Meditation and Tai Chi Chuan


      During the course of a typical Tai Chi Chuan class we practice seated meditation.  During meditation it may appear as though you’re just sitting there doing nothing but meditation can be a powerful tool.  Like physical exercise for the body, meditation is exercise for the mind.  Meditation is simply focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all else.  In this manner we can practice calming the mind and slowing down the onslaught of thought that constantly buzzes across our mental radar.  Your thoughts can actually clutter your awareness.  For example, how often have you been driving your car down the highway while thinking of everything but driving the car?  We can, of course, do many things at one time, yet we are not fully present if we are thinking about other things.  This can definitely lead to a dangerous situation but we do it all the time. 

      Meditation also helps you to have a calmer, more tranquil mind that can better handle stress.  If we have a calm, relaxed mind, we will be able to see more clearly and be able to deal with situations well before they reach the boiling point. 

      Many people go through their daily lives on automatic pilot.  They are so absorbed in their every day routines that they never really notice where they are and what they’re doing.  For example, how many times have you been introduced to someone only to forget their name a few minutes after talking with them?  Through meditation we practice mindfulness. Mindfulness simply means being aware of the moment. 

      Much of the stress in our lives comes from the dwelling on past events or future possibilities.  We literally attach ourselves to a thought and refuse to let it go.  How often has someone angered you and you carried that anger for several hours or days?  Being mindful doesn’t allow us to attach ourselves to a particular thought.  Being mindful means being completely aware of, though not necessarily emotionally involved with, the present moment. 

            Tai Chi Chuan has been described as meditation in motion and rightly so.  When performing Tai Chi you have to be intensely aware of what your doing at that present moment but at the same time remain relaxed and calm. This is exactly the opposite of what we generally experience in our daily lives.  In Tai Chi we truly do exercise the body, mind and spirit.  This is why Tai Chi helps to enhance overall health.


Article as published in Park Avenue News, April 2003