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A new starter comes to class with the typical agitations of modern life:
- they do too much
- they over-extend/over-commit
- they anticipate
- they do not know how to stop
- they contest
Initially, the student has no understanding of what tranquillity means or what it entails.
Slowly, the atmosphere of the class and the attitudes of the art permeate. The individual student experiences a glimpse of calmness.
They recognise that in order to progress, harmony must be found, balance, grace and a sense of ease.
Through gentle daily practice, supplementary reading and a gradual lifestyle change it is possible for all students to find peace in their everyday life.
Harmony is the outcome of finding balance between yourself and other people, circumstances and events. This requires a significant change of consciousness.
Mere physical exercise alone will not accomplish this shift of perception. It is necessary to see life differently, to take the lessons of the art into your daily life.
Balance is a dynamic process, not a fixed condition. Sensitivity must be cultivated, along with awareness and presence.
Learning to feel how your own body responds to stimuli, how it moves and what problems it encounters is a profound journey of personal discovery.
Along the way you may become more comfortable with your own physicality. You may begin to slow down, to notice things.
Not all tai chi practice is slow. But many of the exercise are fairly slow. There is no need for rushing. Rushing is the outcome of anxiety, of conflict between activities or choices.
We encourage students to settle, to give-up the race, to be relaxed, rested and composed. This is usually not a familiar condition.
Coming to terms with yourself is not so easy. It is necessary to observe your mind, emotions and behaviour without judgement. To learn who you are and what motivates your actions.
Most people are so busy chasing the accoutrements of life that they do not make time for themselves. Tai chi encourages you to slow down and eventually stop. This may be harder than you imagine.
Letting-go is not easy. Doing less, wanting less, finding space and freedom in your life will require change. And people are often reluctant to change. But, as with all things in the art, nothing is forced.
If you want something, and value it, you will find the time and it will not be a chore.
He who knows when he has got enough is rich.
Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 15 May 2020