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The past is gone.
We can regret our mistakes and the way that we have lived our lives.
But we cannot change the past.
It has already happened.
The future has not happened yet.
Yet, no matter what we choose to do, our future cannot be avoided.
Every day we lay the foundation for the days ahead.
At the end of our lives there is death.
Is this the end?
Is there an afterlife?
Who knows? Let's hope so...
Taijiquan without Tao is no longer taijiquan, but Chinese exercise.
Before we die we must endure hardship and suffering, sickness, loss and pain.
This is the human condition.
It cannot be avoided.
But we can address the quality of our lives.
It is beyond my control...
People have difficulty coming to terms with the fact that they are largely responsible for their own fitness and wellbeing.
(Or lack of good health).
It is far easier to pretend.
In fact, most people would rather talk about how to run the country instead of how to manage their own lives.
Who decides what food to put in your mouth?
Who decides what you drink?
Who decides how much TV you watch?
Who decides how much time you spend on-line?
Who decides how much you play with your phone?
Who decides how much exercise you do?
That's right... You do.
TV, politics, gossip, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar... these things all serve to hijack your mind.
Instead of paying attention to what is taking place in your life you are talking to yourself inside your head.
Worrying, comparing, judging, planning, manipulating.
It is quite a circus.
If you ignore the reality of your life - your fitness, your emotional condition, your relationships - who is managing these things?
They do not manage themselves.
A lazy person continues to be lazy.
A sick person waits for the doctor to heal them.
But this is your life.
Medical studies have found that inactivity is as unhealthy as smoking.
How scary is that?
Those long days at your desk, hours spent driving your car and those long nights watching TV or playing videogames or looking at your phone are actually making you sick.
There is no tomorrow
What is going to happen if you choose to do nothing?
The answer is obvious: things just get worse.
Alternatively, what will happen if you act?
Exercising, reading healthy books, meditating, contemplation... these things will all have a fairly rapid positive effect.
But be careful; not all exercise is healthy.
movements are really very simple but students insist upon making taijiquan difficult by adding extra moves.
Taijiquan is not complicated; people are complicated.
It is not just a matter of exercising.
How you exercise matters too.
If you exercise without professional guidance, then habits of poor awareness and bad postural/alignment will persist.
The world is filled with well-meaning runners who exhibit appalling physical tension and deleterious poise.
Make the best of it
What if we only have one life?
What if this is it?
Take a good, hard look at your life.
Determine your future
Think about how your body feels and ask yourself whether you are nimble, agile, graceful, strong and dexterous.
Or clumsy and inflexible...
Is your mind clear, calm and sharp?
Do you feel relaxed and at ease?
The fun part is... you get to decide. You can be happy, sad, fit or lazy.
Tai chi can help
Avoid/offset the common problems associated with modern life:
• Memory loss
• Stiff neck
• Lack of mindfulness
• Low energy
• Reduced sex drive
• No peace of mind
• Diminished brain activity
• Poor focus/concentration
• Sarcopenia (muscle loss with aging)
• Reduced joint function
• Bad circulation
• Heart problems
• Respiratory problems
• Poor lower body strength
• Imbalanced body use
• Reduced stamina and endurance
• Deeply-held muscular tension
• Poor awareness
• Poor sleep
• Limited flexibility/suppleness
• Bad coordination
• Not relaxed
• Bad poise and posture
• Too much sitting
• Reduced mobility
• Back problems
• Knee problems
• Poor condition
• Loss of manual dexterity in the fingers
• Lack of ambidexterity
• Sports injuries
Medical research has proven that a small daily commitment to tai chi practice can produce tremendous results over time.
21 May 1997
Last updated 15 February 2018