How to Feel as Good as You Can, In Spite of Everything
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Your body is organic, and you
need to learn to listen to its rhythms until you feel that each
cell is talking to you. When you develop such sensitive awareness
of your body, you can tell it what to do. Your whole body feels
light and blissful. It is liberating.You reach a point where
your body and mind cooperate so perfectly that you feel body
is mind and mind is body. --Lama Yeshe
How to Use This Book
Why to Use This Book
How to Survive Doing Exercises
Why These Survival Hints
Basic Moves to Return to Well-Being
9. Getting Up and Lying Down
10. Talking Funny
14. Horse Lips
15. Playful Retching
16. Choo Choo Stomp
Moves From the Middle of the Road
17. Egg-laying Breath
18. Sipping Breath
19. Packing Breath
20. Slow Eye Rolls
21. Slow Head Rolls
22. Talking Tough
23. Setting Down the World
24. Turkey Flop
25. Grown-up Jiggling
26. Grown-up Humming
Advanced Moves to Well-Being
27. Grown-up Rocking (Alignment)
28. Stroking the Central Channel
29. Say AH
30. Heart Vase Breath
32. Presence Touching Presence
33. Resting the Heart Down
An Unusual Proposal
How to Continue
Why to Continue
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From the Forward I
When the New York Times puts you
on the front page, all the other newspapers and other media follow
suit, and soon we were deluged with telephone calls and letters.
Among them was one from Julie, who wrote us that she understood
what we had found and knew other ways to produce the changes
we had found. I invited her to come to our laboratory and show
us. We attached the electrodes to different parts of her body
to measure the changes in her physiology, and she easily followed
our instructions about making the different facial movements.
Just as we had found with our actors, she also generated the
distinctive pattern of changes in her physiology for each different
facial expression. Then she told us she could do it with her
voice, and sure enough she did. And when she then both made the
sounds and moved her face, we had to stop her, for the changes
she produced were so large, they scared us. For example, we found
an increase in heart rate of about ten beats per minute with
most of our subjects. Julie generated an increase of over 100
beats per minute, and it happened instantly when she made a particular
face and body. Equally astounding, she could generate these same
changes without making a sound or moving a facial muscle, just
by concentrating on her knowledge of how the body works.
A few years later, Julie gave a two-day
workshop to a group of scientists studying emotion, in which
she used an earlier version of the exercises described in this
book. We were then her subjects, and we each experienced many
of the changes she writes about.
She is a marvel. I don't know if all
of her explanations are correct, but the exercises do work, they
can change your experience and sensations. I recommend them to
Paul Ekman, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
University of California Medical School, San Francisco
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From the Forward II
Julie Henderson is one of the very few
Westerners who have had training both in Buddhist forms of practice
and in Western systems of body and energy work. Her book is an
elegant synthesis of these traditions of healing.
Those who actually do the practices in
this book will discover that "mindful" awareness always
involves staying present with "bodily" sensations.
This book shows us how to cultivate and sustain ever more subtle
realms of sensation and presence. For example, the experience
of joy is, for many, a somewhat rare occurrence. This book shows
us how to jiggle into joy, and how to be with the love and compassion
that may arise.
Written in a playful style, free from
technical jargon, this work is destined to change the way we
relate to our experience of embodiment.
Steven Goodman, Ph.D.
Core Faculty and Co-Director, Asian & Comparative Studies
Philosophy and Religion Department
California Institute of Integral Studies
San Francisco, California
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From the Introduction to Zapchen
Two things appeal to many people about
our work: it moves directly towards pleasure and well-being,
spending as little time as possible in negative states and repetitions
of personal history; at the same time, it values the qualities
of relationship that make the best sorts of psychotherapy attractive.
This way of working with human experience
applies the same approaches to both inner self-regulation and
outer intervention. We find that it applies not only to healing
and therapy but to any field or practice human beings care to
take up. It is pragmatic and experiential but not "accidental."
It gives real and immediate access to the possibility of well-being.
From the beginning, the student learns
to recognize what can be done directly and immediately to increase
freedom of movement, breath, and sound; to renew ground, alignment,
and pulsation. At the same time, the student is given the congruent
holding in relationship that supports well-being. Well-being
itself promotes rapid maturation, including the occasionally
unnerving sensations of being "someone else." We support
this radical level of change in the face of the fascinations
of old habits of worry, pain, misery, depression, deprivation,
and the other common challenges of the human condition.
Our approach is not pollyanna or pie-in-the-sky.
It recognizes the tenacity of engrained habits and structures,
but without dismay, and returns attention to what can be done
now that does support the well-being that is immediately
possible. We place the problems of history and conditioned reaction
a definite second to action in the moment that renews well-being.
That is to say, we move to free movement, breath, and sound,
strengthen ground, restore alignment, and renew pulsation, then
we consider what problem or dilemma may be felt to remain.
This book is an introduction to the simplest
and most playful ways of restoring well-being. Many of the exercises
are recognizable from childhood play. That is because this level
of care for ourselves is inherent in how we function. They are
simple, and they work.
Beyond these most basic and effective
tools for being kind to ourselves, the book offers a glimpse
towards some very high peaks of perception indeed. These more
advanced methods benefit from good company in the learning and
The word Zapchen comes
from the Tibetan and has a very broad range of meanings, not
all of them polite. From the order-rattling naughtiness of lively
children to the unpredictable and spontaneously beneficial behavior
of enlightened beings, Zapchen points to possibilities
of change and maturation deeper than we can guess at. In a gesture
that itself reveals the meaning, my heart teacher, Gyalsay Tulku
Rinpoche, suggested Zapchen as the name for this work.
Welcome to the game.
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