Tao Wisdom in Being Our True Nature
“The Way to the Creator is deep-rooted.
Unmoved, it is the source of all movement.
Stable, it enables us to act without rashness.
So, whatever we do, we do not abandon our true nature.
The world around us is riddled with worries and distractions.
We remain stable, steady, and steadfast.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 26)
Given that humans are finite and limited, to understand the Creator, who is infinite and unlimited, is always impossible. Given that the world is controlled by the Creator, human attempt to control what is uncontrollable is forever futile.
Lao Tzu’s advice is paradoxical: move without moving-just like moving with the current, instead of against it. The truth of the matter is that very often we do everything according to our way, deluding ourselves into thinking that by picking and choosing this or that we can repeat what we desire in the past and expect it to be repeated in the future. Accordingly, we often over-do, and we end up unstable, unsteady, and unsteadfast.
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau
Tao Wisdom in Tai Chi
Tao is a way of life-a way to longevity living. Tao has been practiced in China for thousands of years.
What is Tao wisdom? How does it affect your longevity living?
Lao Tzu, one of the greatest Chinese philosophers, was the author of “Tao Te Ching” which has become one of the most translated works in world literature, probably next to the English Bible. He was the founder of Tao, a way of living. According to Lao Tzu, the wisdom of Tao is all about spontaneity.
What is spontaneity, or Tao wisdom?
In the universe, there is an all-controlling force that monitors everything. You breathe in life-giving oxygen, and breathe out life-destroying carbon dioxide. You eat, and you eliminate. You grow, mature, and die. In nature, spontaneity is evident in the change of seasons, and the cycle of day and night. Spontaneity is the natural built-in mechanism in each living organism. Spontaneity creates balance and harmony, which is the essence of Chinese health and healing, and hence longevity living. Tao wisdom embraces spontaneity in living.
The concept and perception of health and fitness in China differ from those in the West. For example, nowadays, people in the Western world focus so much on physical fitness that the gym giants will do anything to keep you huffing, puffing, and paying. Unfortunately, there is also much pumping irony: too-strenuous and over-vigorous workouts may be harmful to your physical health. According to the American Journal of Cardiology, jogging is causing many runners to drop dead from heart attacks, and many individuals have experienced heart attacks even after running on a treadmill. So, too much of what is supposed to be “good” may not be good.
Chinese health focuses much on spontaneity, and never on extremity.
Lao Tzu explained, "The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world." You need not over-exert yourself in order to be physically fit. So, you do less for more-which is the wisdom of “non-doing” according to Lao Tzu-and not more for less.
Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, are never vigorous. Once your breathing becomes abnormal or irregular over a long period, you lose the spontaneity of the exercise, and hence its health benefits.
Tai Chi is a self-relaxing exercise with slow and even movements coordinated with breathing and directed by a peaceful mind. Therefore, it is beneficial to both mental and physical health. Tai Chi can remove physical and spiritual ailments from your body and mind, and thereby clearing your mind and strengthening your brain. In addition, its spontaneity can promote good digestion and kidney health. Furthermore, Tai Chi exercises can help lower your blood pressure, soften your blood vessels, and regular the flow of qi (the internal vital energy) in your entire body.
Qi is internal vital energy, which is always in motion in the form of ascending, descending, entering and leaving your body's organs and systems. It nourishes not only your body by transforming food energy into blood, but also your blood by keeping it flowing. In addition, it helps maintain your body's temperature. Qi plays a vital role in Chinese health and healing.
Lao Tzu also said, "Qi is elusive and evasive, and yet it manifests itself." Accordingly, Tao manifests itself in longevity living.
Tai Chi exercises focus on correct posture, slow and spontaneous movements, and natural healthy breathing to enhance and promote the free flow of qi.
Your central nervous system is the most important system in your body: it receives vital information from outside and inside your body; it directs your body movements. Your central nervous system is healthy only if you keep your spinal column erect because vitality and blood circulation are transmitted efficiently from your lower body to your brain only when your spine is kept erect. Tai Chi exercises focus on a natural posture with an erect spine (children have naturally erect spinal columns; only adults, especially older people, have bent spinal columns).
Your digestive system is also important to your overall longevity living as it stores and supplies all nutrients for your body. Some of the characteristic movements of Tai Chi reinforce the expansion and contraction of your body in an opening and closing motion, thereby instrumental in vibrating and stimulating your stomach and intestines for a better and healthier digestive system.
Your respiratory system is also critical to your longevity living. In Tai Chi, breathing is valued more than physical power because it uses breathing, not muscular strength, to propel the movements of your body. Western physical exercises, on the other hand, emphasize muscular strength instead of the spontaneity of breathing and natural body movements. In Tai Chi, your mind directs the qi, letting it sink down into your abdomen, where natural breathing takes place. According to Tao wisdom, you breathe through your abdomen (like babies and young children), not through your lungs. This explains why people in the West limit their breathing to the lungs; as a result, their lungs tend to enlarge as they grow older, crowding their hearts, leading to heart disease and cardiovascular problems.
Your circulatory system is connected to your respiratory system. Tai Chi enhances your deep breathing, which guides your qi to move your blood (which cannot move by itself) to different parts of your body for transporting oxygen and nutrients. By regulating the circulation, Tai Chi exercises through natural movements and deep breathing provide a healthy heart for longevity living.
Hormones in your thyroid gland are responsible for physical growth of your body. In Tai Chi, you keep your neck erect without pressure, centered without inclining to the left or to the right; you integrate the slow and smooth movements of your head and neck. These natural and spontaneous movements not only enhance the activity of your thyroid gland but also act upon your kidneys to remove wastes for body detox.
In summary, you need the spontaneity of Tao expressed in physical movements as well as in natural breathing of Tai Chi exercises to reap physical health benefits to promote longevity health and wellness.
Authentic Tai Chi--A Video Ebook: Discover the ancient Chinese exercise that improves your health, enhances your energy, and makes you young and fit.
Remember, Tai Chi is all about movements to circulate your body invisible energy called qi. Smooth circulation of qi energy ensures a healthy body. Stagnant and blocked qi energy causes all sorts of chronic disease. Tai Chi is an ancient exercise that has been practiced for thousands of years as an effective alternative healing for the body and the mind. By strengthening the immune system, Tai Chi can improve your chronic disease slowly but steadily. More importantly, it can relieve your stress and calm your nerves.
For more information on Chinese health, visit my web page: Chinese Health and Healing.
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau