The unique marriage of Tai Chi and Mindfulness Meditation is the union of China’s and India’s deepest wisdom, which is especially relevant since they both regard Life as ever changing and interconnected. This observation for many centuries seemed crazy to most people living in relatively static and isolated societies. Even as technology now globally and rapidly changes our lives, most of us are still programmed to resist change, clinging to static, embedded beliefs. This has resulted in a health crisis of ”stress” in its many emotional and physical manifestations. Unable to cope with such rapid change, many people want to go back to the past – decades or even centuries – when life seemed simple and predictable. That is not going to happen unless we destroy human civilisation as we know it, which is not impossible.
Mindfulness or Vipassana meditation is based on the Buddha’s 2500 year-old sutra on Mindfulness (Paticca-samuppada). He taught that we suffer because we try to hold on to particular (good) aspects of Life, but will inevitably fail since life is actually impermanent (always changing) and insubstantial (not solid but interdependent with other changing forces). We can liberate ourselves from suffering by letting go of our attachments and living life in each moment. Successful practice of his Dharma (teachings) requires mindfulness-awareness and non-attachment in the Now and will lead to both Wisdom (the Head) and Compassion (the Heart).
Tai Chi Chuan (taijiquan) means “Yin-Yang Fist” and is an attempt to embody Yin-Yang principles at every level – physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual. Like Vipassana, it brings your awareness into the Now, since true Yin-Yang balance is dynamic, flowing with each moment, reconciling and embracing forces that ordinarily seem to be “opposite”. I see Tai Chi Chuan as a personal work of art with yourself as the ever-changing, multi-dimensional canvas. When you practise taijiquan at its highest, you are both doing/ active as well as non-doing/ empty, hard and soft, advancing and retreating; you are connected to Heaven and Earth, inner and outer; you transcend divisions of Left-Right, East-West and more.
At the Tai Chi and Meditation Centre (TCMC), in addition to taijiquan and Vipassana Meditation, we offer other complementary, time-tested skills and knowledge including Qigong, the “internal arts” of baguazhang and xingyiquan and the Enneagram of Personality, which was passed on to me by my Vipassana master, Dhiravamsa, over 30 years ago, before books on the Enneagram.
Western medical and scientific research is increasingly substantiating the health benefits of Mindfulness Meditation, Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan.
Submitted by Andy James