Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | December 19, 2011

Merry Tai Chi Christmas

I work in retail to pay the bills, and my entire life belongs to retail from Black Friday on. It can be disconcerting and frustrating if you fight it, but it becomes a little easier if you let go of trying to protect your free time and give in to it. Not in a surrender I give up sort of way, but just not being upset that I don’t have the mindset to work on a book or post more often on my blog. We do what we do with an inner smile, work hard, give it our best, and as the Tao De Ching says, step back and let the rest work itself out.

There are plenty of opportunities to give in to frustration, but they are opportunities for learning and dissolving of the negative emotions. The season is a season of peace and goodwill, and throw in a little taoist balance and rhythm and you have the makings of a very merry tai chi Christmas.

Christmas is a time to be a center, to be a counterbalance for those around you who are spinning out of control. Shine. Let the spirit you have been cultivating in your practice be your gift to those around you.
Merry Christmas!



  1. Loved your Christmas post Mike. Happy New Year!

  2. If we wait for conditions to be perfect before we practice, we’ll be waiting a long time indeed. Our lives have rhythms and the sooner we learn to live with those rhythms, the better off we’ll be.

    From Zhuang Zi:

    Kong Zi (Confucius) was observing the view from the Lu Liang Mountains where there was a waterfall three hundred feet high. The foam and froth created by the water as it hit bottom extended for thirteen miles. Neither turtles, alligators, fish nor any other water creatures were able to swim in those rapids. He saw one man swimming in the current and figured he must be very troubled and was trying to commit suicide so he told his disciples to line up at the banks of the river and rescue him. After the man had gone a few hundred feet he popped up in the water with his hair trailing behind him like a blanket, singing as he floated, and swam up to the edge of the embankment and climbed out.

    Kong Zi went up to him and asked:

    “I thought you must have been some sort of ghost, but now I can see you’re a man. Please excuse me for asking, but do you have a special way to flit through water like that?”

    “No, I don’t have a special way. I started with what was inborn in me, grew up following my own nature, and accomplished what I have because of my fate. When I enter, I merge with the flow and let it carry me. When I exit, I allow myself to be floated up gently by the current. I follow the way of the water and don’t try to force against it. That’s how I flit through the water.”

    Kong Zi said:

    “What do you mean by starting with what is inborn, growing up following your own nature, and accomplishing due to fate?”

    “I was born from a pile of dirt so I’m comfortable in the hills – that’s what’s inborn. I grew from the water, so I’m comfortable in water – that’s my nature. I don’t know why I am the way I am, but I’m comfortable being what I am – that’s fate.”

  3. The average person is like an eccentric flywheel — a flywheel that isn’t centered properly. The faster the wheel turns, the more violently it vibrates. At a certain speed, its vibration may actually cause it to fly apart.

    Most people are frequently in danger of “flying apart,” at least mentally. Living at their periphery, not at their center, they vibrate more violently the faster they whirl through life. It is safe to say that few people think of themselves as even having a center. They are forever “on edge.”

    One problem with living at your periphery is that it forces you to relate to other people at theirs. They, in turn, will be “on edge” with you. Your understanding of them, and theirs of you, will be a view from the outside; it will therefore be superficial. As opposed to the concept, “center everywhere, circumference nowhere,” most people perceive life as “circumference everywhere, center nowhere.”

    — So wrote Swami Kriyananda, echoing you. Merry Christmas!

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