Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | January 8, 2012

Tai Chi Vacation

Happy New Year Everyone! 2012 promises to be a great year.

The retail holiday madness is finally somewhat over, and I’m taking a 7 day vacation, in which I have promised everyone at work I will be going deep into hiding!

I’m actually using this week as a tai chi vacation. Not a vacation from tai chi, but a vacation centered on tai chi and the contemplative practice of tai chi chuan kung fu. It’s wonderful to have the free time to devote to my practice(although I have used down time at work to do stretch work. I’ve fixed my back using the McKenzie method, but I am woefully not stretched out. This part of the healing process has to be done very slowly so as to not redamage the tissue in my back).

So what is a tai chi vacation composed of? Seated meditation, primarily focused on energy work. Breathing in and breathing out, mind focused on the dan tien. It is amazing how much chi is developed in the dan tien simply by sitting in silence and breathing. You feel the dan tien fill, then move to all parts of the body. After a while of sitting, I am usually drawn to do some spontaneous chi kung while sitting. I try to put this off so as to let the dan tien fill, but it is also a wonderful sensation to feel the chi move through you, and move your arms and hands, feeling connected to the dan tien.

It involves practicing the forms, the yang and wu styles long forms, slowly, without rushing, but having the time this week to really delve into the movements, discover new things about the form, and continue working to making the form soft, rounded, and flowing. Trying to make every move smooth and connected. Tai chi reveals itself to you, and it also connects you to the higher source.

The vacation will be rounded out by chi kung, stretching exercises, walks in the woods if weather permits, reading, writing, and thinking and contemplation. To be able to clear the mind and not worry about the mundane secular things is a great gift.

The contemplative practice of tai chi chuan kung fu recognizes several things. This life is sacred, holy, and divine. We work to place ourselves in the presence of this holiness, and work to become holy ourselves. This is not grandiose thinking. This is who we are as human beings. We are called to develop our awareness of who we are, to place ourselves in the presence of the source, to be conscious of the Universal Mind, and to develop and cultivate our physical and spiritual lives–they are intimately tied together.

A few other concepts–non conformity–conformism deadens the human spirit, strips ud of our individuality, and serves selfish and greedy purposes. Spontaneous creativity–the Way of things is a way of spontaneity and creativity. In Taoism, we adhere to the concept that life is a spontaneous Creation. There is mention many times in the I Ching of a “Sage,” or Higher Power. I grapple with the question all the time as to whether we are, as in Catholic/Christian concept, the Creation of God the Father, with the purpose of returning to him, or part of a spontaneous creation, a manifestation of the tao, the source itself. I’ve written on it before. I do not know the answer, but it is not so much of a dichotomy as it seems.

Other concepts, health, wellness, physical well being, nutrition. Listening lately to explanations as to why fresh foods are so much better than supplements, not to put down supplements, but there are so many nutrients and polyphenols in fresh fruits and vegetable that you don’t get in a vitamin.

This life is class, we are here to learn the lessons, develop and grow, become aware and raise our consciousness. Holiness. Sacredness.

I’ll round out my vacation by hanging with good friends, treating myself to a few good meals, checking out a movie or two, and watching some TV!

It feels good to be able to go deep into the woods. And don’t forget tai chi chuan is also an excellent martial art, so you can kick ass with a smile on your face!

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