T’ai Chi Ch’uan
T’ai-chi Ch’uan is an enduring, effective and complete path to awareness and harmony of body mind, and spirit. The ancient Chinese discipline uses the slow movement to study complete relaxation, accuracy of position, balance, evenness of motion, and correct breathing.
- For the body it is a martial art and a rejuvenating exercise which opens us so that internal energy (chi) can better circulate.
- For the mind, it is a study in deep, relaxed concentration.
- For the spirit, it is a system of meditation.
Whoever practices T’ai Chi over a period of time will gain the pliability of a child, the health of a lumber jack, and the peace of mind of a sage. ~Cheng man-ch’ing
T’ai Chi is the application of Taoist principles of timing, balance, and non-action and Confucian virtues of human nature applied to movement and interaction. This is the spirit, the quality of the motive of the inner arts (T’ai Chi, Bagwa, Hshing Yi, and Aikido). Cheng man-ch’ing wrote in his Hall of Happiness, “to cultivate in ourselves and others the talents and abilities with which we were born”. This is the way of T’ai Chi — always seeking to nurture even in conflict. Working this way precludes the use of force and demands the sensitivity and light touch needed to listen to another to restore balance and harmony. “The softest overcomes the hardest.” ~Lao Tzu
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The Tao Te Ching shows that the Tao is sustained on three principles — gentleness, equanimity, and humility. Someone who is gentle has no enemies. One who is frugal can afford to be generous. When one is humble no one challenges their tao.
Tao — The Way of Nature. The whole of all creation and everything of which we can conceive. It is not just the stuff — it is the way and contains many taos.
tao — The paths of the sun and fixed orbits of the planets, the growth of a seed, the course of life each have their own essential nature. Following one’s nature is following one’s tao.
Te – The ability to follow our tao. Te is not just a good idea, it is an axiom of nature as shown in the phrase, “Whatever acts unnaturally will come to an unnatural end.”
Ching – An ethics text. So Tao Te Ching can be taken to mean the ethics of Tao and Te.
Wu Wei — (non-action) Doing precisely the right amount of exactly the right thing perfectly in time with the moment.
Expounded a profound cosmological view of the human realm that serves as a beacon when applied to understanding the world and ourselves. I view Lao Tzu as the touchstone for Nature and Confucius as the touchstone for Human Nature. The following is a brief list of Confucianism virtues:
Ho — True together, where beings find fulfillment partially in and through the fulfillment of each other.
Yi — The best way to proceed is to nurture each being to act in accord with their tao; accepting each beings way as best for them.
Jen — The reciprocal willingness to do what is best to compliment and complete interactions. Jen includes discriminating awareness; taking into account differences in tao and circumstances to make space for affinity — attraction of being for being.
Hsin — Sincerity inherent in jen includes Sympathetic Insight; looking into the heart of another.
Li — The appropriate manner of behaving mindfully to express one’s tao; a best way of interacting with others.
Chih — Wisdom. Acting naturally in the best way (yi). Embodying good will. Knowing and mindfully behaving (li). Consistently embracing total willingness by wanting and doing what is best to act in accord with jen and li.
Chung — Genuine Living/Personal Integrity. Enduring commitment to living according to these principles. True to one’s essential nature. When we meddle with our tao by being too passionate, aggressive, or thoughtless we meddle with the Tao.