May the (Vital) Force Be With You!

This monthly TCC e-newsletter, free to all subscribers, offers inspiration from the TCC journal, The Vital Force. Text from the most recent issue is below. To subscribe, send your email address to kim.grant@taichichih.org. May the Vital Force be with you!

Inspiration from The Vital Force 
February 2018


This month: TCC practice in all circumstances


“As the clouds are brushed away, awareness grows from the inside, and it always goes from the limited individual outlook to the universal.”

– Justin F. Stone, TCC Originator

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This e-newsletter offers inspiration between quarterly issues of the T'ai Chi Chih (TCC) journal, The Vital Force. TCC is a series of 19 movements and one pose, a moving meditation practice that helps circulate the Vital Energy, the Chi. Practitioners experience peace, health benefits and more. 

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Quotations from the most recent issue of The Vital Force
 

“TCC For All Seasons: It’s early March in Philadelphia. Twelve degrees and gusty winds. Biting icy snow and sleet still falling on already icy streets…. I’m going to the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. By the time I board my home-bound train later, I’m happily exhausted, fall asleep, and wake to hear the conductor announcing the next stop – not on my route. I had boarded the train heading the opposite direction from home. The next stop is an isolated one with no indoor shelter…. I gather my belongings and am the only person leaving the train.
 
It’s even colder, even windier, and the icy snow is still blowing. Ah...a sheltered bench and enough time to do a full TCC practice. It’s cold, but I’m mostly out of the wind, and Rocking Motion feels like the greatest blessing ever. Bird Flaps its Wings stares a gust of wind in the face. The “Platters,” Bass Drum and the “Daughters” are solid against the elements. Carrying the Ball – of persistence – to the Side. Pushing the cold away and Pulling in the warming Chi…. With the final grounding, I realize I’m warm and centered.” – ND, Wallingford, PA

. . . . .

"Evolution Through ChiAfter 30 years of teaching TCC, I’m experiencing a deeper appreciation of Justin Stone’s approach to ‘Evolution Through Chi’ (1991 booklet)…. I’ve always approached my TCC practice and teaching with as much teh (inner sincerity) as possible, including gratefully accepting movement corrections over the years. I’m still trying to incorporate the many personal suggestions made by Justin. But after four years of teaching at a nursing home, I don’t focus on correcting students doing their very best to follow the movements….

My experiences increasingly bear witness to Justin’s claim that teaching TCC is an important way for us to serve as ‘Divine Agents of evolution.’ I feel that my most important ‘service to mankind,’ right here, right now, is to allow the TCC movements to support the evolution these residents are undergoing in the final years or months of their lives. Many of them are too demented to communicate with others at any significant level. It touches my heart more deeply than I can express when I see the eyes of stroke survivors and people with Alzheimer’s begin to shine as they feel enhanced Chi circulation." – HH, Fern Forest, HI

. . . . .

Boulder: It had been two years since Andy passed. He loved attending the TCC teacher conferences, and we had attended most since our certification in San Antonio in 2000. Since he and I co-taught all our TCC classes, the thought of attending without him was something I couldn’t consider until this year.… It was wonderful seeing old friends, teachers and making new friends. But it brought back many bittersweet memories of the fun and learning Andy and I had together…. I hadn’t taught TCC since Andy’s passing but before the conference, I was asked to teach the residents of The Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. After much consideration, I took this as a sign. Andy would have wanted me to do it.

After the first class I received a request to teach at an assisted living complex, where I now offer standing and seated TCC. Andy and I had never taught seated TCC, and learning more about seated TCC was one of my main focuses at the conference. I am so thankful to have attended. Being with teachers was very healing, and I thank everyone for their kindness and friendship." – BA, Highland, IL

. . . . .

Teachers, please forward this email to your students.
Students, please forward this email to your friends.

. . . . .

Want more inspiration? Want connection with the global TCC community? Want tips for a better practice? Join us  subscribe to The Vital Force. Our quarterly journal offers engaging stories, hints and insights from TCC teachers and students. We also highlight wisdom by, and photos rarely seen of, originator Justin Stone. 

Free monthly T'ai Chi Chih e-newsletter

Inspiration and news for people interested in - or already practicing - TCC is available to subscribers of our quarterly journal, The Vital Force. In addition, we offer a free monthly e-newsletter, May the Vital Force Be With You with excerpts from the journal. Here's an online subscription form for the e-newsletter: http://bit.ly/2kHv1tS - Join us! And here's a sample:

May the Vital Force Be With You - December 2017 issue

Inspiration from The Vital Force

This month: TCC practice tips

"Any muscular tension causes the meridian channels to contract
and the Chi can then not flow freely through them ...
a free flow of Chi, the vital force,
is an obvious necessity." 

--Justin F. Stone, TCC Originator

____________________

This e-newsletter offers inspiration between quarterly issues of the T'ai Chi Chih (TCC) journal, The Vital Force. TCC is a series of 19 movements and one pose, a moving meditation practice that helps circulate the Vital Energy, the Chi. Practitioners experience peace, health benefits and more. 

_______________
Quotations from the most recent issue of The Vital Force


TCC Movement - Rocking Motion: "From the point in the movement where the practitioner has fully shifted forward and is up on the balls of the feet (heels lifted) and the hands are at shoulder height, the hands turn gently over and begin their cascade downward in sync with the downward/backward weight shift. As the hands pass by the hips, the wrists release completely (this is easy to forget and very powerful). Holding tension in the wrists where it is not necessary blocks the flow of the Chi, just as engaging the wrists where appropriate enhances Chi flow.

Releasing the wrists as the palms pass the hips, the hands do not turn palms up just yet. The body is still shifting backward from the tan t’ien, and so, too, the hands continue to travel back, led by the invitation from the tan t’ien, palms facing the wall behind the practitioner as the toes lift...." (Guidance continued in the Nov. 2017 issue of The Vital Force.) – AT, Albuquerque, NM

. . . . .

Grounding & Alignment: Body alignment during TCC practice "has one of the greatest impacts on our capacity to allow a downward flow of Chi. We know that energy flows best through a straight pipe. We also know that when the body leans, tension is created, and where there is tension, the energy cannot flow….
 
"The only way to get aligned is to feel it. So let us feel our alignment by first feeling our weight centered over the soles of the feet. Now, since most of us have a tendency to move our pelvis forward take your two index fingers and push your hips back till you feel your sit bones over your heels. Now gently tuck your tailbone to level your pelvis. This will naturally bring your shoulders forward but sense in and see if you can actually feel your shoulders directly over your pelvis. Lastly, bring your chin in to align your head over your spine. Note, your core muscles need to be awake and engaged to maintain alignment. You have to be present to stay aligned!..." (Guidance continued in the Nov. 2017 issue of The Vital Force.) – MD, Loveland, CO

. . . . .

Seated TCC: “It’s much easier for seated students to learn grounding into the soles of the feet. Getting into alignment is much easier and moving from two inches below the navel can be experienced quite easily – even though experiencing the tan t’ien may take more time…
 
“‘Less is more’ is a good plan on many levels in TCC. Learning to move from the tan t’ien is so important it’s worth teaching without distractions like leg and arm movements. Hands are either hanging at the side or in rest position during this part of the practice….
 
“The great thing about seated TCC is that you can introduce the hand movements in a tight relationship to the weight shift. ‘Let your hands ride out as you rock forward, let the momentum circle the hands as your weight shifts to the other side, and let your hands ride back as you rock back.’ Tying the hand movements to the weight shift makes the hand movements naturally smaller without being cramped…." (Guidance continued in the Nov. 2017 issue of The Vital Force.) – DK, Sarasota, CA

. . . . .

Teachers, please forward this email to your students.
Students, please forward this email to your friends.

. . . . .

Want more inspiration? Want connection with the global TCC community? Want tips for a better practice? Join us  subscribe to The Vital Force. Our quarterly journal offers engaging stories, hints and insights from TCC teachers and students. We also highlight wisdom by, and photos rarely seen of, originator Justin Stone. 

TCC practice: Grounding by focusing on soles of our feet

"T'ai Chi Chih goes much deeper than merely helping us to be healthy." In this transcription of a taped lecture, excerpted and published in the August 2017 issue of the TCC quarterly journal, The Vital Force, TCC originator Justin F. Stone explains the benefits of grounding during TCC practice by keeping one's concentration in the soles of the feet.

Q: Why is it necessary to keep the concentration in the soles of the feet while doing T'ai Chi Chih?

A: Actually there are three reasons. First, having a point of concentration keeps the mind from wandering and from having extraneous thoughts. Second, the t'an tien, the spot two inches below the navel, is the all-important place Chi is stored. It is the seed of intuition and the most important spot from the Chinese (medicine) standpoint.

In T’ai Chi Ch’uan, the student is asked to keep his concentration in the t'an tien, but this is very difficult and often interferes with breathing. The Tu Mu meridian channel that comes down the front goes thru the t’an tien and reaches the soles of the feet, called the Chu or bubbling spring.

Therefore, by concentrating in the soles of the feet, we serve the same purpose – bringing the Chi down to the t’an tien by bringing it down to the soles of the feet. The Buddha once said, "He who keeps his concentration in the soles of his feet while walking, while sitting, and while lying down can heal a thousand illnesses."

Third, and most important from a health standpoint, we want to bring the heart fire, that is the Yang of the heart, down instead of letting the Yin of the kidneys rise. The great Japanese Zen Master Hakuin Zenji commented on this when he said:

"The essential of the molding of the outer form consists in allowing the inward spirit and vital force, that is the Chi, to penetrate into the space below the navel. Where the inward spirit is concentrated, that is when the elixir of life is made. When this elixir is thus made the outer form becomes firm, and when the outer form becomes firm, the inner spirit becomes perfected. When the inward spirit is perfected, long life ensues.This is the secret. It is entirely a matter of the heart fire descending into the space below the navel."

This gives us a pretty good idea of the importance to health of this practice. And it also graphically demonstrates that T’ai Chi Chih goes much deeper than merely helping us to be healthy. Incidentally, Hakuin made his own breakthrough to enlightenment and totally cured his ailing health by following these principles. After his enlightenment he said, "After this, seeing the things of the world was like observing the back of my own hand."

Reprinted with permission from Good Karma Publishing.

Benefits of Circulating & Balancing Chi

Want to get rid of bad habits? That takes a spiritual approach, says TCC originator Justin F. Stone. Practicing TCC helps balance the Chi and that helps change the ways we think and behave.

The Physical and the Spiritual in T'ai Chi Chih

By Justin Stone    Fall 1987 ©The Vital Force

Most people who come for T'ai Chi Chih lessons do it for physical reasons, either because of ailments or because they feel it will help them in the areas of energy, hypertension, etc. Thus, they think of TCC practice as a form of therapy, which it undoubtedly is. However, they may later find that they have derived much deeper – Spiritual –  benefits, which they did not expect.

How do these come about? How does TCC affect our Karma?

We are the products of our Habit Energies (“Vashana” in Sanskrit), and we in turn have built these Habit Energies. Thus it can be a vicious circle. When these Energies grow too strong they become Tendencies (“Samskara” in Sanskrit), and these may last through many lifetimes. These Tendencies are some of the reasons people have uncontrollable drinking problems – which they don”t understand – explosive temper outbursts, fits of despondency, etc. It is hard to fight against such things when you don't know what you're fighting.

How does all this begin? When there is a release of energy, accompanied by the mental stimulus associated with it, a “Vritti” (Sanskrit) or shallow groove is formed on the brain. Repeated release of the same energy – as when one finds solace in drink and therefore imbibes each time a disappointment is encountered – develops the shallow groove into a deeper Habit Energy. This in turn takes over our lives. If you will introspect, you will find that most of our actions are habitual. We practice piano to develop these Habit Energies so our playing becomes “muscle memory.” We learn languages this way. Some actions become so habitual, such as shaving in the morning, that we often don't remember whether we performed them or not.

So we are a product of these Vashanas, which we ourselves built! We are, in a sense, our own creators! We build our own Karma.

I have often spoken of the “Reciprocal Character of Mind and Chi” (“Prana” in Sanskrit). The character of the Chi greatly influences our State of Mind, and our State of Mind greatly influences “our” Chi. How can we break into that circle to change influences for a more desirable effect? We do T'ai Chi Chih, circulating and balancing the Chi. As the Yin-Yang elements are brought into better balance, this not only balances the Chi but it also influences how we think. Ultimately we are what we think; this creates our Karma.

The state of someone's Chi creates “vibes." as we all know. Sometimes we meet someone and get “bad vibes” when that person's Chi is out of balance. We can't explain it – and we often ignore it – but we are reacting to that individual's energy field. Such reactions are usually reliable.

By changing the quality of the Chi (thru TCC practice) we are actually performing the deepest Yoga, going back to the cause and erasing it so the affect will be improved or will disappear. This is, in a sense, “de-hypnotization.”

In this respect TCC has the same deep purpose as Yoga and Zen, but it is a much easier practice. Few are capable of following either Zen or Yogic life to their deepest levels, particularly in our busy society. But we can practice TCC and have the deepest Spiritual effect on ourselves.

Justin Stone
Reprinted with permission from The Vital Force, Fall, 1987

News reports of TCC's effectiveness spread globally!

Reports of the results of the recent UCLA study showing that TCC helps relieve insomnia among breast cancer survivors have made news headlines around the world. A sample of articles is provided below.

To read even more news reports of TCC's effectiveness, go to the In The News page of the TCC website, www.taichichih.org.

5/10/17
“T’ai Chih Chih Compared With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Treatment of Insomnia in Survivors of Breast Cancer” 
Journal of Clinical Oncology
Academic research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine shows that practicing T'ai Chi Chih helps relieve insomnia in survivors of breast cancer. The study compared the effectiveness of TCC with cognitive behavioral therapy.

. . . . .

'Breast cancer survivors often don’t just come to physicians with insomnia. They have insomnia, fatigue and depression,' said Dr. Michael Irwin, the lead author and a professor of psychiatry at UCLA. 'And this intervention, T'ai Chi Chih, impacted all those outcomes in a similar way, with benefits that were as robust as the gold standard treatment for insomnia.'

"The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) the treatment of choice for insomnia. 'While CBT treats insomnia, it’s too expensive for some people and there is a shortage of trained professionals in the field,' said Irwin, who is also a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. 'Because of those limitations, we need community-based interventions like T'ai Chi Chih.'" -- Excerpts from May 2017 UCLA press release

. . .

The UCLA findings have been reported around the world:

6/2/17
“T’ai Chi (Chih) Effective, Affordable Alternative to CBT-I for Insomnia in Breast Cancer Survivors”
OncologyNurseAdvisor.com

5/18/17
“Forscher: Diese T’ai Chi-Übungen wirken gegen Schlafprobleme”
HeilPraxisnet.de (in German)

5/15/17
“T’ai Chi (Chih) Can Help Breast Cancer Survivors Sleep”
NewsMax.com

5/15/17
"T’ai Chi (Chih) Relieves Insomnia in Many Breast Cancer Survivors"
PsychCentral.com

5/13/17
“T’ai Chi (Chih) Bantu Kurangi Masalah Insomnia pada Penderita Kanker Payudara”
MetroTVNews.com (in Indonesian)

5/11/17
“T’ai Chi Chih Improves Insomnia Among Breast Cancer Survivors”
CancerTherapyAdvisor.com

 

UCLA research: TCC helps relieve insomnia for breast cancer survivors

A group of prominent academic researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) this week announced study results showing that T'ai Chi Chih (TCC) works as well as the "golden standard," cognitive behavioral therapy, in relieving insomnia symptoms among breast cancer survivors. The article was published by the peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Oncology online on May 10, 2017 with print publication to follow.

Lead author of the paper Michael R. Irwin, MD is "one of the world’s foremost experts on the psychoneuroimmunological pathways by which psychosocial and behavioral factors influence health and disease," his UCLA web page says. Dr. Irwin, second author Richard Olmstead, PhD, Helen Lavretsky, MD and other researchers at UCLA have published several papers about TCC since at least 2003. Their research has shown that practicing TCC improves immune system function, can help relieve depression and, now, that TCC can help relieve symptoms of insomnia.

Below you'll find an abstract describing the new insomnia research. To learn about other research documenting TCC's effectiveness, visit our website.

ABSTRACT

FROM: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28489508

Tai Chi Chih Compared With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Treatment of Insomnia in Survivors of Breast Cancer: A Randomized, Partially Blinded, Noninferiority Trial.

Purpose: Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and Tai Chi Chih (TCC), a movement meditation, improve insomnia symptoms. Here, we evaluated whether TCC is noninferior to CBT-I for the treatment of insomnia in survivors of breast cancer.

Patients and Methods: This was a randomized, partially blinded, noninferiority trial that involved survivors of breast cancer with insomnia who were recruited from the Los Angeles community from April 2008 to July 2012. After a 2-month phase-in period with repeated baseline assessment, participants were randomly assigned to 3 months of CBT-I or TCC and evaluated at months 2, 3 (post-treatment), 6, and 15 (follow-up).

Primary outcome was insomnia treatment response - that is, marked clinical improvement of symptoms by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index - at 15 months. Secondary outcomes were clinician-assessed remission of insomnia; sleep quality; total sleep time, sleep onset latency, sleep efficiency, and awake after sleep onset, derived from sleep diaries; polysomnography; and symptoms of fatigue, sleepiness, and depression.

Results: Of 145 participants who were screened, 90 were randomly assigned (CBT-I: n = 45; TCC: n = 45). The proportion of participants who showed insomnia treatment response at 15 months was 43.7% and 46.7% in CBT-I and TCC, respectively. Tests of noninferiority showed that TCC was noninferior to CBT-I at 15 months ( P = .02) and at months 3 ( P = .02) and 6 ( P < .01). For secondary outcomes, insomnia remission was 46.2% and 37.9% in CBT-I and TCC, respectively. CBT-I and TCC groups showed robust improvements in sleep quality, sleep diary measures, and related symptoms (all P < .01), but not polysomnography, with similar improvements in both groups. Conclusion CBT-I and TCC produce clinically meaningful improvements in insomnia. TCC, a mindful movement meditation, was found to be statistically noninferior to CBT-I, the gold standard for behavioral treatment of insomnia.

 

 

Best Reason To Practice TCC

People who practice T’ai Chi Chih regularly often report feeling more joyful, experiencing considerable health benefits, and more. How does this happen? Justin F. Stone, originator of TCC, explains here how balancing and circulating the Chi, or Vital Force, brings about such change.

The Best Reason To Practice

by Justin F. Stone

Karma is an important and frequently used word, so it is important to understand what it means. In the Sanskrit language, karma means “action,” that and no more. So, when we glibly speak of “our karma,” we really mean the fruit of our action, not the action itself. Even this is not totally correct. The motivation behind our action is what establishes our karma – that is a result and not blind destiny.

Usually the motivation that causes us to act is the result of our established “habit patterns” (vashanas in Sanskrit). This is cause and effect. We establish patterns of thought and reaction, and these – formed by ourselves – coerce us into acting in certain ways. So we have created the very force that molds us. Should we not be careful in our thoughts and the habits we create?

There is always a result, neither “good” nor “bad” (which can be seen as “favorable” or “unfavorable” from a personal viewpoint), which is appropriate to the action. When a gun is fired, there is recoil commensurate with the force of the shot. This adequately explains karma for us. People usually believe not what is logical, but what they want to believe. Thus their actions are rationalized. This has no effect on the inexorable karma, which is not concerned with sentiment or rationalization. As one practices T'ai Chi Chih, the quality of the Chi definitely changes. So many say, “I really can‘t remember what I was like before TCC.”

As the Chi is circulated and balanced, habit energies tend to fade and one no longer feels compelled to follow dubious paths of action. One now feels more in control of (and responsible for) his or her actions.

This is “burning the karmic seeds.” It is the best reason I know to practice TCC, aside from the joyful feeling such practice brings. The serenity and better health are the results of this balancing and circulation. And it is so easy to accomplish.

. . . . .

Reprinted with permission from the February 2017 issue of The Vital Force. Original public in the December 1992 issue of The Vital Force.

Moving Meditation + Sitting Meditation = Winning Combination

People who practice the moving meditation of Tai Chi Chih count many benefits, including increased serenity, joy and health benefits. Here, a TCC teacher describes following sessions of TCC with sitting meditation as well.

TCC for Meditators

By LR, Seattle, Washington

For the last three years I have enjoyed doing T'ai Chi Chih with a Buddhist meditation community, have taught classes at a neighborhood church and then invited longer-term practitioners to my house for a group practice, followed by a 20-minute silent meditation. The results have been deep and rewarding.

Meditators bring a deep understanding that out of stillness and silence we can touch the spiritual. Even though I continue to offer some reminders and corrections during the practice, we basically move together following the energetic rhythm of the routine. We deepen our silence as we sink into each shift, “allowing the Chi to do the work."

After TCC, we slide onto chairs or the couch, feet on the floor, allowing the energy to continue to settle into our bones, our tan t'ien, and to root into the soles of our feet. Although I’m seated and still, the rhythm from shifting my weight during TCC continues to inform my breath, which gets slower and more relaxed.

My mind no longer seeks distracting thoughts. It seems as if TCC allows more direct access to the present and spiritual connection we seek in sitting meditation. When the bell rings, our eyes open to a brighter world, a more centered way of being and an intimate connection to our selves and each other.

 Below are comments by fellow participants:

''I experience TCC as meditation. Its flowing, rhythmic movements cultivate a centered, peaceful and calm mind."

 "The TCC sessions are a wonderful source of community and spiritual practice."

 "There is no better way to prepare for the week ahead than our Monday morning meetings. Our Chi flows, increased by the presence of each other. Our minds are peaceful and full of gratitude after completing the meditation. We are revitalized and energized to better face the world."

"TCC movements are a meditation in and of themselves and as we move together, I become focused and connected in spirit to those with whom I move. When we settle into meditation, my ‘monkey mind’ is already quieted; the Chi we have moved is grounding and unmistakable. These past few years of TCC practice have carried me through some of the most difficult periods of my life, moving my stuck places in the wordless communion of intention and movement."

Excerpted with permission from the February 2017 issue of the TCC journal, The Vital Force. Learn more about T'ai Chi Chih here.

10 Ways to Know TCC Practice is 'Working'

 “…if lives are enhanced, that is enough and no more has to be said.” – Justin F. Stone, TCC Originator

 [T’ai Chi Chih] is not meditation, though it seems to bring the serenity of the most successful meditation – a serenity that teachers often notice in the faces of their students near the end of classes. Indeed some students who come to class under a lot of tension are then embarrassed to begin yawning, [which is] obviously a release of tension. One who is tied in knots does not yawn. 

 And T’ai Chi Chih is not exercise, though it seems to be the easiest and most effective form of exercise. It is one of the few practices that exercise the internal organs. …

One is naturally gratified to receive these benefits from regular practice of T’ai Chi Chih, but there are deeper effects that must be experienced personally. The practicing student will first notice a tingling in the fingers, and soon a slight shaking of the fingers as the Chi spreads. Heat may appear at points where there is blockage or has been an injury. And often this heat (which is very healing) will appear sometime after practice – while walking down the street or engaging in some other activity. A surge of energy is common, and students are advised not to practice T’ai Chi Chih after the evening meal, as the heightened energy may interfere with sleep. 

 The tingling in the fingers may appear in the very first practice session of T’ai Chi Chih. And the inadvertent trembling only confirms the flow of the energy, which the student feels quickly. This is the first manifestation of the circulation of the yin and yang Chi, which separate when we begin to do the movements, and then come together when we rest.

If we practice regularly and get the habit of doing the movements when we arise in the morning, we will probably continue faithfully because we will notice the effect in our lives, and experience the ‘joy thru movement.’  As we continue we should one day have the ecstatic feeling that nobody is doing anything, that the Chi is flowing by itself, and T’ai Chi Chih is doing T’ai Chi Chih. I first had this experience at dawn in a Japanese garden. And it was almost like a Satori or enlightenment experience. It will take some time before this occurs.

The third confirmatory sign of our success in T’ai Chi practice will come only after we have been doing T’ai Chi Chih for a long time, to the point where the balanced Chi begins to flow the moment we lift our hands – and probably flows through us most of the day while we are carrying out other activities. Then we will be surprised to learn that we can do T’ai Chi Chih mentally. We can be sitting at a boring lecture or on a plane and, closing our eyes, begin to do the movements in our minds. The Chi then begins to flow just as if we were standing and moving. No one around us will even know we are doing it, but we are getting the benefits of T’ai Chi Chih practice while sitting quietly.

Starting at the point of the circulation of the Vital Force we have now arrived at the point where it is completely influenced mind. I leave you to imagine how wonderful such a realization will be, but it will only come after considerable time. One of the first effects we will notice is the absence of fatigue in activities that usually tire us. 

 I remember hearing from a former student, a nurse, who said, ‘I don’t seem to yell at the kids anymore or kick the cat. And when I come home from work, fixing the evening meal doesn’t seem to be a chore. This doesn’t have anything to do with T’ai Chi Chih, does it?’

‘What’s the difference?’ I replied, ‘As long as it’s happening.’

I’m not going to burden her with the information that I’ve heard scores of such comments. If lives are enhanced, that is enough and no more has to be said.

* * *

From Justin Stone Speaks (a CD), transcribed from an oral talk; excerpted and reprinted with permission from Good Karma Publishing.

Reprinted from the November 2016 issue of the TCC journal, The Vital Force. To subscribe to The Vital Force, click here.

 

 

Climbing Half Dome in Yosemite w TCC

As a person who doesn't like heights, I was facing the possibility of an extremely frightening experience - as well as one of profound beauty. Both opposites are often found in life experiences: birth, death and even marriage can seem frightening.

A Daughter On The Mountaintop Experience, By T & J S, Minneapolis, MN

My husband wanted to climb Half Dome during our trip to Yosemite. Because I love him, I wanted to give him this experience. While we trained our bodies, I trained my mind and spirit to tame the fear and be open to the beauty. I visualized staying grounded in earth energy and opening to heavenly beauty. This is exactly what I experience in Cosmic Consciousness pose.

When the day arrived, we huffed and puffed for eight hours until we reached the start of the climb. Waterfalls along the way were spectacular and some of the ascents treacherous, but at every pause, I remained calm and took in the beauty. I only swore once, which was in itself amazing considering the magnitude of the feat.

The base of Half Dome presented the hardest aspect of the climb, with frequent close encounters with sheer drops. Then came the final, cable-assisted ascent. This was harder than expected, but I stayed calm and rested when needed. The calm, grace-filled voice of a park ranger behind me offered encouraging words to climbers.

When we reached the summit, it felt very much like the top of the world. Panoramas were breathtakingly beautiful. Every mountain exuded power while reaching heavenward. Moving with "Daughter on the Mountaintop" I was one with the mountain. 

* * *

Reprinted with permission from the August 2016 issue of TCC journal, The Vital Force.

To learn more about TCC movements, including Daughter on the Mountaintop and Cosmic Consciousness Pose, visit this page on our website