Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | June 4, 2009

Flick the Switch. Use Your Mind to Change Your Life

In Tai chi, when we sit into a posture, sunk at the kua and open in the ming men(lower back, if we tarry there for a bit, it’s as if we get plugged in, like a plug in a socket, like a cord to your computer, we get plugged in to the powers of gthe universe. At the same time, we become aware that we have the ability to flick(flip) the switch, to experience reality the way we want to, to have the attitude towards the things thast happen to us that we want to have.

I am speaking intuitively of things I have come to know to be true. They may sound like mystical hogwash, but there is something deep and mysterious about it. With back pain, with fear, with anxiety, really all we have to do is flick the switch and put the mind into a frame that says no to these things and just turns them off. Flick the switch from no I can’t to yes I can. I can do this. I am good. I will succeed. These are positive affirmations that will get you on the right road.

You know, I sometimes become dissapointed in my tai chi if I catch a cold or my lower back starts to ache, but you know what, these things are coming on as a result of mental stress. I know this for sure with my back, there is such a direct correlation. So, if it is coming to me from my mind, I can use my mind to turn it off. Flick the switch. You know, we really do need to begin o understand the cosmic connection of all things. Just as mass is energy and visa versa, and energy cannot be created or destroyed, we have to understand that the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual are all different manifestations of the same thing.

Thoughts are real things. They have properties, vibrations. We can send out thoughts, vibrations, emotions. It becomes an obligation or duty of the tai chi person to send out positive vibes to balance out all the negative. Let your aura become bright and strong and radiate out to the world. This is my calling.



  1. Hey Alamanach, thank you for your thoughtful words. As a funny side, I tend to pull towards the buddhist side when I see a fly or mosquito or spider in my apartment. Don’t bother me, I won’t bother you. But sometimes, like a moth, will piss me off because he’s not leaving me alone, he’s gonna eat my clothes, so I take him out. Same with bees and stuff. Leave me alone, we’re fine. Sting me, and you’re toast. Funny, isn’t it. On another note, I haven’t done this in a long while, but a good friend and I would sit outside a Starbucks and try projecting energy on insects, trying to get them to move, go in a particular direction, etc. It seemed to work, although, if you did the baseline experiment where you didn’t try to project chi, I guess the insect would have done what it was going to do. But it seemed convincing…in any event,
    p.s.-sorry to not know, but what’s the reference to “Alamanach?” What is an alamanach if anything, except a nickname?


    • Alamanach is an anglicized version of the Maasai name Alamanak, which means “Lucky.” I was lucky enough to be hiking through the Maasai Mara many years ago, and I befriended the Maasai whom I met there. I was interested enough in their culture that they named me Alamanak. Nobody else in my group was engaged enough to get a Maasai name. It seems like it’s been that way most of my life. I don’t know, some people just don’t want to dig deeply into new things.

      You insect experiments are interesting. Have you read “Journey to the West?” It deals with, among many other things, animals cultivating chi.

  2. I know the phenomenon you are talking about. As I see it, we have little control over the things of the world, but we have total control over the value we choose to place on them. Whether this housefly that is sharing my office with me will fly out the door or hang around until tomorrow is not for me to decide. What I can decide is whether or not I care. If I decide I really can’t stand flies, then some negative emotions will naturally follow. (The fly’s life expectancy will go down as well; we do, after all, have a little power over our environment. )

    What makes it tricky is that there is always a lot more than just a housefly to deal with. If it were just a fly, I could come to peace with that easily enough. But I might be worried that office visitors will be put off by the fly, and I might worry about making a good impression. Maybe I don’t care about that, either, but then what do I need this office for if I’m not going to have someone in it once in a while? And if I don’t need the office after all, then how to best dispose of it? What should I be doing with all this stuff?

    The only way to answer that question is to have a system of values that guides our decisions. So, it is not just the value we place on one thing that we need to look at, it is our entire system of values. What value I decide to place on that fly is going to subtly carry over to everything else. You are right that we can flip a switch, but that one switch affects everything.

    Sometimes in life a person can get to a place where he realizes that he could change his whole world just by changing the way he thinks about it. The hard part is having that other value system in place; the switch needs a space to flip to. Creating that space takes long work.

    But it can be done, and I think this is the very same process that you describe when you settle into Tai Chi posture. Your mind– in fact, your entire body– operates in a different mode, a mode that you have studied and learned over time. It is as though you have built a space for yourself that didn’t exist before, a space you can move into during times when the original space becomes disadvantageous.

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