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.

 

 

"Higher Consciousness" by Justin F. Stone

T'ai Chi Chih originator Justin F. Stone (1916-2012) describes the nature of consciousness and how meditation helps us access a "non-dual" state.

Higher Consciousness

Reprinted with permission from the Autumn 1986 issue of the TCC journal, The Vital Force.

People often speak of “higher consciousness.” A man is coming from another state to videotape me in a research project to find those in “higher consciousness.” The truth is, there is no such thing. There is only Consciousness, and at the deepest level, it is not individual. Sometimes this consciousness is obscured, and then there seems to be “lower” consciousness. It is usually obscured by habit-energies and tendencies; ultimately, this all proceeded from thought and thought-patterns.

The sun remains the same, always, but we speak of “weak sunshine today” or talk of the strong sun in the autumn season. When clouds obscure the sun, we see it as “weak sunshine,” but the sun has not changed. Similarly, consciousness remains unchanged but, when obscured by what [some in Asian traditions] call “the dusts,” it appears “low.”

Just as the life essence remains unchanged as there is constant transmutation, so consciousness is not affected by the obscuring elements. One Zen Master spoke of keeping the mirror clean, wiping away the dusts so that the basic nature of the mirror – which reflects unchangingly – will not be affected. Consciousness is like the mirror. It is necessary to remember that consciousness can only exist where there is duality. The polarity of subject-object relationship makes consciousness possible.

When we enter deep meditation, where there is only subject and no subject-object relationship, the world disappears. With the reappearance of thought, consciousness and the subject-object relationship reappear, along with self, other and God.

TCC, Mindfulness & Health

Another day, another news report about the benefits of mindfulness. The evidence supporting the health benefits of T'ai Chi Chih and similar practices literally grows by the week. And it's no wonder why - TCC practitioners worldwide have experienced these results.

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