Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

The Bridge That Flows ©2010 Mark A. Foote


"The Bridge That Flows", as with "Ox on a Wooden Bridge" and "An Empty-Handed Hat", is a Flash illustration of these things: movement in the sacrum, forward and back; support for L4 and L5 from the pelvis, vertically to L4 on inhalation, horizontally to L5 on exhalation (support from the ilio-lumbar ligaments); the movement of the diaphragm in inhalation and exhalation, tied to L1, L2 and L3 and supported by L4 and L5; and the alignment of the legs and pelvis to the sacrum, effected by the weight of the body through the activity of the psoas.

In addition, "The Bridge That Flows" illustrates: stretches in the sacrospinous ligaments; stretches in the sacro-tuberal ligaments, and activity generated in the sartorious muscles through these stretches; stretches in the sacroiliac ligaments, and activity generated in the piriformis and extensor muscles through the stretch of all three sets of sacral-pelvic ligaments; movement of the temporal and parietal bones by the extensors, with changes in the cranial-sacral rhythm effected by nerve impulses generated through the movement of the parietal bones; and lastly, the ability to feel realized through activity spontaneously generated by the impact of consciousness on stretch.


More on "The Bridge That Flows"

The title of the animation, "The Bridge That Flows", is taken from a poem by the Chinese Buddhist monk Fuxi (circa C.E. 500):

An empty hand grasps the hoe handle
Walking along, I ride the ox
The ox crosses the wooden bridge
The bridge is flowing, the water is still
(“Zen’s Chinese Heritage”, Andy Ferguson, pg 2, ©2000 Andrew Ferguson)

Here is an explanation of the last line of the poem, from a letter I wrote to a friend:

"For me, the key is the notion that the place of occurrence of consciousness leads the balance of the body, and so has impact on the fascial stretch that is in existence as consciousness takes place. The stretch of fascia can generate nerve impulses that cause muscles to contract, so there is action as a result of balance as consciousness takes place; this is usually subtle, amounting to no more than our normal postural adjustments and our preconscious reactions to sudden sensory overload.

In Tai-Chi, the single-weight posture shows us the movement out of fascial stretch. At least, I think it does! When I get all my weight on one leg, I feel the arrow in the stretched bow wanting to fly in the other direction, so to speak. If I relax, the movements flow out of the postures.

In one of my writings ("Waking Up", on this site) I describe the place of occurrence of consciousness as a tool used by the two autonomic respirations to initiate the activity necessary to open feeling from the spine through the body to the skin and hair. I make this description because I know that at some point in my practice, volition in the body affecting the movement of breath ceases, and instead the activity of the body appears to be just part of the breath.

Isis with Ankh and Queen Nefertari

In the lotus, the stretches induced by the cranial-sacral rhythm at the sacrum are brought forward, but they are there in any upright posture; these stretches generate activity that allows the whole body to be a part of the movement of the breath in, and of the movement of the breath out. This might be the meaning of the ankh (an Egyptian symbol); the activity generated by the cranial-sacral rhythm enters into the activity of breath (in the illustration, the ankh projects from the palm of the goddess Isis toward the nose of Queen Nefertari).

The mind moves, and activity and feeling follow. Because the activity necessary to breath can be generated from the place of occurrence of consciousness, without the habitual exercise of volition, the undercurrent of volitive activity is cut off. Hence, the bridge is flowing, while the movement of the water under the bridge is still."


The Mudra of Zen