Posts tagged Tai Chi Chuan
Since the beginning of the month of March, I’ve been working on an in-depth cleanse. This cleanse started with a detox diet for the first two weeks, consisting of loads of organic vegetables as soups and stir fries as well as nuts, fruit and dried fruit. This was followed by a week of juice fasting, consisting of fresh raw fruit and vegetable juice diluted 50% with water; this is the stage I am at now. A water-only fast will be beginning this weekend and should last for at least one week, perhaps longer if things work out well.
So far this week, I’ve primarily been drinking juices with some combination of the following (citrus is always taken separately as the guidelines of trophology suggest):
- bok choy
- italian parsley
So-far, I’m feeling good, I have loads of energy and I don’t feel much in the way of withdrawal symptoms from coffee, dairy, bread, etc. In the past I had a hard time getting through the day without a few coffees, it was quite an addiction. Now I am able to get through the day without feeling the need for coffee. I’ll still have some caffiene in the form of a green tea, perhaps, but the overall dosage is much lower than before.
I’ve been able to go about my life with more sustainable energy than before and aside from missing out on the enjoyment of food, I am feeling better than ever. I think this opportunity I’m giving my body to really rest and repair, is really helping a great deal. So I’ll keep a good attitude, which has a huge influence on the results of this kind of endeavor, I’ll be mindful of the effects of whatever I am engaged in and I’ll push forth doing my best to maintain and improve my life as I go.
I went to a Yoga class followed by a Tai Chi class on Tuesday, which turned out to be an above average class in terms of difficulty. Despite having less energy to burn, I did well and I pushed myself in ways that I had not previously pushed myself. I was able to hold difficult poses like scale pose for 30 seconds on each side, which is a record for me and I was able to do poses like half bound lotus forward bend with less difficulty. Overall, I was stronger, more flexible, more disciplined and motivated than I had been in previous experiences.
One of the great things about these kinds of experiences, is they help you to apply the discipline that it takes to engage in fasting/detox, to other parts of your life. It really gets you thinking and introspecting, so you have the potential to really weed out toxic habits and motivational issues that you might have otherwise been complacent with, had you not done a fast/detox.
I did an hour long video podcast, which goes off on alot of tangents; but touches many areas that I felt inspired to discuss. I hope those of you who have the time will check it out and share your thoughts if you are so inclined.
Practiced the Tai Chi long form by candlelight tonight, with Egyptian Musk incense burning and relaxing music in the background. I know of few activities more beneficial or engaging than this. It exercises the body, circulates the chi and sharpens the awareness like none other.
Now that I’ve been doing Yoga and Tai Chi classes regularly again, I’m really starting to feel the Chi as it flows through my sinews. Its like a sort of quasi-biological field, that the mind can control and manifest consciously in various parts of the body.
This better understanding of chi, in combination with the incremental increases in core strength from practice, also make Yoga poses that were nearly impossible a few months ago quite easy; as the understanding of the chi and allowing it to flow freely provides much of the strength and balance that the body needs to achieve difficult poses.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the way the art of Tai Chi Chuan sustained in today’s world. While many important arts and traditions have carefully curated curricula and well maintained lineages, to pass on the wisdom from generation to generation in tact, it seems as if much of the Tai Chi wisdom is already lost on many; only carried by a few who were fortunate/wise enough to find the right teacher; many of the rest pass on a corrupted form of the art and will probably never realize it. Perhaps it has always been like this to some extent.
There is some beauty to this; perhaps it is nature’s way of eventually sorting the matter out effortlessly. Perhaps there will come a time when Tai Chi will again flourish without all of these things we normally associate with success; when the consciousness of the people on this planet evolve to the point that they can intuitively understand Tao.
I’ve always had this feeling that, even if your teaching is imperfect, practice and understanding of the principles can still refine our understanding of the art. Although it may not be enough for most to achieve in one lifetime, the fact that Tai Chi exists at all should tell us, even if it is someday lost, it will be rediscovered; because the source of Tai Chi is not something which can be destroyed; we merely have become disconnected from it and are finding our way back.
The Master doesn’t try to be powerful;
thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power;
thus he never has enough.
The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.
The kind man does something,
yet something remains undone.
The just man does something,
and leaves many things to be done.
The moral man does something,
and when no one responds
he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.
When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the husk of true faith,
the beginning of chaos.
Therefore the Master concerns himself
with the depths and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.
He has no will of his own.
He dwells in reality,
and lets all illusions go.
–Tao Te Ching (ch. 38 — S. Mitchell Translation)
I’ve always found that the most valuable reflections are those in which I step outside of the day-to-day paradigm and examine life through a different lens. In this podcast I do just that. Looking at life, not from the perspective of material objectives, but instead from the perspective of individual growth.