An Interview by Ishu from the German Osho Times with Anando Würzburger who´s been working with the hara since 1990, actually since Osho left the body and had shortly before given some little, but powerful instructions in how to bring awareness to the hara, the center of being. He had given that work the name Osho Hara Awareness Massage. Anando had lead the Osho Hara Training and the Osho Hara Awareness Massage Training in the Osho Multiversity, the School for Centering and Zen Martial Arts in Pune until 2001.
Power has more subtle ways of manifesting itself than just cleverly planned Machiavellian strategies. Power has a bodily and energetic dimension to it. More than just the right of dominance by the physically fittest there is a more subtle dimension of power, the energetical presence. In politics the German chancellor Helmut Kohl was known for his overmighty big pyhsical presence that would overpower his political opponents in meetings. He was called “the black giant”. But politicians of very small physical statue like Napoleon, Hitler or Stalin had to rely solely on their energetic presence. Power expresses itself through the body: A naturally erect body composure signals selfworth, competence and a natural pride. A collapsed body posture signals resignation and weakness.
In this Interview Anando talks about the physical and energetic side of power.
Q.: “Can you “exercise” being powerfull?”
Anando: “Power has a lot to do with presence of vital life energy and yes, you can exercise it. This exactly is being practiced in the Asian Martial Arts techniques. In their exercises they prepare themselves for a possible fighting situation. To be able to face a blanc sword right in front of you without getting lost in fear needs a strong energetic presence and an unwavering spirit.
For one the exercises in Martial Arts activate your hara, (Japanese for the energy center in the belly). The second main principal is grounding. You have to be grounded when you face a situation that is demanding your utmost energetic presence and power.
In fear all energy moves upwards and we lose the feeling of groundedness.The body seems to become very light. The energy flow in the body becomes frozen and the breath becomes shallow without reaching into the belly. If we go into the the mode of feeling helpless the body has a tendency to make itself invisible and go into the submission mode. This is an instinctual biological reflex in situations of power ranking. When you watch dogs you can sees how they signal submission by their body posture. The weaker one recognises the leader by throwing themselves to the ground. In more subtle ways we humans give bodily signals and gestures in meetings with people to show our submission.
The words we use and we say are only the surface of the communication taking place. The deeper level is the energetic presence and body posture. Especially in hierarchical situations we can sense the power. It is in the air, if submission is being asked for or not.
Many People have been educated in their childhood to obey or submit. Then later on we have the unconcious tendency to submit ourselves easily and take a weak energetic position. Literally speaking we do not “take our ground”.
The good news is, we can also learn how to “take a stand” and stay in our presence. This is a physiological process, that you have to practice and exercise first. You experience the sensation of being in your energetic presence and your power. And most important you find ways to invite it. Later you can apply it in real encounters with people.
Encountering does not mean you get into actually and unnecessarily fighting with your boss or with a gang in the underground or bus station. We need to have a realistic approach to the situation. The highest level of Asian Martial Arts is not about a fight but all about keeping your physical energetic presence of power.”
Q.: Can you overcome the feeling of being powerless and the lack of self-esteem by physical exercises?
A.:This alone is not enough, you also need to become aware of your conditioning, the sabotaging thoughts about your self-worth and sense of who you are. It corresponds with how we feel and sense ourselves in the body. I used to experience this, when I had a a creative idea that I wanted to share with someone. The moment the sabotaging thought came in, the energetic shrinking began..
We can learn not to listen to the negative thought and also learn to instead be able to connect with our full energetic presence, which I call postive power.
Q.:”How can one actually do that?”
The first step is to identify the negative message. It helps to recognise that this at one point came as a message from outside ourselves. It has nothing to do with your original life source and energy. You can notice that the message from inside or what maybe your boss just said now touches that old weak spot of lack of selfworth, feeling of insecurity or of powerlessness, that once has been created from outside. The easiest way to find the distance to identify the weak spot is by connecting to the hara, the” source of life” in the belly.
From there you can also directly come to the second step: you have a choice where you can turn your attention and your awareness. You can see that the sentence of your boss or your own negative thought has brougt you into that old weak spot that has been created in the past. With that distance you can see, that maybe your boss has had a bad start in the day, which has nothing to do with yourself. Instead of falling into the old weak spot inside yourself you can chose to connect with your life source in the hara. Here you have a different sense of yourself .
Q. How do you connect with the hara?
There are different aspects involved: grounding yourself, to regulate the deep belly breathing, work on the energetic blocks in the belly or to center yourself by certain ways to move the body. There are different techniques from Taichi or Qigong, which have been used as preparative exercises for the actual Martial Arts. Outside the actual “power situation” you exercise to be in your energetic presence and power. The more you have practiced it, the better you can stay in it, when you encounter an actual situation like maybe your boss being choleric.You need to practice not to go into the automatic shrinking mode, but to be able to ground yourself and stay connected to your strength.
Q. Can you actually learn this in one weekend?
No, not in one weekend (she laughs). This is a long term project which needs a lot of patience and love to yourself, especially when the old program of feeling lack of self-worth and inner strength has been strong. You have to start creating an alternative world of nourishing and experiencing yourself as someone with talents and energetic power. Some do that by practicing sports. The advantage of hara work is that you practice your awareness to actually have the brain notice and cultivate the energetic presence. Thus the brain changes in its identification and your self image can change. It is not enough to just work out on a bike and to thus get rid of the frustration with your boss. Your brain needs to notice your power and presence.
Q. So in the next encounter with a person, where we feel shrinking we should ground ouselves and breath deeply into the belly? Is there something like a magic point in Martial Arts that we can use?
Yes, one of them is an accupressure point on the sole of the foot called, “Bubbling Spring”. It is right in the middle of the foot. directly under the front ball of the foot. In accupunture it is being used for emergency situtations like a fit of “hysteria”, extreme emotions or in the case of fainting. In fear all our energy moves upwards. Hysteria and fainting are on the extreme scale of that biological reaction. A fear reaction and the feeling of energetic shrinking, the submission response, create that same phenomenon of energy moving upward, just more subtle.
You can massage this point with your thumbs. That is something you can do after you have the reaction in the body to learn how to come to the feeeling of grounding. When you have gotten a better sense for being grounded, you can then in the actual situation remember your grounding and conciously find the connection to the ground by gently and subtely pressing that part of the foot into the ground, bringing your awareness into feeling the weight of the body moving down.
Diagram of the “Bubbling Spring” accupressure point
Q. Is it actually possible to use the hara power in a negative way?
“Yes, unfortunately. So in martial arts traditions, that have a spiritual awareness and positive intention as a self denfense technique like in Aikido, they equally take care of developing and training the heart to become stronger and more present in compassion. You learn how to use the power of the hara from an egoless space.
by Anando Würzburger
Foto by Smilla Dankert