Tai Chi Class

Welcome to WholenessInMotion. Tai chi is a whole body and mind exercise that combines meditation, martial art and health tonic in one. This particular form is the Yang style, 37 posture short form as taught by Prof. Cheng Man-ch'ing. This fascinating and intricate exercise has many benefits and just about anyone can practice it.

Take a look at this site and consider the study of relaxation and how it can benefit you in your daily life. I look forward to working with you. Tom Daly


 

You Are Viewing Philosophy

The Structures of Growth, New York Times

Posted By Tom Daly on July 22nd, 2017

The Structures of Growth, Learning is no easy task. David Brooks, NY Times, June 16, 2014.

You’ll have to pull this one up by yourself, but it is thoughtful reading and very relevant to the tai chi learning curve. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/17/opinion/david-brooks-learning-is-no-easy-task.html

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on The Structures of Growth, New York Times

Tai Chi Chuan and Allowing

Posted By Tom Daly on March 19th, 2017

Tai Chi Chuan and Allowing

Navesink

Before he died, blind and emaciated,
my grandfather, who loved the opera,
told me sometimes
among the tall trees he walked and
listened to the sound
of a river entering the sea
by letting itself be swallowed.

Meghan O’Rourke, New Yorker, 3.13.17

This lovely poem reminds me of where we want to go in practicing Tai Chi. We want the chi of the world to swallow us up and let it become you. The key word here is “letting”. This is truly hard “to do” because you can’t DO it, you need to set up conditions where this is possible and allow it, conditions such as relax, body upright, feet flat, beautiful lady’s wrist, integration of movement, mindful resting…

I recall someone saying that Professor said that the universe is full of chi and it is free, but it is very hard to access.

As the poem implies, this is a kind of death. A death of separation, a refusal to allow nature its wonder and your participation in that wonder.

Now it is up to you.

 

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan and Allowing

Tai Chi Chuan – What I…

Posted By Tom Daly on February 5th, 2017

Tai Chi Chuan – What I ….

It has struck me recently how often what we want is somewhere else, when what we need is right in front of us. And we focus on what we want.

This happens in tai chi class all the time. The student craves a certain experience, so (s)he abandons or resists what they are doing in the present.

I wonder how often I do this – anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

One thing is for sure. Tai chi, like what we want, is an exercise about letting go.

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan – What I…

New York Times article on the benefits of relaxation

Posted By Tom Daly on December 6th, 2016

New York Times article on the benefits of relaxation

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/relax-youll-be-more-productive.html?contentCollection=smarter-living&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

THINK for a moment about your typical workday. Do you wake up tired? Check your e-mail before you get out of bed? Skip breakfast or grab something on the run that’s not particularly nutritious? Rarely get away from your desk for lunch? Run from meeting to meeting with no time in between? Find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume of e-mail you receive? Leave work later than you’d like, and still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings?

More and more of us find ourselves unable to juggle overwhelming demands and maintain a seemingly unsustainable pace. Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.

“More, bigger, faster.” This, the ethos of the market economies since the Industrial Revolution, is grounded in a mythical and misguided assumption — that our resources are infinite.

Time is the resource on which we’ve relied to get more accomplished. When there’s more to do, we invest more hours. But time is finite, and many of us feel we’re running out, that we’re investing as many hours as we can while trying to retain some semblance of a life outside work.

Although many of us can’t increase the working hours in the day, we can measurably increase our energy. Science supplies a useful way to understand the forces at play here. Physicists understand energy as the capacity to do work. Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable. Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us. The idea is also at odds with the prevailing work ethic in most companies, where downtime is typically viewed as time wasted. More than one-third of employees, for example, eat lunch at their desks on a regular basis. More than 50 percent assume they’ll work during their vacations.

In most workplaces, rewards still accrue to those who push the hardest and most continuously over time. But that doesn’t mean they’re the most productive.

Spending more hours at work often leads to less time for sleep and insufficient sleep takes a substantial toll on performance. In a study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out. A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.

The Stanford researcher Cheri D. Mah found that when she got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practicedramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9 percent.

Daytime naps have a similar effect on performance. When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap — and slept an average of 19 minutes — they performed much better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time.

Longer naps have an even more profound impact than shorter ones. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that a 60- to 90-minute nap improved memory test results as fully as did eight hours of sleep.

MORE vacations are similarly beneficial. In 2006, the accounting firm Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm.

As athletes understand especially well, the greater the performance demand, the greater the need for renewal. When we’re under pressure, however, most of us experience the opposite impulse: to push harder rather than rest. This may explain why a recent survey by Harris Interactive found that Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012 — up from 6.2 days in 2011.

The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.

In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives.

The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.

Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.

“To maximize gains from long-term practice,” Dr. Ericsson concluded, “individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”

I’ve systematically built these principles into the way I write. For my first three books, I sat at my desk for up 10 hours a day. Each of the books took me at least a year to write. For my two most recent books, I wrote in three uninterrupted 90-minute sessions — beginning first thing in the morning, when my energy was highest — and took a break after each one.

Along the way, I learned that it’s not how long, but how well, you renew that matters most in terms of performance. Even renewal requires practice. The more rapidly and deeply I learned to quiet my mind and relax my body, the more restored I felt afterward. For one of the breaks, I ran. This generated mental and emotional renewal, but also turned out to be a time in which some of my best ideas came to me, unbidden. Writing just four and half hours a day, I completed both books in less than six months and spent my afternoons on less demanding work.

The power of renewal was so compelling to me that I’ve created a business around it that helps a range of companies including Google, Coca-Cola, Green Mountain Coffee, the Los Angeles Police Department, Cleveland Clinic and Genentech.

Our own offices are a laboratory for the principles we teach. Renewal is central to how we work. We dedicated space to a “renewal” room in which employees can nap, meditate or relax. We have a spacious lounge where employees hang out together and snack on healthy foods we provide. We encourage workers to take renewal breaks throughout the day, and to leave the office for lunch, which we often do together. We allow people to work from home several days a week, in part so they can avoid debilitating rush-hour commutes. Our workdays end at 6 p.m. and we don’t expect anyone to answer e-mail in the evenings or on the weekends. Employees receive four weeks of vacation from their first year.

Our basic idea is that the energy employees bring to their jobs is far more important in terms of the value of their work than is the number of hours they work. By managing energy more skillfully, it’s possible to get more done, in less time, more sustainably. In a decade, no one has ever chosen to leave the company. Our secret is simple — and generally applicable. When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work.

Tony Schwartz is the chief executive officer of The Energy Project and the author, most recently, of “Be Excellent at Anything.”

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on New York Times article on the benefits of relaxation

Exercise Fights Depression – New York Times article

Posted By Tom Daly on November 20th, 2016

Exercise fights Depression – New York Times article

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/well/move/how-exercise-might-keep-depression-at-bay.html?contentCollection=smarter-living&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Exercise may be an effective treatment for depression and might even help prevent us from becoming depressed in the first place, according to three timely new studies. The studies pool outcomes from past research involving more than a million men and women and, taken together, strongly suggest that regular exercise alters our bodies and brains in ways that make us resistant to despair

Scientists have long questioned whether and how physical activity affects mental health. While we know that exercise alters the body, how physical activity affects moods and emotions is less well understood.

Past studies have sometimes muddied rather than clarified the body and mind connections. Some randomized controlled trials have found that exercise programs, often involving walking, ease symptoms in people with major depression.

But many of these studies have been relatively small in scale or had other scientific deficiencies. A major 2013 review of studies related to exercise and depression concluded that, based on the evidence then available, it was impossible to say whether exercise improved the condition. Other past reviews similarly have questioned whether the evidence was strong enough to say that exercise could stave off depression.

A group of global public-health researchers, however, suspected that newer studies and a more rigorous review of the statistical evidence might bolster the case for exercise as a treatment of and block against depression.

So for the new analyses, they first gathered all of the most recent and best-designed studies about depression and exercise.

Then, for perhaps the most innovative of the new studies, which was published last month in Preventive Medicine, they focused on whether exercise could help to prevent someone from developing depression.

The scientists knew that many past studies of that topic had relied on people providing reports about how much they had exercised. We human beings tend to be notoriously unreliable in our memories of past workouts, though.

So the researchers decided to use only past studies that had objectively measured participants’ aerobic fitness, which will rise or fall depending on whether and how much someone exercises. Participants’ mental health also had to have been determined with standard testing at the start and finish of the studies, and the follow-up time needed to have been at least a year and preferably longer.

Ultimately, the researchers found several large-scale past studies that met their criteria. Together, they contained data on more than 1,140,000 adult men and women.

Among these million-plus people, the links between fitness and mental health turned out to be considerable. When the researchers divided the group into thirds, based on how aerobically fit they were, those men and women with the lowest fitness were about 75 percent more likely to have been given diagnoses of depression than the people with the greatest fitness. The men and women in the middle third were almost 25 percent more likely to develop depression than those who were the most fit.

In a separate study (some of the scientists were involved in each of the reviews), researchers looked at whether exercise might be useful as a treatment for depression. In that analysis, which was published in June in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, they pooled data from 25 past studies in which people with clinically diagnosed depression began some type of exercise program. Each study had to include a control group that did not exercise and be otherwise methodologically sophisticated.

The pooled results persuasively showed that exercise, especially if it is moderately strenuous, such as brisk walking or jogging, and supervised, so that people complete the entire program, has a “large and significant effect” against depression, the authors wrote. People’s mental health tended to demonstrably improve if they were physically active.

The final review offers some hints about why. Published in February in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, it took on the difficult issue of what happens within our bodies during and after exercise that might affect and improve our moods. The researchers analyzed 20 past studies in which scientists had obtained blood samples from people with major depression before and after they had exercised. The samples on the whole indicated that exercise significantly reduced various markers of inflammation and increased levels of a number of different hormones and other biochemicals that are thought to contribute to brain health.

But the researchers also caution that most of the physiological studies they reviewed were too small and short-term to allow for firm conclusions about how exercise might change the brain to help fight off gloom.

Still, the three reviews together make a sturdy case for exercise as a means to bolster mental as well as physical health, said Felipe Barreto Schuch, an exercise scientist at the Centro Universitário La Salle in Canoas, Brazil, who, with Brendon Stubbs, a professor at King’s College in London, was a primary author on all of the reviews.

Many more experiments are still needed to determine the ideal amounts and types of exercise that might help both to prevent and treat depression, Dr. Schuch said.

But he encouraged anyone feeling overwhelmed by recent events, or just by life, to go for a run or a bike ride. “The main message” of his and his colleagues’ reviews, he said, “is that people need to be active to improve their mental health.”

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Exercise Fights Depression – New York Times article

Tai Chi Chuan, the subway, life…

Posted By Tom Daly on October 29th, 2016

Tai Chi Chuan, the subway, life…

It struck me on the subway the other day, being knocked about, jostled, shaken, rattled, that much of life is what is being done to you.

I don’t mean this in a victimhood way, but in the sense that much of what happens is a result of the natural course of events exacting their will on your existence.

The subway does you. You ride it for a convenience, but the experience is sort of out of your hands.

Well, not entirely. I saw a guy stand on his feet without using any arms support. He turned his subway ride into a game to challenge himself. This has no impact on the subway, just his enhanced balance.

Gravity also does you. Your spinal structure does you too. Your physical reactions to humidity, heat and cold also do you. There are lots of things that impact your experience that simply are. You go with the flow, take advantage of the situation as best you can, fight it (not necessarily a bad way to go), guard against it, give in to it (not necessarily a good way to go), or resist it.

And so it is with tai chi, where I believe you take advantage of those forces and use them to your advantage. While there are forces to contend with, there are ways to harness those forces. They can help you.

In a way, this feels like those amazing human beings who take a horrible situation and turn it into a profound experience. There are many such individuals, right? The forces are now less an obstacle, but a challenge and even, perhaps, a game, a way to create a benefit.

Back on the subway, I tend to view such impositions as things that are in my way.  If only, I whine, if only…

If only the subway was not so loud and noisy and screechy. (People who can’t hear would LOVE to hear those sounds.) If it was really smooth. If all passengers were more civil. If I could always get a seat.

Tai chi has something to say about all this.

In push hands, in my view, what you always do is accommodate the other. The same with sword dueling. Their force or strength, the way they manipulate, their intention, all these can be to your advantage. Hard to believe, but anyone in push hands or sword, even if they cannot do it well, know this is true. Not resisting, non-doing, relaxation are all integral to this art. The question here is who is softer?

It takes tremendous skill to find this way. There are many who don’t even see it, and continue to make it game of dominance, a “martial art”. The question here is who is winning?

The form itself uses forces as they are to give you a new way to interact with life forces. Gravity, the ground, the air, the spine that keeps you upright, the use of natural energy to spring out of the ground to shift to the next leg. It’s all non-doing, it’s all taking advantage of what you live in, and it finds a way to let relaxation bring out these advantages.

A true challenge!

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan, the subway, life…

Tai Chi Chuan – A Meaningful Activity or an Activity with Meaning?

Posted By Tom Daly on April 25th, 2016

Tai Chi Chuan – A Meaningful Activity or an Activity with Meaning?

Is the value in tai chi the meaning you bring to it? Or is it meaningful by virtue of the experience that happens as you participate.

I think of a friend of mine, Ted, who clearly feels his time is best spent with activities that HAVE meaning.  Teaching, protesting, volunteerism, making money so you can support a worthy cause, and so forth.  All of these have meaning and some activities carry the meaning along with them.

The other end of spectrum is that meaning arrives purely from being IN the activity itself and bursts forth out of the activity.  Some of these may appear to be a waste of time.  Meditating, balancing the checkbook, watching a silly TV show, reading a book for pleasure on the beach, hangin’ out in a bar, or just lying on the beach (no book in sight, just getting a tan).

Tai chi crosses both areas. In one sense, it is good for health, may promote a community of likeminded individuals, may give you a martial art, or a sense of relaxation and centeredness that balances out the rest of your life.  You now have a practice that brings something meaningful that you want in life. In this regard, it has meaning. External meaning. You read about it, or a friend tells you of the benefits and you want that in your life.

Or it is just there and you participate to see what happens next.  No intrinsic meaning. Just because. Curiosity. And whatever happens happens. No manipulation, no fantasy, no desire to prove yourself or compare yourself to others. Following for the sake of following. Tai chi reveals itself to you. In this regard, it has meaning. Internal meaning. You don’t know all that much about it, but through the process of working on it, it brings some unexpected benefit to your life.

Of course, tai chi is both.  One can get in the way of the other. Or one can encourage the other.

The external approach can lead to fantasy; the internal approach can lead to self indulgence.

The external approach can motivate; the internal approach can be a deeply satisfying work of creativity.

So I often wonder why you (or I) practice tai chi.

 

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan – A Meaningful Activity or an Activity with Meaning?

Tai Chi Chuan – Doing It Your Way!

Posted By Tom Daly on April 25th, 2016

Tai Chi Chuan – Doing It Your Way?

I have run into a pattern in students. Many of them really think they know what they need in order to learn tai chi.  What exercises “work”, what type of exercise, how the class should go, what mix of instruction works and so forth.  They decide a certain exercise is a waste of time, but another one is invaluable.  If they find another one confusing or difficult, no need to waste any time on it. Best to get back to their comfort zone and do it their way.

It’s sad to say but the best thing to do is pay attention and try to do your best, regardless of the exercise. Yep, it is that simple and that difficult.

Don’t decide what is good and not good, right and wrong, helpful or not helpful. It is stunning that some students approach class as if they KNOW what they need. If the exercise is deemed unworthy (too simple, not really about tai chi, too difficult) they pass it by.  Not only do they pass up an opportunity to try something new or challenging, but they pass by a possibility of LEARNING something NEW.  It is BECAUSE it is hard, or simple, or seemingly not what they think it should be that it may have tremendous value. And you will never know unless you put your heart and soul into it, in this moment. And even if the moment fails you, that success doesn’t happen NOW, it may come back to enlighten you another time.  There is no wasted time in keeping at it in tai chi class.

The only wasted time is when you have decided that you don’t have to work at this moment, this exercise, this movement, that you don’t have to pay attention, or work at it.

I have been guilty of the same.  Maggie would have us do something over and over and over and yes, sometimes I’d think “what a waste of time.”  But I did it anyway, as best I could.  Then a few days later a light bulb would go off, and WOW, I get what that was all about.  And I learned something new.

I have to admit, my behavior at times was not helpful in class.  I went through a period as Maggie’s assistant that I felt I had heard her words so many times that I didn’t need to listen any more. So I would go to the side of the class and start to talk to someone about something else. Maggie noticed.  But for some reason, she never called me on it. Why, I really don’t know. It finally dawned on me that just being still and listening to her thoughts one more time was less disruptive to her, and a new discipline that I needed to conquer. You never know how the lesson might strike you on repeat # 134. You just don’t know…

It’s what you don’t want to do that often gives you the greatest lesson.  This mindlessly simple exercise may hold the key.  This confusing sequence may ultimately build that muscle of concentration merely by keeping at it.

It is rarely easy this thing called tai chi.  It is rarely simple.  And often what we don’t like is what we really need.

And the oddity of all this is that a student is in class to learn.  Since when is learning about what you already know or feel good about? It’s the challenge in facing what you don’t know that truly makes you grow. It’s not whether the result you want emerges, it’s all about the effort you put into it. That’s tai chi!

I often tell students that even bad practice is good practice.  Why? Because the effort to engage with something difficult will always pay off. No one begins tai chi “getting it”.  Most of us flounder and sometimes flounder for years before something clicks.

Essentially, I am talking about resistance. In many forms. Resistance can be an insistence that this exercise doesn’t help, won’t work, it is useless, it is not entertaining, it is physically too demanding, I don’t have a natural skill set working for me here, my physical limitations prevent me from learning this, and so forth.

In tai chi, we are working on letting resistance go. And sometimes the only way to do that is to get even more involved in the task at hand: not involving yourself in the belief that you KNOW this isn’t going to help before you stick with it and see what happens.

Look, I have Irish genes.  We are famous for being stubborn. Resistance is practically my middle name! Why do you think we are called the “Fighting Irish”?

I recall a very good student saying that once she gave up trying to “get it”, class time opened up and was far more gratifying and valuable.  The resistance? It was thinking that if you don’t “get” something, you are wasting your time.

One way to “get” but not try to get is to just “be” with the exercise. Let it do YOU. Follow without effort or desire for result.

This is more than just “go along to get along”. It’s more along the lines of you have to “be in it to win it.” (Can you tell I like Hallmark cards?)

There will always be challenges that elude you. And a life full of constant effort is not a good way to live. We do need our comfort time. It’s important. But keep in mind that in a tai chi class, you also need a patient determination and trust that your efforts will help.

Do you know how some people feel when they don’t resist? They feel like they don’t exist.

Our tendency to resist is so deep, hard to see, hard to overcome. It can feel like life itself.

Others find freedom when they don’t resist.

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan – Doing It Your Way!

Tai Chi Chuan – Like Learning to Play an Instrument By Ear

Posted By Tom Daly on April 9th, 2016

This article reminds me of tai chi in so many ways.  Worth a careful read!

Tom

www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/magazine/learning-to-play-by-ear-in-iran.html?ref=world&_r=0

Posted in Philosophy
Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan – Like Learning to Play an Instrument By Ear

Tai Chi Chuan and Listening

Posted By Tom Daly on February 25th, 2016

Tai Chi Chuan and Listening

I’m always amazed at how poor most folk’s listening skills are.  I’ve done a lot of work on my own listening skills.  I’d say I have moved from D+ to maybe a B-. A few F’s here and there.

But even worse than listening to others, we rarely listen to ourselves.  By that I mean, what we say, what it means, how others hear it – this never registers. Often, we are clueless.

When we speak, there are two of us present, not just one.

And one would hope that tai chi might have some influence on this because so much of it has to do with awareness.  We begin with ourselves, we then work with others.  Yet how rare it is to see any of this spill into everyday life.

Let me give you an example of poor vs. good listening in life.

Poor:

T: I’m going to India.

B: wow, I know lots of people who have gone to India and hated it, though some have loved it. I think people get sick over there so you should be careful. The Taj Mahal is really worth seeing, my aunt was stunned by it, but she doesn’t want to go back to India, too many poor people, too sad.

(We’ve all been there!)

Good:

T: I’m going to India.

B: Where? (pause.)

What brings you to India? (pause.)

Do you have your reservation yet? (pause.)

When are you going? (pause.)

The point being, good listening engages the speaker to express themselves, poor listening takes control of the conversation.

In the poor example, B doesn’t even hear himself.  He just rattles on, oblivious to the statement T just made. (Because what T really said was: I’m going to India, do you find this of interest?) In certain situations, if you tell B what he just said, he may be surprised, deny it, or get angry. Or just not care.

The inability to hear yourself comes to mind in an example in Stephen Sondheim’s Passion.  Fosca (sad, sickly) is walking with a soldier she later comes to love.  He is rattling on about love in very idealistic and noble terms. He doesn’t see her need, her challenge in terms of intimacy, the improbability of attaining this ethereal concept in her sickly and somewhat morbid state.  She then lets him have it big time, pouring out her reaction to his self indulgent puffy nonsense. Let me paraphrase: “How dare you talk to me of such nonsense when it should be clear to both of us that this will never happen for me. Why taunt me with such a concept?” He wasn’t listening to what he was saying. Or who he was saying it to. Clueless.

Tai chi.

It would foolish to think that tai chi would change all this, yet the kernel of change is there.  You begin by listening to your body. For most beginners, this is a foreign concept. We never see our habits, never see our inability, and never see how our movement doesn’t match what the teacher demonstrates. Most who begin tai chi quit rather quickly. It’s a slow process.

Then we work in push hands, and again, mostly your partner is viewed in terms of what I want. As in, I want to do something to this person. But the study is more about being WITH this person and you become less and less while what they are doing/wanting becomes more and more. The only way to hear this person is to be empty. A favorite teacher I know says, “There is only one mind here, and it’s YOUR (the partner’s) mind.” His mind has been put on hold and now he can better hear you.

I highly recommend books on listening. There are lots of good ones on the market.

In tai chi, I recommend being even more attentive to what you are doing in the form and what your partner is doing in push hands.  By this I mean attentive like you might observe a laboratory rat.  How does it move? What does it want? What makes it go for the heroin?  Start with investigation, not manipulation. Be curious. Don’t fix it, just see it. Give it some time to be itself and see what that is. We move on from there…

We learn more from our flaws than from anything else. Begin with here and now, not some fantasy of who you would like to be. Find a time to listen, on every level, in some period of time, to something.

Just listen. Nothing else. Allow presence of this body, air, that person, sound, a feeling, ground, silence.

 

 

 

Comments Off on Tai Chi Chuan and Listening