Tai Chi, Chi kung and meditation aim to bring us to states of body and mind which trigger deep responses. Most people come to the disciplines for relaxation, stress management, to find stillness, to slow down and for physical health and well being and these are the effects of the practice. Yet these effects are created, not directly by the exercises themselves, but by the state of body and mind which can be achieved using the exercises. Yes it feels good just to do the exercises and there is a level of physical movement which is beneficial, but what we are trying to achieve is to find a state within ourselves which triggers the responses we require.
This state of being, which we can call At-one-ment, is a state where the mind is quiet, the body relaxed and we feel open and connected. This is a natural state, one which we have touched at times in our lives. Most often we are aware of this when we feel part of the magnificence of nature. But we may feel it in the presence of a new born baby, in the first flush of love or sometimes in holy or sacred places.
This state of being is not always apparent to us, yet it is there within us all. The practice of Tai Chi, Chi Kung and meditation, and other similar arts like yoga, help us to rediscover and access this state of being.
Normally there are a number of blockages to our awareness of this state. Firstly, the sheer busyness of our lives. Secondly an unfocussed jumpy mind, which flits from subject to subject, worry to worry, thought to thought without pause. But also the tension in the body, much of which we are unaware, the emotions and the psycho logical states, the ego and the image we portray. If we can start to put these aside, even just a little bit, then we can start to rediscover the state of being which brings relaxation, invokes the body’s auto immune system and makes us feel good. This is about bringing some balance into our lives. The Tai Chi symbol, sometimes called the yin / yang symbol, represents the balance of this state of being.
This is not hard. We start just a little and keep using it. The classes help us develop a little and the more we practice the deeper it gets and the more it becomes accessible.
This state of being is quite often associated with being spiritual, because this state is one where we move beyond being limited by our bodies. It can become one where we lose our ego-centric view of the world completely. This “spiritual” state is not religious, it does not involve a belief system, but it can be used to deepen religious experience.
The aim of Tai Chi, Chi kung and meditation classes is to help people achieve their personal objectives and to benefit them by starting to touch these “spiritual” states within them. It doesn’t matter what we call them or what we think they are, they are already within us and we can learn to access them and strengthen our awareness of them.