Tai Chi and Spirituality
I was a rather timid child living in the squatters around Medan Tuanku, Kuala Lumpur. As a child, I was bullied at school. As I did not want any further trouble for myself, I did not report the bully to the school or to my parents. This perhaps instilled some martial arts interest in me and from an early age, I loved watching martial arts films.
I came into spirituality some 13 years ago and treasure everything I learned from my root master, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche. Dharma as I would call it gave me the confidence in my life and whilst I acknowledged the change, some people claimed I became different, almost to the point of arrogance. Perhaps when they compared one who always acquiesced to one who now understands a little more ‘truth’ and is able to debate and take no nonsense, I do seem somewhat arrogant. Hand to heart, this was not my intention. Perhaps, I began seeing other people’s actions as more controlling and did not wish to be subject to any of that, which reminded me of my bullied childhood days.
So, with my spiritual journey, I found it tough at times to be consistent because of my attachments to personal secular life: family, work, finances, etc. This is unsatisfactory as Dharma is about consistency and effort. Age is catching up too and never was there a morning gone by when I would not wake up with aches in my joints, usually in the arms.
So it was that I was watching a television series called Tai Chi and decided to sign up at a local gymnasium. My Tai Chi sifu is Eddie Ong and he comes from Penang. He is a skilled Tai Chi teacher who explains in detail the art of Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a slow art which can be sped up into a deadly form of martial arts. In its slow form, it is likened to ‘dancing meditation‘.
I felt inspired by the principles of Tai Chi as it balances my mindset with my spirituality and offers a tranquil way to stay healthy and at the same time bring about inner peace.
Tai Chi practice has many benefits such as:
- Develop skills for self-defense
- Foster self-awareness and confidence
- Increase energy levels
- Maintain or increase flexibility, strength and vitality
- Improve posture, coordination and balance
- Develop the ability to relax and let go of tension
- Develop inner stillness and calm
- Help deal with stress
I was quite amazed upon seeing people from different backgrounds in the class; they have been training, some of whom, more than 10 years. They are very polite and mindful and bow to our sifu when they come into the class. All these are traits for a successful spiritual aspirant.
I said to myself that I had to see through this Tai Chi routine as a parallel for my spiritual training. My patience paid off and I have completed the 28 Yang Style in about one year.
In the words of my Tai Chi sifu,
“Tai Chi Chuan is about Yin and Yang. It is about seeking harmony and balance. The training is in accordance with the principle and classic concept that will lead to one’s ability to resolving a conflict confidently, and yet calmly. As one progresses and understands Tai Chi as an ‘Art of Life‘, one will grow with it over the course of time. As with nature, one cannot force it to happen. It takes time. It is a process which keeps on evolving.”
In some medical areas, doctors are known to recommend patients to take up Tai Chi as a form of physiotherapy, helping to improve body posture and muscular weaknesses.
I love my Tai Chi and I would recommend anyone, of any age to take this up. It is a healthy art and it helps one in mind training, an added boost to my spiritual training.
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:
If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team