What good is such practice? Some might ask in our busy yang energy go-get-em world. Creativity and inspiration come from the unseen, the yin, the receptive, the intuitive. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important that knowledge.” Einstein didn’t devalue the masculine or yang consciousness, for he also defined success as “10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” However, he did exalt the yin, feminine, intuitive consciousness as the MOST important. For without that all important “spark” of awareness or inspiration which can only come from quiet contemplative thought, the 90% perspiration would be as purposeful as a “busy” hamster running around its endless wheel that leads nowhere. Just as many of the world’s actions today are resulting in environmental and political messes that could easily be avoided, if preceded by deep “contemplation” before action occurs. Too often our endless business (busy-ness) is not purposeful at all as far as solving our global problems, but to the unaware observer the decision makers look “very important” and “very busy.”
Mind/body sciences like yoga, and tai chi, and qigong (energy exercise), are designed to allow the flow of life energy to permeate the mind and body, and to create a “receptive/open state of mind in the practitioner,” a passive alpha state of awareness. Qi, life energy in Traditional Chinese Medical science, is a subtle unseen power that emerges from the very fabric of the subatomic field that makes up all matter, and permeates all things including human beings. Acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine, as well as physical exercises like Tai Chi & Qigong are designed to open the flow of life energy through the mind and body. Yoga and Ayurvedic practices are designed to do this as well.
In this field of life energy all things are connected, and therefore insights from this pure consciousness can be powerfully complex solutions that seem simple and elegant and obvious, once they come to mind. Yet offer more comprehensive communally beneficial solutions to challenges facing the practitioner cultivating this “field” awareness in themselves through these ancient practices. Tai Chi may help cultivate such intuitive, receptive states of mind if taught to that end. Tai Chi, incorporated with gentle deep breathing, and physical loosening, and mental images of constantly “letting go” of everything enables this unseen force of the universe to flow through us, emanating from every cell and atom of our being, and expanding effortlessly from each airy fold of the tissues of our mind. We can allow every atom of our being to glow with and be permeated by this energy of life as we move through the flowing motions of Tai Chi “without purpose,” “without analysis,” “without grades, or self judgments.” But rather, only for the sheer pleasure of being, while experiencing the thousands of wonderful sensations tingling and percolating through the body. Tai Chi becomes an effortless “self massage” that flows through the yielding heart, mind, and body. This state is not “directed” by the mind, but allows the mind to let go and be massaged by the pleasant sensations flowing through it, holding on to nothing, not analyzing or even naming the sensations caressing, washing the mind as they flow through receptive awareness.
Today’s current knee jerk reactions which get us individually into such trouble on crowded freeways, or in global trouble as a nation in an increasingly crowded world, have been cultivated over centuries of under-developing our feminine or yin consciousness. Our television pundits automatically react and narrow dialogue without even being conscious of it. In a three month period leading up to the Iraq war, Fair Media did a study of major news networks coverage of the impending conflict. They found a disturbing reality, that over 90% of the talking head guests on their news shows were already assuming there was a war to be fought, and discussing war strategy. Only less than 5% of the talking heads were opposed to, or even skeptical, about the idea of going to war. This hard charging into action, rather than “contemplating”, is an example of the result of centuries of male energy being accepted and extolled, and yin or feminine energy being dismissed and considered “indecisive” and “weak minded.”
The pool of “receptive” sensation that Tai Chi or other ancient transcendental technologies can bathe us in again and again, day after day, enables the subtle possibilities and gentle power of the yin and feminine to permeate our being and consciousness, and through that, affect our actions in the world. It can change the way we function, so that rather than charging into personal, or social, or national decisions, we instinctively “contemplate” and “intuit” all the possible outcomes of that action “BEFORE” taking that action. This could keep us out of costly wars, and reduce futile quests to find where on earth to dump thousands of tons of highly toxic nuclear waste that will be poisonous for tens of thousands of years. It may open us up to more subtle “yielding” approaches to international relations, that can get us the desired results through the subtle dance of negotiation which entails “listening” before “acting,” which is a very yin or feminine quality. It may draw us more to “passive” energy solutions like “solar” or “wind” that could easily solve all our energy needs, and we would never need to fight anyone anywhere over the sun or the wind, which is available to all equally.
Transcendental mind/body technologies like Tai Chi, Yoga, transcendental meditation, Chi Kung, etc. can today be made available to billions of people worldwide at a time when the world desperately needs to learn to find a balance in the deepest part of our being, a balance that extols the subtle and quiet power of the feminine or yin aspect of who we are individually and as communities and nations. Tai Chi and Yoga, for example, are now taught in virtually every nation in the world, and can perhaps now contribute to solving humanity’s hunger for balance between the “male” and “female,” between the “yin” and the “yang.”
Generations may look back and see that Tai Chi & Yoga teachers of today played a pivotal role in human history. Or perhaps the changes they are making in the world are so subtle and gentle, that they will never be recognized but nevertheless . . . will ease the world into its next wave of evolution enabling it to survive the weight of six billion plus inhabitants, without creating chaos through rash actions.