Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | April 10, 2009

Mindfulness

One of the contemplative benefits of practicing tai chi chuan is developing a sense of mindfulness. I first encountered this concept while practicing centering prayer as a catholic and then when learning about zen techniques. It is a beatiful thing to be mindful of everything around you, aware of what you are doing in the moment, mindful of yourself and your place in the grand scheme of things. It is a focused attention. We are encouraged to be mindful in everyhting we do; opening a door, eating our food, sitting, walking. It develps a clarity of thought and a connection to the things around us, making us aware of our connection and part of a whole.

It’s interesting to compare the concept of mindfulness with wei wu wei, or no mind, or non action, non thought. It’s as if we are working, during our practice of tai chi, towards both goals at the same time; to be focused and mindful of each miniscule movement in the forms, to be aware fully and consciously of our external and internal bodies, to experience the energies at work, the chi, as it were, and also working towards the goal of no mind, non action, being in the zone, being able to act without thinking about it, developing the intuitive side.

I don’t think the two goals are working against each other. It’s a seeming paradox but not. So, be mindful today. Focus your mind and attention on what you are doing in the moment. This mindfulness will open you up to the way of things, the tao in other words, the process, the system that is at play, and it will bring you to that place where you’ll be aware of the synchronicity of things, and help you to make decisions and choices from a wu wei place.

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