Tai Chi – Saviour Of My Sanity

Tai Chi practise has helped me in so many ways. Tai Chi always restores my balance physically, mentally and spiritually

It is not often I experience a feeling of being totally overwhelmed but a few days ago I woke feeling this way. Probably you have had the same feeling yourself sometime. There were family health issues, disputes, unhappiness in abundance. I had a DVD to finish that had had its share of technical problems. I had a newsletter to get out in a few days. Admin work was piling up on my desk. Decisions to be make over course dates. The list went on and on…

It was 10.30am. I had answered phone calls and dealt with urgent emails already. But I had not done my regular Tai Chi practise yet. My wife called out as I passed her office and asked me to help her with a small task. I had to stop myself barking a reply. Something on the lines of I am too busy.

I was stressed, what no not me surely, an experienced Tai Chi teacher with many years under my belt teaching other people how to bring peace and harmony into their lives.

Am I a hypocrite?

Should I not be above all that sort of thing? Well Tai Chi is a tool not a panacea for all ills of the body and mind.

Tai Chi is no quick fix and like all tools it is only useful when it is put to use.

Time for my Tai Chi practice.

I stepped out into our back garden onto the patio, my usual exercise place. As I looked down to check I was standing on the correct spot I noticed a ladybird to my front. It looked quite dead; I considered that I had probable in my poor mental state, plagued with so many problems, stood on it as I walked onto the patio. Out of dejection and irritation I, gently mind you, flicked it toward the grass with the edge of my shoe. It slid towards the grass rolling over twice in the process and then to my surprise came alive and started walking back towards the spot I expelled it from. Now my focus turned to the safety of this ladybird. It was still full of life heading back to its original spot at a fair number of knots. Filled with remorse for the treatment I gave it I looked around and seeing a dead leaf that had fallen off the ivy climbing our garden fence. I picked it up and tenderly placed it in the path of the ladybird and when it crawled on the leaf, lifted it and placed it amongst the ivy.

Now feeling a little better about myself I set to work on my Tai Chi practise. And work it turned out to be because my mind was still consumed with my worries and waiting tasks. I persevered, completing the Tai Chi long form. This was not the real Tai Chi I had come to know after many years of dedicated practise. This was mere mechanical movement. My mind slipped in and out of control, drifting back and forth from my movements to my problems and concerns and back again to my practice. This was the way I used to perform my Tai Chi in my early years. It had its value in the physical exercise and the brief moments of clarity when I was focused on my Tai Chi. In touch with my physical reality at the very moment of its conception. Then I quickly lost that connectedness again as my mind moved too far in front to think of a forthcoming movement or returned to one gone and analysed it. Both pastimes fruitless for the future has not arrived and the past has gone, forever, never to return.

I perform the Tai Chi long form a second and third time in this very state. Exercising my body, no doubt moving my energy in a sluggish kind of way and struggling to control my thought processes. Then suddenly, remarkable quickly, everything fell into place. The physical flow, that place I have come to know where, I become the watcher and the watched, my being in harmony, body, mind and spirit working together as one, no separation only the essence of being. No more distractions, no more disturbances. The muddy waters now clear and calm. I continued my Tai Chi practise clocking up 1 hour and 10 minutes, more than twice my usual training time for the Tai Chi form and I wanted to go on. It felt so good I did not want it to end. But I knew that balance must be the overruling principle. So I stopped my practise, now calm in spirit and smiling at the ladybird still on the ivy, it and I, happy to be alive. What beauty we have around us and how often we miss it in our obsession to achieve goals. I made a mental note to allow myself more time to exist in my natural state of individualism whilst appreciating the beauty of my surroundings. Now refreshed and ready to tackle those tasks I went up to my office and started work.

Oh! what a blessing the practise of Tai chi has been in my life and continues to be. A true gift from the Dao.

© Copyright 2012 Howard Gibbon – all rights reserved

1 3 4 5