Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reflections on WTCQD

Saturday April 25th: World Tai Chi and Qigong Day. I made my cup of tea and stepped out into a beautiful North Carolina Spring day. There was only one soundtrack worthy of my ride across Forsyth County, from east to west, to where this year’s celebration was being held: Terrapin Station. The cracking one note wah-wahs of Estimated Prophet set the perfect mood as I dropped my windows and put my Solara into the wind. There is indeed something magical about Carolina this time of year. The grass is greener and the sky bluer than any other place on earth. The grazing milk cows that lined my route obviously take it for granted. But I don’t. I know better. I’ve spent springtime in other parts of the country. And while it is gratefully accepted and enjoyed everywhere, it just isn’t as visually striking as it is here. After 3-4 months of dull gray colors the effluence of life is all the more striking.

Reflecting on the beauty of the day and my intention, I thought about how already, all around the world, people were practicing Tai Chi/Qigong just as Dancing in the Streets started up. What a positive twist on a Motown classic.

Sunrise was in full swing as I began approaching Winston Salem, and I again reflected on what it is all about:

“He hums, there are drums, four winds, rising suns,
We are singing and playing, I her him saying.

I remember breezes from winds inside your body
Keep me high, like I told you, Ill sing to them this story and know why1.”

Tai Chi is such a multifaceted art. It is an extremely effective martial art, while at the same time is the ultimate art of peace. Taiji actualizes many of the stated goals of the meditative arts. Master Jou says, Taiji can “become a revelation showing the relationship between time and space, creating a gate through which the four-dimensional world can be entered2” Consequently Qigong alone or as a component of Taiji practice is a spiritual and a healing art. Both of these systems are rooted in Taoist spiritual practices and TCM. And like many things of mystical nature they have to be experienced to be full appreciated. Words just don’t do them justice.

The title track of my cruising CD was wrapping up as I pulled into the park and the players started coming in from all corners,

“Sullen wings of fortune beat like rain.
You’re back in terrapin for good or ill again, for good or ill again3

As we began to gather the energy started flowing over. Younger players began going through the motions of their forms, while the elders maintained the peace that marks their presence. Old friends and acquaintances struck up conversations while new friends spoke in generalities and the quieter among us found seats and observed. But rest was not the order of the day, not this day. Not that Taiji and Qigong are tiring or exhausting. Quite the contrary, they are rejuvenating.

We began by centering ourselves and acquiring good Taiji postures. We all participated in some simple Qigong practices while we synchronized with ourselves and the rest of the world. This in and of itself was worth the trip and the energy was phenomenal. As the day proceeded we took turns experiencing different forms, techniques, and practices as presented by the different schools and teachers participating. It was all very enlightening and refreshing. There was a noticeable level of energy and goodwill permeating our area. If it were quantifiable I am sure it could power the city, or perhaps end the war; would that it worked that way.

All-in-all I call this year’s WTCQD a success. Personally I saw old friends and teachers, fellow practitioners, and met new friends. As I write this, some 24 hours later, I am still charged with an abundance of Qi. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If not, I invite you to try it. Again, words just don’t do it justice.

  1. Terrapin Station The Grateful Dead. 1977. Arista Records
  2. Jou, Tsung Hwa. The Dao of Taijiquan; Way to Rejuvenation. 2001, The Tai Chi Foundation. Pp. 135.
  3. Terrapin Station The Grateful Dead. 1977. Arista Records

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Tao of the Sun

Spring has indeed sprung and summer is close at hand. This means more, much more, outdoor activities. I officially kicked it off with a good long bicycle ride yesterday in the 80 Deg F sunshine. Tomorrow I do Tai Chi Day in 90+.

Thank you God for sunshine, and all that follows from it.

Where would we be without it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, Apr. 25th

Arpil 25th, 2009 is World Tai Chi and Qigong Day. It starts at 10:00am, wherever you are in the world, and last until at least 12:00 noon. The idea behind the celebration is for everyone in the world who is participating to engage in Tai Chi and/or Qigong during the designated time and therefore contribute to a continuous wave of peaceful healing energy that will simultaneously spread across the globe as participants in each time zone begin the process. This is a great opportunity to participate in a world-wide experiment in peace, to interact and have fellowship with Taiji players in your community, and to learn more about these wonderful, dynamic, and infinitely varied arts. As more and more Westerners are introduced to these arts we also find a concurrently growing number of medical studies and trials--in Western clinical environments--confirming what many Asians have known for centuries: These are powerful healing arts. What's more these are self-empowering arts. They provide a framework whereby we may actively engage in our own healing process, and contribute to our self-actualization.

It is my intention to attend the celebration in my community and report my experience back here. It is my desire that these arts "catch on" with more people as I believe they are truly remarkable and contribute to healthier individuals and a more peaceful world.