiritualized existence called the akh. The word ‘akh’ as a verb means ‘to be effective’ and the ‘akh’ as an entity was seen as a shining being who could come and go as it pleased. This means that the akh was not impelled by the forces of the universe to follow a set path but had achieved a state of freedom and ability to act in any situation. The goal of becoming an akh may not seem very spiritual when compared to more modern traditions but the Egyptians (certainly in the Old Kingdom) did not concern themselves with sentiment or niceness, their goal was freedom and that was that.
(from the Pyramid Text of Unas commentary of Apech)
My study concerns the ilio-lumbar ligaments, which are in two sets, the first from either side of the pelvis to the fourth lumbar vertebrae running vertically, and the second from either side of the pelvis to the fifth lumbar vertebrae running horizontally. I find the ligaments to the fourth vertebrae tend to engage in inhalation, and the ligaments to the fifth lumbar vertebrae tend to engage in exhalation.
Now, when the movement of breath engages the ilio-lumbar ligaments, there’s a feeling like the action on a swing in a playground connecting the leverage of the spine with the feeling for the legs and the seat of the pants. In sitting, the feeling in the legs is returned through the ilio-lumbar ligaments to the lower spine, and activity generated by stretches in the legs is balanced by activity generated by the stretches of the ligaments that connect the pelvis to the rib cage, through the abdomen. In particular, there’s a point where the fascia and ligaments associated with the internal, external, and transversus abdominals meet in equal measure at the rectus, and that’s just below the belly-button. The stretch in the fascia and ligaments of the abdominals can be felt in the shoulders and arms, and on exhalation I believe the weight and leverage of the arms helps the stretch of the ilio-lumbar ligaments to the fifth lumbar vertebrae- hence the gods holding the reed on either side of the Djed.
This morning I was feeling the role of the fascia and ligaments that connect the neck muscles to the skull, looking for a counter-rotation of the sacrum to the rotation of the pelvis, and I had a sense of height at the tan-tien over the sit-bones and of activity in the piriformis muscles under the pelvis. I looked for my sense of place like waking and sleeping, and was struck by a connection between the freedom of mind and the entire fascial envelope supporting the movement of breath.
With this method of circulating the ch’i, it overflows into the sinews, reaches the bone marrow, fills the diaphragm, and manifests in the skin and hair.
(“Master Cheng’s Thirteen Chapters on T’ai-Chi Ch’uan”, by Cheng Man-ching, translated by Douglas Wile, pg 17)
When you arrive at last at towering up like a mile-high wall, you will finally know that there aren’t so many things.
(“Zen Letters: Teachings of Yuanwu”, translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary, pg 83)