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LifeStyle with Tai Chi and Qigong >> Tai Chi Qigong for Daily Life

Tai Chi, My Passion: Growing Into Myself
by Orin Hardy, the Second Place winner in the Student Group of ATCQA 2012 Writing Contest  

The ability to know how to be a good person is often neglected in our schooling - learning that encourages people to understand their essential nature as individuals who are part of a greater whole. Such is a spiritual education that teaches you to be good at living.

Chungliang Al Huang's students learn to feel the music of their bodies through song and dance, movement and meditation. He strings hearts together and helps us listen for the note of every moment, hoping to learn the magic of every Tai Ji movement. "Tian shang"! Our hands go up towards infinity; "di xia", down they come with gravity. Linking heaven and earth we stand, human marionettes suspended between the ever lasting and always changing. "Wai": our arms float open to our environment; content and happy we wonder at life's horizon. "Nei": we invite the world into us. Always ending with " ding nei", in order to integrate opposites and collect the gems of the moment. Then let it all go, allowing a new experience to enter our awareness. We are empty vessels ready for new learning.

I often feel at odds with the world around me. Separate from it. Tai Ji helps to remind my body that such odds are an illusion. I am the world around me and the world is me. The challenge is to stretch my understanding of self to recognize this. The jewel of the Tai Ji that Chungliang Al Huang teaches is that it empowers its students to embrace and harness their own nature. The movements, his inspiring attitude, and the creative blend of ancient Chinese wisdom and contemporary flair, support a deeper message to love life, and a desire to learn the lessons that it offers.

Our heart and mind naturally reach to understand life. Each one of us strives for knowledge and can't help but ask: "who am I." We want to know what it means to be human and alive. Education should be centered on facilitating people's basic desire to ask: how and why. To be effective, educators have to find creative ways to open people to mystery and wonder. Exposing the self to knowledge is good only when we can remember to return to not knowing. Tai Ji helps to do this. It reminds us that life is breathing. If we want to live life well, we have to be good at breathing, not just through our lungs, but also through all aspects of our life. This is what Tai Ji has taught me. To be balanced one must know how to center the self between the opposing elements of life. Practicing balance is challenging in a society that is perpetually out of Balance. Yet there is no hope for human civilization unless its citizens are educated to know the art of stretching the self to reconcile the opposing elements of life and embracing it as a whole. This is my understanding of what if means to be fully human.




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