I've been learning Tai Chi for about thirteen years. That makes me a near-beginner in this oh-so-subtle "soft style" martial art. Before taking up Tai Chi I studied "hard style" martial arts for about the same length of time.
So I guess I've reached sort of a balance point.
My previous Tai Chi-related posts are here, on my other blog. For some reason I haven't written about Tai Chi for five years. This hasn't been from a lack of interest. It must be because Tai Chi is something I do and experience much more than I think about it.
Well, lately I've been thinking about what I've learned about flow from my Tai Chi practice. Which is closely related to softness, another core Tai Chi principle.
Probably the most frequent advice I get from my instructor, Warren Allen, is "relax," "softer," and "don't try so hard."
And this is after thirteen years! When I started learning Tai Chi after those karate-focused years of training, Warren said those things way more often. So... some progress.
It's so easy to try too hard. Forcing usually feels more natural than flowing, because we're used to trying to accomplish things through effort, energy, determination, strength.
But what Tai Chi teaches -- this is basically Taoism expressed through physical movement -- is that flowing with someone's movement, even if that movement is a punch to your face, is a highly effective way of dealing with both bodily and psychological situations.
Partly this is due to the weakness of strength and rigidity.
When someone tightens up (again, either physically or mentally), this creates a lever that can be used against them. For example, if someone grabs your wrist with a tight grip, your moving forward, backward, or to the side will take that person in the same direction, since they've connected themselves to you.
This principle is sort of akin to the adage, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."
Redirecting a punch with a soft, flowing movement will have more of an effect on the person making that strike if it was done with a lot of force, because there is more energy in the punch. Hence, more energy in the redirection.
So if someone is angry with you, responding softly and flowingly (albeit firmly, in a sense; Tai Chi doesn't advocate becoming a limp marshmallow) should result in a better outcome than responding in kind: harshly, strongly, emotionally.
"Better" refers both to how the other person feels and, equally importantly, how you feel.
Probably the most important thing I've learned from my Tai Chi practice is this:
My primary goal throughout my daily life shouldn't be to achieve this or that, because often that isn't under my control. Rather, I need to focus on feeling a sense of flow and softness in whatever I'm doing, rather than a sense of tightness and tension.
Of course, being relaxed often leads to a better outcome. But this is more of a side benefit.
I've learned that if I view flowing and softness as a means to an end, this produces rigidity in me, because now I've attached myself to that goal in much the same way someone grabs hold of a person with a strong grip.
It's tough to flow when you're attached to something.
So what works better for me is to view flow as a good in and of itself. If I feel myself getting tight, anxious, upset, or tense, I try (but not too hard!) to relax, let go, flow -- trusting that whatever comes from this will be fine, and without worrying very much about what that whatever might be.
Hopefully I've said something here that can be understood. This is a difficult subject to write about. Like Tai Chi, it is subtle, personal, internal. Regardless, I've enjoyed this attempt to put into words what I've come to feel more than I've thought about it.
When the assault and reception of it are both part of the same exact moment, they are connected, and that to an even deeper series of events. Can we even view an assailant as separate from ourselves? I think that is where we recoil, react, and create friction.
I like the idea of focus and adaptation. We do our part like a good cog in an enormous clock, without introducing any other extraneous thing. We are simply delivering the food from the kitchen, and then removing plates from the tables back to the kitchen.
Our part is very small, simple, essential. And it is done in perfect synchronicity, perfect focus understanding this limited role, that is one limited part of something vast and, even in its horrors, great.
Posted by: Spencer Tepper | June 29, 2017 at 02:31 AM
Love does all that, music too
Hence the idea of giving the biker a self driving & parking stereo equipped Lamborghini
Posted by: 777 | June 30, 2017 at 10:18 AM
I HAVE SOME NEWS TO TELL :
Recently I lost the Anahabed Sound and it was very frustrating because
as I said earlier : rather soon even when it is tiny, -because of the sweetness- you find out that the Sound is really You, Yourself, Intrinsicly , much more than the body , even the brain processes , so when it goes away that gives a kind of heart breaking sentiment
Like when your all time beloved companion died
Anyway, I learned -through the years - that That super phenomenon can be modulated and yes indeed so by the 5 Holy Words
but this time it didn't work
I tried and tried but silence all over my place
Then I thought about my declaring here that even non rssb initiated can hear the Sound ( how easy it is )
I explained that going to a soundless place like a recording studio
and we try out to be soundlessness - and that that is very difficult
you start to hear all body workings like when under water with yr ears in a buth tube
and eliminating all that , . . . one cannot avoid to hear it
I claimed that anybody of reasonable compassion would be able
but recently I was really unable during 2 and half days
Then I found out that the Holy Words for triggering lose their potential when there is something bbasicly incorrect c q dishonest in our/my reasoning process
Yes I was convinced of a "meme" , a concept but it was a lie
to myself, first I said 3% of a lie haha
A little bit like the expression from the Buddha : "the biggest sin existing is that : manupulating your intellectual process - not saying here : conscience - i"m not an ethiker, just a tryer, - I meah like Hitler couldn(t have done what he did without first telling himself ( reasoning ) that that was a good thing to do
Then I analysed my way of thinking and if I always tell the truth without arrogance
I"m now as if I had received a needy bath
and everything according to Jim's process of the aspirin
Many serendipities involved, . . HE is active every second . . (when we allow that)
Like Brians "Go with the Flow" , this is somewhat similar although I stand firmly with the former comment
Love does all that
Thanks to the Guy who has put his Power in my 5 words
It s unbelievable subtle , this Sound & Light Path
Thank You Guys for reading
The tiny basic 24/7 Sound is what I talk about here , it's seemingly not the same as the roaring sound, the explosive sounds (w love ) , the implosing sounds, the fibonnacci sounds , Heaven on Earth Sounds within meditation but always by LOVE
It's like a 5 stages rocket but no separations of engines
Posted by: 777 | July 04, 2017 at 04:30 AM