Tai Chi: Meditation in Action

Therefore the Masteracts without doing anythingand teaches without saying anything.Things arise and she lets them come;things disappear and she lets them go.She has but doesn't possess,acts but doesn't expect.When her work is done, she forgets it.That is why it lasts forever.

--The Tao Te Ching (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

“Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully. "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever." "And he has Brain."

"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain." There was a long silence. "I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything.”

― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao Of Pooh


There is no greater meditation in movement that I have come across this life than Tai Ch,i or T’ai Chi. I came to Tai Chi when I was in my twenties. What drew me to it initailly was the martial art aspect of it, as well as the meditative quality. I had heard about it from a teacher I was studying and living with, who tied the martial arts of Tai Chi to the Jedi Knights of Star Wars. And being a Star Wars fan I could not resist trying out this movement/martial art form when I moved to Los Angeles. I joined a class of hundreds students, taught by a Chinese master who spoke no English. I fell in love with it and was amazed at the Chi or energy that was coming through my hands. And my mind could easily go to that quiet spot, especially after learning the 108 steps of the Tai Chi Chuan Yang style.

Eventually, I moved from Los Angeles and over the years of experimenting with other movement forms and meditation practices, my Tai Chi practice fell away. Now, however, as I have gone past the half a century mark in my age, and my physical body is demanding more flexible movement, I have taken it back up, along with Qiqong, which is basically has the same origins but focuses on healing of mind and body. Bringing back the daily practice of Tai Chi and Qiqong has helped my body immensely. It has helped me in gaining more flexibility as well as healing a shoulder energy.

Meditation in Movement

While I am not Tai Chi instructor, what I can offer is this: Get out of your head! If you are trying to think about what the next step will be, you will be missing out of the whole point of Tai Chi--Being in the Present. When you can go through the motions without thought--such thoughts as Am I doing this correctly? What is the next move? How well I am doing--then you will be grounded in the Now and the Chi, the Life Force, can move through your consciousness without obstruction.

Now while there is the goal-less goal of moving with an open/empty mind, it doesn't mean that you are dull and unaware. In fact, it is the opposite. There is a greater awareness or mindfulness of what the body is doing, with all its parts. This is how improvement happens with the form without any judgment of whether one is good or not. There is the Ideal Form of the movement and then there is one's actual form in motion. Of course, one's form will most likely fall short of the Ideal, but that is fine. All is well. No judgment. Just be aware and change will happen when it happens.

Besides doing the 108 steps, I enjoy just moving in a free form way, by just allowing my body to do whatever it likes. It may incorporate various moves that I know or it may do something entirely new. I have no concern how I look, or how "good" I am. I just allow my body to move in a thoughtless way.

Some Examples

There are many schools and forms of Tai Chi, of which I am not going to go into. If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful tradition check out this article hear at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T'ai_chi_ch'uan.

The following video is part of the form that I do demonstrated by Sifu Peter Tam Hoy.

Here is another video showcasing the martial arts aspect of Tai Chi. This is an aspect of Tai Chi that I have not worked on, but I really appreciate it. I love the soft and hard, or yin and yang, quality that Tai, as well as Kung Fu has for that matter.

This other video is an amazing example of the power of Chi that a Master can utilize to influence a given situation. And since this was done with Bill Moyers as witness who has a reputation to uphold, I trust the authenticity.

I hope you will feel inspired to find a Tai Chi or Qiqong class to check out. They are pretty easy to find now, and most community colleges I have seen offers such classes. The Tai Chi class that I go to at my local gym in Auburn is a class full of senior citizens. Tai Chi is becoming more popular among elders as the health benefits are more recognized by Western medicine.

Body Mind Holistic Healing
Mind, Body and Spirit: Meditation in Movement
Meditation Techniques Basics
Return to Mindfulness-Meditation-Techniques Home Page

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