“All changes and motions are conceived and touched off in the stillness of absolute quietude. . .” –A Mnemonic of Thirteen Tai Chi Chuan Movements
A few weeks back, Josefina and I were at Suzie’s Studio for our Saturday morning Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong class. In the warm quiet of this lovely space the class participants had relaxed into what we would describe as ‘a state of healing peace.’ Then, into the stillness of the morning came the sound of a rolling, rackety skateboard. The sound persisted. The sound grew louder. The skateboard and its rider were now in the parking lot and it appeared the rider had found the perfect place to practice—right in front of our studio door. . .
This experience brought home in a humorous way some of the more profound benefits one can realize from practicing the Internal Martial and Healing Arts, including: mental clarity, focus and stability, calmness, joy and peace of mind.
We live in an increasingly noisy world that competes for our attention with whispers and bangs, and everything in between. In addition to the sounds of life and activity all around us, our focus is often distracted by numerous technological ‘connections,’ and our minds are filled to the brim with thoughts and concerns of all kinds that continually intrude upon the precious moments of quiet we try to carve out for ourselves. Over time, this ‘noise’ can have a cumulative and sometimes damaging effect upon our nervous system, our general health and well-being.
In our Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong classes, we speak about the many benefits of cultivating an all-encompassing awareness—the ability to be deeply aware of what is happening in both your inner and outer environments, without being distracted away from whatever it is you are engaged in, be it the practices of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong, or any life activity. It is this gently-penetrating focus that allows the practitioner to deeply rest, relax, release—and quite literally—let go of stress, trauma or discomfort on all levels of body, mind, emotions and spirit. Perhaps even more importantly, it allows one to find quietude, clarity and peace of mind amidst chaos, and that ability is no small thing.
It was inspiring to see how well the class participants maintained their gently-relaxed focus, despite the persistent, rolling racket just outside the door. Towards the end of the class, the rider rolled away and continued on down the street. I found it interesting that of all the places in the neighborhood the skateboard rider could have chosen to practice, he chose the place right outside our studio. The timing of it all was interesting, too. A few minutes later, we brought the class to conclusion and looking at one another, smiled in understanding.
“Thank you,” Josefina said, her palms covering her heart. “Thank you for helping support our meditations.”
Yes. Thank you!
© 2012 Elizabeth Meloney—All rights reserved.