I have been reading ancient Chinese philosophy for years. It is the basis of Tai Chi and Qigong. It teaches us to slow down, feel good, be in the moment, understand what is important, to find the right path of our own life. It can change your life. You can do it by studying the literature. Reading Lao Tzu, Confucius, Mencius is powerful. Especially with a great professor asking the pertinent questions that get you thinking in a new way.
You can achieve the same thing through the regular practice of Tai Chi or Qigong. The movements and visualization take you to a different place where there is quiet (something that is often rare in our lives). It allows you to ‘discover’ your own ideas as you move in silence like an elephant walking across the plains of Africa to the watering hole. The elephant is not worried about politics, income, or test scores. Elephants don’t listen to the news. For the few minutes we do Tai Chi we can be an elephant. We escape from the stress and turmoil of our daily lives. As the elephant trunk hangs down, we relax our necks and shoulders letting go of the worries and frustrations we carry. We visualize the peacefulness of being outside in the warm fresh air, drinking water and showering it over our backs. It is just the right temperature. It feels so good.
When I teach Tai Chi in the schools this is what happens. The naughty child is no longer naughty. He is an elephant drinking water, just the way elephants do. The frightened student no longer has a tummy ache. She is focused on swinging her trunk in a graceful movement back and forth. The over anxious student can let go of stress by visualizing the breeze and fresh air as we saunter towards the watering hole.
Students tell me that doing Tai Chi is like taking a trip, leaving school for a few minutes. They have had a real break. And now they can get back to work.
Read the article about the Harvard class in Chinese philosophy here. And read some Lao Tzu. It is a beautiful philosophy. You can read a verse each day to start your day peacefully.
Here is the 8th Verse from the TAO TEH CHING by Lao Tzu
The wise one models one’s life on the example of flowing water.
Water benefits all things and does not contend with them.
Water stays in low places, no one can look up to it.
The way of water exemplifies the fulfillment of spiritual virtue.
I love to picture a flowing stream, moving gently around anything in the way, continuing along its path, and in time, benefitting and changing everything it touches. Tai chi helps us live that way, too. Don’t we wish everyone could adopt that philosophy? Doing Tai Chi helps.