Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | March 11, 2014

Catholicism and Tai Chi: The Trinity

I had been reflecting on the trinity in Catholicism, a mystery of truth that tells us God is three persons, one God. I mentioned before how Tai Chi in a sense reflects the “perichoresis” or dance of the intimate relationship of the Father Son and Holy Spirit, with the only caveat being that the metaphor of dance is something that makes tai chi really less than what it is, that is, tai chi is not dancing, but the revolving interrelationship of yin and yang.

Today, I wanted to make the point that if we are made in the image and likeness of God, then we ought to reflect in some way this trinitarian nature. For us, I believe the likeness is in the threefold nature of man, that is, the body, mind, and spirit. In tai chi, we learn that the body informs the mind, the mind informs the body, and when the two are working in harmony, we develop and cultivate the spirit. It is very clear when one practices tai chi, that using mind intent helps immensely the body to do what you want it to do. In similar fashion, when you are physically centering, moving in flowing, harmonious ways, the mind follows. A physical inner smile creates a psychological, mental, and spiritual smile.

Also in tai chi, an alchemy takes place through the various practices, transforming, “jing” or essences such as food, water, saliva, and so on, into “chi,” the life force that runs through us and keeps us healthy when it is flowing freely and there are no blockages. In time, chi is transformed into “shen,” or spirit. It is this spirit that is developed by the adepts, the masters, and even those who are on the path, and this spirit embodies all the superior virtues of the tai chi person.

We reflect the divine, the numenous. To keep body and mind separated is a disservice to ourselves, to deny our own numenous qualities is a disservice.

In music, a chord is several notes played together. Alone, they don’t make a chord. Their individuality is important. Each note on its own is important, but played together, they form the chord.

We are called to recognize our true divine nature which in this case happens to be trinitarian, and to place ourselves in the presence of the divine as often as we can, to the point that we are able to always keep ourselves aware and in the presence of the Holy. This is who we are. The secular world distracts us, and does a great job at it, making us forget and ignore our true nature.


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