Updated: Dec 3, 2017
Taiji Qigong are simply Chinese words for something that appears in many forms of discipline. Yoga, in essence, is Taiji Qigong. Zen is Taiji Qigong. Taiji Qigong is what it is. No more, no less.
Taiji Qigong was created by Daoists observing nature, as documented in the Inner Cannon of the Yellow Emperor - the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia. Where they studied the circadian rhythms in humans, how the earth's rotation created seasons, how living organisms worked within these cycles, and how human beings could learn from this, and live in rhythm and harmony according to nature. This was a creative process that made Taiji Qigong a spontaneous form, that when looked out from the outside, one would see an elegant, effortless simplicity of continuous movement. But as so many people have experienced, when you begin to learn, it can be hard, because you're fighting between the exacting structure and then seems to be so unattainable. The essence of Taiji Qigong for health and well-being has somewhat been lost through translation and The Mother Form brings it back to it's purest form.
2nd October, the 2017 Noble Prize winners in physiology and medicine was awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young for their discovery of “molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” The trio won the prize for their discovery of “molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” In short, the researchers were able to “peek inside” the biological clocks of living organisms — which help to regulate sleep patterns, feeding behaviour, hormone release, and blood pressure — to better understand how life responds to the Earth’s rotation. It is a wonderful day when science recognises the work of ancient wisdom and knowledge.
Embracing Dao and Zen
Daoism, which gave birth to Zen Buddhism re inexplicably linked with similar ideas and thought processes but with slightly different approaches in the methodologies and practices which we can all embrace. The basis for both of these living philosophical traditions are all established on the senses of meditation and movement, flow and awareness, which are the key elements for capturing the true essence of Taiji Qigong.
The Daoist Approach.
Wu Wei is the Daoist principle of action without action, or going with the flow. Wu wei is not about non-action, laziness or passivity. It simply encourages us to take actions that are in alignment with everything else in nature, creating a beautiful harmony that makes your life simple, effective, happy, and stress free.
Struggling and forcing your way through life doesn't help to achieve goals. It is exhausting, stressing, and tiring putting so much effort into your life. Life really shouldn’t be this hard, should it?
It's like standing by the side of a flowing river, getting in, and trying to swim upstream against the current. Even with a slow-moving river, you can find yourself splashing and struggling just to stay in the same place. Then if you were to get out and check your progress: you'd be exactly where you started! Only then, much more exhausted.
Sometimes we spend a lifetime, swimming upstream. Being stubborn, no way out, scared of change, can't let go; are all excuses. What if you got back in the water and just lightly floated in the direction of the current? The only ‘effort’ you make is to keep yourself pointed in the right direction so that nature can do its work. What do you have to lose? Instead of using your own effort to force results, you simply recognise the movements of nature and get yourself in alignment with them. You flow down the river with the current.This is wu wei at is finest.
This is all pretty simple as long as you want to float in the direction of the river, but what happens when you want to go in a different direction? This is where of the skills of Taiji Qigong come in, we learn how to use the river's power to move against the river itself.
At first it may seem like wu wei encourages you to release control over your life and float wherever the river takes you. This is a good first step and a great practice for letting go, but it is not the aim. Those who understand wu wei can use the principle to go wherever they want to go without putting too much effort or struggle.
Wu wei can improve your life, your health, your relationships, your happiness and more. But the interesting thing about wu wei is that there is nothing you can do for it to take effect. But there are things you can undo. You can loosen your grip. Let people and circumstances go. Find the path of least resistance. Be happier and less stressed. You can breathe, smile, and go with the flow.
The Zen Approach
Understanding the beautiful Japanese Zen concept of Kintsugi, can inform and inspire us in the the ways that we live and heal.
When a bowl is broken in Japan it's put back together with the cracks being filled with gold, Kintsugi; creating a beautiful distinctive pattern, to emphasise the beauty in what was once broken.
The Japanese believe when something has suffered damage and has a history it makes it more beautiful and the same goes for human beings. Everything that you've been through and everything you're going through, doesn't make your life uglier; although it may seem that way when you're going through it. It's up to us to choose to struggle or paint with gold and make it beautiful, you are never broken beyond repair, you can pick yourself up and learn from what's happened and become a better person from it; because of the struggle you've been through. You can wear your scars proudly, as a badge of honour as if to say;
“Look at what I’ve been through, it’s made me who I am today, I can get through anything life throws at me now.”
Nobody has had a perfect life and nobody ever will. It's only up to us if we choose to paint our broken pieces gold and make it beautiful.
Don't be ashamed of what's happened to you, everything that has happened to you, has happened to you for a reason. What if you didn't have your terrible times in the past, would your beauty, your humour, your spirit be the same? The past has created the person you are today, all the good things and the bad things. Everything that hurt you, excited you, abandoned you, loved you; have created the way you are right now. Your ideas, your dreams, your personality, all of it; and because of your past, not in spite of it, you are an amazing person.
The more we deny, the more we complain and don't accept what is, or what's happened to us; just defines our relationship with life and how we live it. The moment we accept and find what's useful in the struggle, the things we have been through – that's just like us painting the cracks in our broken pieces with gold, you can turn something that could be ugly into something beautiful and inspiring.
“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.”
A whole different version of yourself. Life is filled with a series of plateaus, each higher than the next. And if we really look up at the next level, standing where we are today, what we’ll see are our future-selves, smiling – waiting for the current us to grow and catch-up. And on and on, until we reach heights we could never dream of.
So when you feel yourself change, let yourself change. Don’t hold yourself back, do not stay still in fear or something similar. Grow. It’ll be hard but you’ll find that for every drop of sweat you put into becoming a different, better, version of yourself the universe helps you just as much. Honestly, go with the flow, it’s wonderful.
TO LIVE TAIJI QIGONG IS TO RECOGNISE AND EMBRACE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF. ACCEPT THAT FLAWS AND BROKEN PIECES COME WITH TIME, LEARN TO GO WITH THE FLOW AND EMBRACE THEM AS PART OF YOUR UNIQUE AND BEAUTIFUL STORY.