A great breakthrough occured to me a couple of weeks ago after attending a meditation and Chi Kung seminar. My friend Rodney Owen lead the retreat, and the focus of it was mindfulness. Since the seminar I have been practicing mindfulness more and more throughout my day and it has helped tremendously with stress as well as my practice. There has also been more accute sensitivity in my Tai Chi practice and lots of emotional insights as well...
The emotional work within is the pinnacle of Tai Chi Chuan, and indeed all martial arts. Working to unravel the things that hold and confine us is the root of proper self defense. As Cheng Man Ching always said "That which we relax is fear." and that is exactly what this post is about, relaxing our fear! How do we reach this state?
Relaxing fear... What do we mean by this, and how do we achieve it? The simple answer, as you can probably assume from the above paragraphs, is mindfulness. More importantly it is the attributes that mindfulness cultivates: centeredness, and a stability that only comes from the undisturbed mind. This is how we relax fear, by not paying attention to it.
When we practice the form it is important to cultivate this non-attachment. "Do without doing" as Lao Tzu says. In the art of Tai Chi Chuan we do this after the principles and physical movements become second nature. In this balanced state we can begin to release our muscles further. When this relaxation reaches a certain point we begin to uncover various emotional attachments within these muscles. In Massage we call these emotional releases, through gradually working the principles within Tai Chi Chuan we come to unravel our own problems.
In my personal practice I have a mantra I follow, if you've seen some of my other posts you've probably read it before. It is quite simple, and recently has taken on a slight twist, my mantra in practice is relax, let go. I usually add more on the end and it helps with physically relaxing quite a bit. So it reads "relax, let go more, relax, let go more..." Working with stress I've recently shifted it to be "relax, let it go on, relax, let it go on..."
There is a vast difference to let go and let it go on. To release is great for the muscles and joints if done keeping good alignments and flow. Letting go then is more for the physical, but to truly grow and 'invest' in ourselves mentally we must learn how to deal with everything we have in our muscles and in our minds, all the baggage, insecurities, experiences, and personality flaws. To let our troubles and our problems go on within us is to find the cause and cure for them, as long as that observance is objective.
As it has been said many, many times "The truth shall set you free." On that note there is nothing more true than where you are in this very moment...
RELAX, LET IT GO ON
Daniel R. Hyde