Day One – What Shape are you in?

Step One – What Shape are you in?

Tapping really helps me to reduce the resonance of an issue and I also use my experiences from practicing Aikido in the past to help me.

I use the concept of circular flow that is so important in Aikido (a Japanese martial art). All things are circular in nature and we can learn a lot from looking at the natural world around us.

In ancient geometry they talk about how the circle, square or triangle represent all things
in life, and here I will explain more. After a tapping round or at times when I feel emotionally challenged I check in with myself.

Traditionally in tapping we say how much out of ten we feel that emotion now. I now use the ancient geometry concept to measure my internal energy. Triangular energy would be pointed or aggressive.

People often form a triangular shape when they attack and point an accusing finger, which is usually directed at the heart of the opponent. Triangular energy can also be used in the positive to cut through negativity as and when required.

The square represents stuck energy or stubborn behaviour, and I am sure you or someone else would have projected this stance to others at some point. This is really useful as there may be the odd occasion when you need to stand your ground. In the 60’s we often referred to people as being square.

The circle is also an interesting energy as it reflects different aspects. You may be familiar with the eye of the storm concept and that is to say that in a circular storm you normally find a place that is still and perfectly calm, and this is a place of balance that I normally move into after experiencing some kind of challenging event.

Tao Energy and Tapping

The word ‘Tao’ refers to the central force or principle of Taoist belief. Every object and every action is a manifestation of the movement of Tao, and so everything is governed by the principles that govern Tao. When we are faced with a conflict or hear that we have a serious health issue such as diabetes in my case, we would have three choices:

  1. Pushing or struggling with the condition or fighting against an issue (fight)
  2. Taking action or moving (flight)
  3. Denying or not taking action (freeze)
  • Fight
  • Flight
  • Freeze

I know from my experience that when I was told that I had diabetes, the energy of my reaction was square in nature and I felt stuck, restricted and unable to move on beyond it.

So I was frozen in time. I needed to go into action, not fight it, but move beyond the emotions I was experiencing. So I needed to become more circular in nature.

If you imagine that the triangle represented the problem, and I felt attacked by it, you can see that if I formed a square energy or another triangular form, both would meet with resistance or form a conflict.

So circular energy is the best form and this is where my tapping process comes in, by using acceptance, that will then allow for movement to be able to go beyond the issue and see what lies behind it. It is important to note though that as with the yin yang approach to life all things have within them the potential for negative and positive energy, and that can also be found in the triangle, square and circle when looking at how we deal with conflicts.

What we tend to do though is to step outside of the safety of the eye, and once we do that we find ourselves being caught up in the circular motion of the storm and becoming part of the chaos or you could say, part of the problem.

The Three Energy Styles
We may move in and out of the styles below, but we will have one that is more conditioned than the others, as in a behaviour that may be given to us by authority figures as we grow up.

  • 1. The triangle
    forward moving piercing and direct driven by a need for control at worst, sounds like an attack on your competence personal attacks and a lot of “You shoulds”. at best, strong assertive and commanding demands and requests what it needs
  • 2. The circle
    round, flowing and indirect driven by a need to be connected, loved, and approved of at worst, it is vague, avoidance, and manipulative at best, it is mutually respectful, open, and embracing of the other looking for the win-win in any situation.
  • 3. The square
    unflinching, solid, and grounded driven by a need for certainty and safety at its worst, stubborn, like a mule who won’t budge, and outrageously rigid at its best it is reliable, loyal, and able to shelter and protect that which is most valuable

So by checking in with ourselves and asking “where am I now?” i.e. “what shape am I in now?” we can monitor ourselves and maybe choose an appropriate shape that
better fits the situation.

For instance, when two points of a triangle meet with force, all you can expect is an explosion of negative energy, but by being more circular the point of the triangle is forced to go on beyond the circle so confrontation is avoided, and the circle usually ends up being the base of the triangle or you could say you get to see what lies behind the problem or the attack.

Explore this concept and let me know how you get on.

This is part of a much larger concept that I will be sharing with you in future posts.

The following story illustrates how moving from a triangular energy, one of attack, to a more circular approach can avoid confrontation and create resolution. It is a story I hold close to my heart, enjoy.

The Train Story, by Terry Dobson,
Direct student of Ueshiba O’sensei

THE TRAIN CLANKED and rattled through the suburbs of Tokyo on a drowsy spring afternoon. Our car was comparatively empty – a few housewives with their kids in tow, some old folks going shopping. I gazed absently at the drab houses and dusty hedgerows.

At one station the doors opened, and suddenly the afternoon quiet was shattered by a man bellowing violent, incomprehensible curses. The man staggered into our car. He wore laborer’s clothing, and he was big, drunk, and dirty.

Screaming, he swung at a woman holding a baby. The blow sent her spinning into the laps of an elderly couple. It was a miracle that she was unharmed. Terrified, the couple jumped up and scrambled toward the other end of the car.

The laborer aimed a kick at the retreating back of the old woman but missed as she scuttled to safety. This so enraged the drunk that he grabbed the metal pole in the center of the car and tried to wrench it out of its stanchion.

I could see that one of his hands was cut and bleeding. The train lurched ahead, the passengers frozen with fear. I stood up.

I was young then, some 20 years ago, and in pretty good shape. I’d been putting in a solid eight hours of Aikido training nearly every day for the past three years. I like to throw and grapple. I thought I was tough. Trouble was, my martial skill was untested in actual combat. As students of Aikido, we were not allowed to fight.

“Aikido,” my teacher had said again and again, “is the art of reconciliation. Whoever has the mind to fight has broken his connection with the universe. If you try to dominate people, you are already defeated. We study how to resolve conflict, not how to start it.”

I listened to his words. I tried hard I even went so far as to cross the street to avoid the chimpira, the pinball punks who lounged around the train stations. My forbearance exalted me. I felt both tough and holy. In my heart, however, I wanted an absolutely legitimate opportunity whereby I might save the innocent by destroying the guilty.

This is it! I said to myself, getting to my feet. People are in danger and if I don’t do something fast, they will probably get hurt. Seeing me stand up, the drunk recognized a chance to focus his rage. “Aha!” He roared. “A foreigner! You need a lesson in Japanese manners!” I held on lightly to the commuter strap overhead and gave him a slow look of disgust and dismissal. I planned to take this turkey apart, but he had to make the first move. I wanted him mad, so I pursed my lips and blew him an insolent kiss.

“All right! He hollered. “You’re gonna get a lesson.” He gathered himself for a rush at me. A split second before he could move, someone shouted “Hey!” It was earsplitting. I remember the strangely joyous, lilting quality of it – as though you and a friend had been searching diligently for something, and he suddenly stumbled upon it. “Hey!”

I wheeled to my left; the drunk spun to his right. We both stared down at a little old Japanese. He must have been well into his seventies, this tiny gentleman, sitting there immaculate in his kimono. He took no notice of me, but beamed delightedly at the laborer, as though he had a most important, most welcome secret to share.

“C’mere,” the old man said in an easy vernacular, beckoning to the drunk. “C’mere and talk with me.” He waved his hand lightly. The big man followed, as if on a string. He planted his feet belligerently in front of the old gentleman, and roared above the clacking wheels, “Why the hell should I talk to you?” The drunk now had his back to me. If his elbow moved so much as a millimeter, I’d drop him in his socks.

The old man continued to beam at the laborer.

“What’cha been drinkin’?” he asked, his eyes sparkling with interest.

“I been drinkin’ sake,” the laborer bellowed back, “and it’s none of your business!” Flecks of spittle spattered the old man.

“Ok, that’s wonderful,” the old man said, “absolutely wonderful!

You see, I love sake too.
Every night, me and my wife (she’s 76, you know), we warm up a little bottle of sake and take it out into the garden, and we sit on an old wooden bench.

We watch the sun go down, and we look to see how our persimmon tree is doing. My great-grandfather planted that tree, and we worry about whether it will recover from those ice storms we had last winter.

Our tree had done better than I expected, though especially when you consider the poor quality of the soil. It is gratifying to watch when we take our sake and go out to enjoy the evening – even
when it rains!” He looked up at the laborer, eyes twinkling. As he struggled to follow the old man’s conversation, the drunk’s face began to soften. His fists slowly unclenched. “Yeah,” he said. “I love persimmons too…” His voice trailed off. “Yes,” said the old man, smiling, “and I’m sure you have a wonderful wife.”

“No,” replied the laborer. “My wife died.” Very gently, swaying with the motion of the train, the big man began to sob. “I don’t got no wife, I don’t got no home, I don’t got no job. I am so ashamed of myself.” Tears rolled down his cheeks; a spasm of despair rippled through his body.

Now it was my turn. Standing there in well-scrubbed youthful innocence, my make-this-world-safe-for-democracy righteousness, I suddenly felt dirtier than he was. Then the train arrived at my stop. As the doors opened, I heard the old man cluck sympathetically. “My, my,” he said, “that is a difficult predicament, indeed. Sit down here and tell me about it.”

I turned my head for one last look. The laborer was sprawled on the seat, his head in the old man’s lap. The old man was softly stroking the filthy, matted hair. As the train pulled away, I sat down on a bench.

What I had wanted to do with muscle had been accomplished with kind words. I had just seen aikido tried in combat, and the essence of it was love. I would have to practice the art with an entirely different spirit. It would be a long time before I could speak about the resolution of conflict.

I will be using the concepts talked about above whilst using Heart Centred Tapping and I will explain more later.